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