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 |   |  Turbocharged 2000 Toyota Celica GT - A Family Affair
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Turbocharged 2000 Toyota Celica GT - A Family Affair

This turbocharged Celica gives the term "family values" a whole new meaning

Daniel Morris
Aug 1, 2000
Photographer: Wes Allison

Call us crazy, but to hear Ivan Vazquez tell it, we’re under the impression that he never wanted his 2000 Celica GT to become the turbocharged show masterpiece that it is now. We’re not sure what gave us this idea, but we suspect it has something to do with Ivan mentioning, “I didn’t want to do too much to the car.”

Either that or it was the comment, “All I wanted to do was put some rims on it and drop it.” Or maybe it was when he said, “I was scared to do anything to the car,” but we’re not really sure.

Either way, one thing we are definitely sure of is that when it comes to doing things you don’t want to do, there always seems to be one major culprit, and no, we’re not talking about kidnappers or muggers here, but rather family members. Case in point: the Celica’s TRD body kit, which, as Ivan relates, “was something I didn’t want to do at all.” According to Ivan, it was really his brother EZ’s fault. “I saw the different kits that were available, and he’s like, ‘Why don’t you get the TRD kit?’ I said, ‘Hell no, that’s a thousand-something bucks.’ He said ‘No, it’s two thousand! If you get it, I’ll help you out.’ If it weren’t for EZ, I wouldn’t have gone all out because [once I got the kit] I started looking at the other stuff TRD had, and one thing led to another. Before I knew it [the Celica] turned out like this.” Well, if all our families gave advice like Ivan’s, we’d probably be wise to follow it, if doing so resulted in anything like his Celica.

But then again, Ivan is a bit more connected than the rest of us—he’s the youngest of the Vazquez clan, the family behind Southern California’s Savas Tires and Wheels, an impressive 30,000-square-foot import buffet/showroom, which has been catering to the aftermarket since day one. So needless to say, both Ivan’s father, Juan Vazquez, and EZ were influential in the car’s buildup and hold a bit more expertise in such matters than your average relative(s).

The end result is the red-hot ember of a Toyota smoldering on these pages. Obviously, the first things to jab you in the eye are the TRD body kit and the HKS intercooler lurking dangerously behind the front bumper. Let your peepers linger a little longer, and you’ll notice the clear TRD fuel lid and then various touches of carbon fiber—the scooped hood and the rear trunk handle, courtesy of Fiber Images. Next, you have two options. Either pop open the hood and take a look, or shrink yourself to the size of a grain of rice and climb on in through the hoodscoop. We chose the latter and came face to face with an HKS GT2530 turbocharger, an HKS fuel regulator, and a TSR turbo manifold, not to mention one of the cleanest engine bays this side of the Windex factory. Everything appears to glow on its own internal power until you realize it’s just reflecting your greasy complexion. Dig around a bit more, and you’ll find a pack of Blitz 525cc fuel injectors and a ’97 Supra TT fuel pump to keep them humming, plus a very choice Tanabe Sustec Pro Series full-treaded body suspension.

As much responsibility for this Celica as Ivan may try to pass off on family, friends, stray dogs, and passersby, the truth is that he’s just as complicit in the whole thing as anyone else and certainly deserves the lion's share of credit. Just take a look at the interior—one doesn’t go to the trouble of encasing a spare Volk GT-N wheel in glass on mere suggestion alone. No, that type of thing only occurs when you’ve got automotive brain fever. And it doesn’t stop there. Take a quick hurdle over the TRD rear upper stabilizer bar, slide down the lava-mound bass enclosure, and you’re sitting in a TRD reclining seat, watching The Horse Whisperer on the Alpine DVD player with both the roof-mounted HKS EVC Silver limited-edition turbo boost controller and dash-mounted Type-1 turbo timer blinking you into an epileptic fit. The Celica’s two center A/C vents are plugged with a pair of HKS 46mm temperature gauges, the glovebox now houses a trio of A’pexi meters, Nintendo 64 controller ports poke through the passenger side dash, and to top it all off, there’s Ivan’s pride and joy, the unavailable-in-the-U.S.A. J-spec TRD steering wheel. Whew.

After winning the first ever Celica Showoff last October at the Del Mar Maximum Showoff, Ivan seems pretty content on keeping the Celica as is and doesn’t have any major plans other than fine-tuning its performance. It’s safe to say, though, that Ivan’s Celica has definitely become one of the family, albeit that wayward brother type that’s always hitting you up for loans, getting arresting, and marrying Thai strippers. Ah, the joys of family.

By Daniel Morris
15 Articles

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