Shows like Offset Kings Japan are a journey of discovery. They also make our jobs as Speedhunters far easier than you could possibly imagine, as we are presented with a massive selection of cars on a silver platter, all beautifully lined up and ready to be discovered one by one.
And with such a huge selection and diversity of modified machinery, the worst thing you could possibly do at such an event is look at a car, make an assumption and quickly dismiss it by walking away. I have to say, I almost fell prey to doing just that when I came across this RA22 Toyota Celica at Fuji Speedway last weekend.
I grabbed a few pictures as I thought it looked cool sitting there with its front-hinged bonnet wide open, but only when I moved to one side to get a profile view of the Work Meister CR-01 wheels did I notice something unusual in the engine bay…
Okay, now that’s something you don’t see every day! And what a perfect example of keeping it in the family.
I really can’t think of a better engine than the BEAMS 3S-GE to re-power an old Toyota chassis like the Celica. The ’90s inline-four brings variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust and a nice, useable 210hp to the party – and in this case, a precise and fast-shifting 6-speed manual transmission (ripped out of the same Altezza the motor originated from) to back it up.
When I noticed it afterwards, the VVT-i badge on the grill made all the sense in the world!
Aside from a few additional gauges, the interior has remained untouched – that ’70s ambience adding so much character to the car.
In case you’re wondering, the gold-crowned dial on the console is an air/fuel ratio gauge with an LED clock-like display.
This is one 1600 ST model that packs a hell of a lot more performance than the stock car could ever muster.
I call it resto-modding – Japanese-style. The original feel of the car remains, but it’s been spiced up with components and a stance that makes it relevant to modern-day tastes. Japan wins again!
Once considered a black art, turbocharging is everywhere you look today – and for good reason. Big outputs from small capacity engines and a clean burn with fuel efficiency through direct injection are some of the reasons why manufacturers are turning to forced induction. It’s good news for enthusiasts – and here’s some more: Lexus is finally giving its IS sedan the boost it’s been crying out for with the announcement of the long-awaited IS 200t.
Available from September, the 200t replaces the lethargic 2.5-litre V6 powered IS 250, using the 2.0-litre four cylinder 8AR-FTS engine – Lexus’s first turbocharged petrol powerplant – borrowed from the 2015 NX 200t crossover, albeit in a slightly retuned form.
With 241hp and 350Nm, Lexus claims the IS 200t will go 0-100km/h in seven seconds and reach a top speed of 230km/h (143mph) – numbers that definitely aren’t going to set the performance sedan world alight when compared to machines like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, but not a bad place to start for angrier and more focused ‘F’ variants in the not to distant future – if we’re lucky.
Through D4-ST injection, a cylinder head integrated exhaust manifold with twin-scroll turbocharger and an air-to-liquid intercooler mounted directly on the engine, Lexus says the IS 200t will benefit from “fast throttle response, instantaneous torque, minimal turbo lag and strong fuel economy.” Furthermore, drive is transferred to the rear wheels via an intuitive 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission originally developed for the high performance RC F coupe.
Whether there’s any real performance potential here remains to be seen for time being, but at least Lexus appears to be headed in the right direction with its entry-level IS sedan. And that said, what would you like to see in a boosted IS 200 F SPORT – or even a new turbocharged IS F version?