Years ago, when the import performance movement was just hitting its stride, performing an engine swap was considered a major undertaking. Very little info was floating around, the internet had yet to be established and, even when the finally established itself, info was scarce at best, leaving most to rely on trial and error, and cross-platform swapping was uncommon.
Today, with a wealth of info available right in the palm of your hand thanks to that time-sucking mobile device that constantly needs charging, the sky is the limit and just about every swap you can possibly imagine has been done or, at the very least, attempted. We were pretty sure we'd seen it all until Dai Yoshihara began teasing his new Toyota Corolla project and once the engine bay pics were revealed, well, it wasn't the powerplant anyone could have expected.
Sitting nicely between the shoulders of Dai's 86 is a Honda engine, though it's not the F-series mill out of the S2000 that's often relied upon, or even Honda's do-it-all K24 swap. Instead, Dai chose the K20C1 - an engine currently used in Honda's FK8 Civic Type R, which is a global chassis
The Type R engine was originally put into production in 2015 for the FK2 Type R - a vehicle the U.S. never saw. That chassis was sold in the United Kingdom and later exported to Japan and interestingly enough, the FK2's turbocharged engine was actually manufactured in Ohio, then shipped to the U.K. to complete production. The 300hp on tap right out of the box combined with the lightweight, RWD 86 chassis is an ideal pairing and one that Dai refers to as his "dream build 86."
Experimentation with Honda's turbocharged 2.0L has been going on since its introduction to the U.S. market. A few are in the process of getting the Civic's 5th generation hatchback fitted and running while the swap Gods at Hasport have mocked up their K20C in a handful of chassis to research and develop engine mount options. The engine certainly stands tall, with newer Honda chassis designed with a much deeper engine bay than the 90s-era Civics and Integras that are often swapped. Fortunately, the 86 bay can accommodate the K20C dimensionally and with the fabrication skills of Dai's longtime go-to mechanic, Eimer Engineering, the engine sits perfectly in place.
In its native location, the intake manifold points the throttle body toward the driver's side which, in the 86, would aim it right at the firewall. In this instance, the manifold's been flipped in order to position the throttle body toward the front of the car.
An elbow turns toward the passenger side headlight (at a glance it looks like it may be 3D printed based on the scoring across its flange) and mates to the throttle body and the cold-side intercooler piping.
On the hot side of the engine, the factory turbo, fed by the modern engine's single exhaust port is at play, and there's plenty of room for upgrading later if desired. Along the firewall you'll find a fuel pressure regulator and gauge and neatly organized, custom brake lines. A carbon fiber plate closes the gap between the bumper and radiator support and an Eimer-made bracket with laser-straight dimple dies finishes it off nicely.
The black plastic OEM valvecover's been replaced by Spoon's yellow coated version and Ignition Projects coils are employed. A work in progress, there was no wiring inside the bay during SEMA week, but given Eimer's skills and his previous projects, we have absolutely no doubt this car will be up and running in the very near future.
Even if the hood was on the car and you never caught wind of the swap, the outside of Dai's latest build warrants a closer look. The widebody treatment, courtesy of Rocket Bunny, bulks up the 80s cult classic considerably.
The rear wing is unique in that it eliminates any use of winglets or end plates and has an almost tucked in appearance, with pedestals that also serve as bookends, which wrap over the top edge of the hatch.
Some have suggested a Trueno front bumper, but Dai stated via social media that he actually prefers the style of the Levin bumper. Follow the car's newly built body lines toward the door and you can spot an oval exhaust outlet along the bottom, and EVS Tuning's carbon fiber and magnesium race mirrors up top.
Just to the left and right are 15x9 BBS wheels wrapped in highly-anticipated Falken RT 660, in 245/45 sizing and below the surface you'll find KW suspension.
As you might expect, the very few amenities that the Corolla included when it was introduced are long gone, with block-off plates covering any dash holes and the rest of the interior stripped out entirely. Replacing the ancient factory seats and steering wheel are leather Sparco buckets and a Targa 350 steering wheel, all surrounded by a custom cage.
In the cargo area, a Radium fuel safe system fills the spare tire well.
This is the type of build that will piss off as many people as it will impress. Not intended for competition but rather pure, unedited fun, Dai has stated that this is going to be his drift and grip driving vehicle to just have a good time in. And whether our for or adamantly against the use of a Honda swap, you have to admit that it's tough to argue with 300 reliable horsepower from an engine with a blossoming aftermarket.