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1975 Toyota Celica ST - Vintage Speed

The 1,049hp, 2JZ-swapped Celica that barely existed

Aaron Bonk
Jun 30, 2016
Photographer: Al Norris

The requirements for you to take part in TX2K are simple: Don’t bother showing up if you aren’t laying down at least 700 hp. Stay home if you aren’t bringing something that’s marginally streetable. And turn around now if you aren’t prepared to nail the accelerator flat-out for a good 1,500 ft.

1975 toyota celica st rear bumper Photo 2/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St Rear Bumper

That the people at Speed WarHouse decided to oblige all of that but with a 40-year-old Celica carcass and a 20-year-old 2JZ-GTE mill was just their way of saying they’re going to do all of this however they saw fit. A sentiment that, in a way, epitomizes the Pennsylvania fabrication and tuning shop that, admittedly, reveals as much on its website: “We are still trying to figure out exactly what we are. Currently, all we know is that we are here to fuck shit up.”

1975 toyota celica st te37 Photo 3/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St Te37

There are few better ways to do that than with Toyota’s 2JZ, and few 1,000hp tales don’t start without the venerable, iron-block engine. A chimp with a boost controller can muster 500 hp out of one, those with more experience and slightly deeper pockets can approach 700hp territory with ease and, if you’ve got the experience and the wherewithal that lead man Bill Peron and co-fabricator Mike Perez do, turning out 1,049 hp from the inline-six is about as straightforward as making lunch.

Doing all of this inside of a first-generation Celica is the part that you wouldn’t be able to handle, though, and getting the 2JZ to fit was as complicated as you’d imagine. There was no bolt-in engine mount kit or plug-and-play wiring harness that Peron and Perez were able to add on to their Amazon wish lists. And the forum monkeys have yet to outline the intricacies of this particular engine transplant online. Instead, the crew tapped into their own fabricating abilities, got down to business with their TIG welders, and looked to Wiring Specialties for a custom loom when the time came to get the 2JZ’s mechanics to link up to the MoTeC electronics. If you think all of this sounds a whole lot more complicated than plopping something like an SR20DET into your 240, that’s good because it most certainly is.

1975 toyota celica st 2jz gte swap Photo 7/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St 2Jz Gte Swap

Complicated is what Speed WarHouse specializes in, though, as well as marginally ridiculous, like the company’s “Vipra”, a MKIV Supra that’s been stirred up by Dodge’s V10 Viper engine, only turbocharged. Peron and Perez aren't the only ones mad enough to come up with these sort of deviant engine swaps, though. Speed WarHouse CEO Rob Bailey, who also runs specialty apparel brand Flag Nor Fail, of which competitive bodybuilders Bailey and his wife, IFBB-champion Dana Linn Bailey, are the faces of, is just as much to blame.

The blame for picking the classic Celica chassis for this build is shared, though and, according to Peron, it was an easy choice. “We randomly found it for sale online,” he says about how the car was discovered, which, as it turns out is how many of Speed WarHouse’s builds have begun. “For some reason it stood out to us. We’re always considering other chassis but we don’t actively look for them. We typically just come across a neat car, call a meeting, go over the pros and cons and, most of the time, if we’re [all] on board, we pick it up.” It isn’t the methodically and thoughtfully planned-out process that you’d hoped it’d be, and it works amazingly well.

1975 toyota celica st volk te37s Photo 8/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St Volk Te37s

The process in which the car was built was just as unorthodox and was conceptualized and completed in just eight weeks. According to Peron, neither TX2K nor the 2JZ were among their initial plans. “We wanted to build a turbo BEAMS setup for it,” he says. “But Texas was fast approaching, so we had to decide what to do. A 2JZ seemed like it would be completely over the top and perfect for [TX2K].”

1975 toyota celica st smiley bumper Photo 9/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St Smiley Bumper

Speed WarHouse’s Toyota coupe could command your attention on its own. Its shape doesn’t veer far from what Toyota’s designers and engineers had in mind some four decades back and that doesn’t matter. Step closer, crouch down, and all of a sudden the four-link rear suspension and nine-inch rear end speak to what this sub-compact was made for. Catching it on the right day with its Weld rims and Mickey Thompsons would’ve made all of that even more obvious and justify things like the eight-point roll cage that the crew fashioned and the disc-brake conversion that’s been retrofitted into place all around.

“With every build I’ve done, the goal has always been to have a good compromise between styling, performance, and achieving a higher level of uniqueness,” Peron says. “I’ve found the most joy from fabricating and building things that just don’t exist or have never been done before.”

1975 toyota celica st sparco chrono road seats Photo 10/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St Sparco Chrono Road Seats
1975 toyota celica st smiley front bumper Photo 14/17   |   1975 Toyota Celica St Smiley Front Bumper

Older Sibling
Just one year ago, we introduced Speed WarHouse to you with its '74 Mercedes 240D. A very unlikely car to see in Super Street, but its 400hp 2JZ-GTE powerplant justified it to us!

By Aaron Bonk
380 Articles
1975 Toyota Celica ST - Vintage Speed
Tuning
Owner: Rob Bailey
Hometown: Leesport, PA
Occupation: Owner of Speed WarHouse
Engine: 2JZ-GTE engine transplant and six-speed transmission; Carrillo connecting rods; 9.0:1 CP pistons; custom billet main caps; GSC Power-Division S2 camshafts; Ferrea valves, dual valvesprings, titanium retainers; Titan Motorsports intake manifold; custom exhaust manifold; Precision Turbo 8285 turbo, PT1000 liquid-to-air intercooler; TiAL 44mm wastegate, 50mm blow-off valve; Fuel Injector Clinic 2,150cc injectors; Titan Motorsports fuel rail; Weldon fuel pressure regulator, 2345A fuel pump; custom 15-gallon fuel cell, heat exchanger and reservoir tank
Drivetrain: Clutch Masters twin-disc clutch; Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft; custom 9" four-link rear end
Engine Management: Defiv Power Inc-tuned MoTeC M130; Wiring Specialties harness
Footwork & Chassis: Ground Control front coilovers; QA1 rear coil springs; mini-tub conversion;
Wheels & Tires: Street: Street: 18x9.5" +22 front,18x10.5" +15 rear Volk Racing TE37 wheels; 225/35R18 front, 345/30R18 rear BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW 2 tires; Track: 15x10" Weld RT-S wheels; 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pro tires; ARP wheel studs
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston front calipers; Moser Engineering rear discs
Exterior: shaved engine bay; '76 Celica fastback mirrors; Smiley bumpers
Interior: Eight-point roll bar; Sparco Chrono Road seats; Supra steering wheel; G-Force harnesses, Wilwood pedal assembly
WWW: speedwarhouse.com

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