Celica TA40 3S-GE Conversion

Project FA.ST (Part 1)
Posted on January 20, 2010 by thorracinguk | Edit
Welcome to our project car blog for our latest and possibly greatest creation to date; A TA40 Toyota Celica

This stunning metallic blue 1979 Celica ST Coupe is going to star on our web-pages over the next few months, and as you can see from the pics, it looks like a pretty sound car to begin with. In fact it really was one of those 'finds' that the classic car mags always rattle on about. A genuine, one-owner-from-new, fully historied, fully serviced gem with a paltry odometer reading of just 84,000 miles.. Working out at just 2,800 per year! As well as every tax-disk and receipt, the couth coupe even came with its original bill of sale and all original dealer paperwork. It's had a little sympathetic paint over the years, but really, this old girl is as straight and as level as when she left the factory 30 years ago..

Still wearing the skinny factory steels, the Celica is the desirable ST model, and came complete with a pretty much perfect factory interior and door cards. No rips, tears or marks as they say on Ebay. Locating it really was a bit of a result, and the credit has to go to our big chief Peter on this one. He's got a bit of a vision about crazy new-age motors and drivetrains and already has had Roger wracking his encyclopaedic brain to work out which other choice Toyota components will fit. Needless to say he's already come up with about fifty bonkers ideas!
So why choose this car? Well, we happen to think that it's quite pretty for starters, but also the TA40/RA40 really was one of Toyota's success stories, doing well in the showrooms as well as taking plenty of scalps on stage and track. Piloted to great success by Rally legends Per Eklund and Bjorn Waldegaard, the Celica's place at the top table of Motorsports was secured - even current F1 pundit Martin Brundle hustled one around the circuits of the UK during the 1980 BTCC season!

So what are our plans then? Well the car is so nice, it wouldn't be out of the question to spend a few quid here and there, get the few little imperfections sorted and create a concourse show stopper. And as tempting as that is - and as much as it would doubtless please the purists - that really isn't our style. Instead, we plan to create the ultimate Japanese street machine. The gorgeous looks and styling of the late seventies combined with the up-to-the-minute performance from the latest range of Toyota products. Any of you that have been to our Kenilworth workshops will already know that it's something of a clinically clean 'Frankenstein's Workshop' where we can create any cocktail of Toyota flavours that you desire. Lexus V8 in a Supra? Too easy! Full Turbo conversion on an MRS Roadster? We've been there and done that too. After a little though - and several cups of tea - we have all decided that as historically correct and interesting as the original carburetted 1.6 lump is, it's going to go. We won't spoil the surprise, but replacing it will be something from much higher up the food-chain and far lower down the family tree.
The design brief here is simple. To recreate this Celica as if it were being engineered today. Everything must look and fit as though the factory had designed it that way - and crucially - nothing must be done to the shell of the car that can't be easily reversed, if need be. So no hacking of bulkheads or transmission tunnels, no cutting and bending of inner wings and no ugly lash ups. If it doesn't fit neatly and cleanly with an OEM look, it's not going to happen. So you see, perhaps we do want to please the purists really....
Luckily Roger seems to have an uncanny knack of knowing which other parts bins to raid. With more years of experience on Toyotas finest than he cares to remember, he has a seemingly endless supply of choice components at his disposal with which to tweak our TA40. Not only can he makes things fit that really shouldn't be there, but he knows how to leave you genuinely wondering whether it emanates from Nagoya rather than the West Mids..

Hopefully we've snagged your curiosity by now, so make sure you read the next gripping instalment when we break out the hoist and chains and reveal the exciting new power plant. Those skinny little tyres are going to last about five minutes.....
Until then!

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