As the saying goes, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Clearly, Adam Barber understands and appreciates this, given his choice for a dual-purpose daily driver and weekend racer. Not that the NCP91 Vitz, or Yaris as they’re called here in North America, is a dog in the performance department; with a VVT-i 1.5-liter 4-banger that pumps out 107 hp and a curb weight of just over 2,300 lbs, this little hatchback delivers a surprisingly lively driving experience right off the showroom floor.
When Adam traded in his beloved ’04 Matrix XRS, he started autocrossing his Yaris in pretty close to stock form (other than a homemade intake and some slightly wider/stickier tires). As Adam told us, “I wasn’t the fastest, but I was surprisingly close to some other much faster cars, including a WRX.”
Thanks to his understanding wife and kids, Adam has been able to turn his Yaris into more of a weekend toy for both cone-dodging and lapping-day duties, having added a DC Sports header, custom 2.25-inch mid-pipe, Megan Racing axle-back exhaust and the icing on the cake, a Blitz supercharger kit. With a dyno graph verifying a peppy 135 whp and 130 wtq, Adam is confident there’s more power to be found once he upgrades to a better engine management system.
The Ultra Racing 23mm rear antisway bar has also helped dial out understeer, and a set of Carbotech brake pads give the slow pedal added bite.
Although the Eibach Sportline springs and +41 offset Enkei RPF1 wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes4 tires aren’t going to attract any oooh’s or aaaah’s from the Stance Nation crowd, they have given Adam’s Yaris much-improved corner-carving capabilities. The Ultra Racing 23mm rear antisway bar has also helped dial out understeer, and a set of Carbotech brake pads give the slow pedal added bite.
With a ’10 RS front bumper modded to fit HID converted ’06–08 headlights, JDM foglights and Vitz emblems and badges plus 32 mpg during daily driving, it’s hard not to appreciate what a great all-around package Adam’s Yaris has evolved into.
Why We Picked It
Just looking at Adam Barber’s Yaris makes us want to jump in and drive it like the go-kart-on-steroids it is. It’s a B-Spec race car for the streets, with added tuner appeal, thanks to the Blitz supercharger and JDM exterior bits. All this little giant killer needs to be complete in our eyes is a full coilover suspension setup that provides damping and ride height adjustability.
Specs & Details
'07 Toyota Yaris
Engine 1NZ-FE 1.5-liter VVT-i inline-4
Engine Modifications Blitz supercharger kit & custom intake; DC Sports header; custom 2.25" mid-pipe; Megan Racing axle-back exhaust; NST lightweight crank pulley; 1ZZFE fuel injectors; Denso iridium spark plugs (1 step colder)
Engine Management Blitz FIC
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 15x7" Enkei RPF1 +41 wheels; 5mm wheel spacers (r); 205/50R15 Toyo Proxes4 tires; drilled & slotted rotors; Carbotech brake pads
Suspension Eibach Sportline springs (for scion xD); Ultra Racing 23mm sway bar (r)
Exterior ’10 Canadian RS front bumper modded to fit ’06–08 headlights; Depot headlights w/ 4,300K HIDs in the projectors; JDM foglights w/ 3,000K HIDs; Micro Image Toyota skull badge painted black (r); JDM Vitz emblem (f), JDM Vitz badge painted black (r); upright rear wiper mod
Interior KitchenerHID LED interior lighting (map, dome, hatch); Canadian RS leather steering wheel; USDM S leather shift knob
Special Thanks My wife Annie for putting up w/ my obsession; the GTA crew from yarisworld.com & microimageonline.com; the Tri-City installation crew of Justin & Rick; Steve K for all the help; Garm at Micro Image for all the Yaris & B-segment love; KitchenerHID for the bright lights