「An ST165 Celica that leaves Evos and Imprezas in the dust!」A Raw Do-It-Yourself Circuit Spec Machine!
Full DIY Tuning to Challenge the AWD Big Boys!
Serious Time Attack Specification aiming for the 1 minute 1 second mark at Tsukuba
The ST165 Celica GT-FOUR has its share of fans. It goes without saying that WRC (FIA World Rally Championship) is behind this popularity. The ST165 is a famous rally car with a lot of success, including the first Japanese car to land the manufacturer & driver’s title.
The customization of this ST165 Celica GT-FOUR is a so-called “replica” custom that reproduces some of the parts and coloring of the original WRC machine. Many Japanese will remember that this is the car which sparked the AWD boom of the 1980’s, also due in part to its appearance in a Japanese movie called “Take Me Out to the Snowland”. However, the ara-R machine introduced here is built for serious time attack, setting itself apart from other models.
The base model is a 1986 zenki (early model), which was purchased at online auction for 100,000yen about 20 years ago. The owner first removed the air conditioner and used it lightly for circuit driving. After that, tuning work was done to improve performance. Except the tire change, all the work was done by the owner in his garage.
Under the bonnet you’ll find a 3S-GT (245ps spec) from an SW20 MR2. The turbine is an HKS GT2835. Engine control comes from a LINK full computer which the owner set himself.
In the place of the radiator, an intercooler was installed, relocating the radiator to the rear. Even in a vehicle as old as this, you can get already get a sense of its modern time attack spirit.
Fully adjustable YZ suspension was installed, with spring rates of 14kg/mm at the front and 12kg/mm at the rear. The front brakes use a Nissan 4-pot caliper.
The unique widebody were also do-it-yourself house 10.5J wheels at the front with 295/30-18 tires and 9J at the rear wrapped in 255/40-17. This setup promotes precise cornering.
As the factory retractable headlight system has been smoothed in favor of a more aerodynamic approach, the front of the vehicle has the atmosphere of an unrecognizeable car. Headlights are replaced by fogs embedded in the grille.
The interior has also been modifed for race use, doing away with floor carpeting, door and interior panels to reduce weight. A racy roll cage increases safety and rigidity.
The factory instrument cluster has also been removed and a digital heads up display takes its place. Another key point is that the steering has been changed to a Toyota electric power steering system.
“I had been longing to own and drive a WRC since my days as a junior high school student, that’s why I chose the ST165. To make up for parts that I couldn’t get, I used parts from other vehicles and did my best to integrate them using my own handiwork. The concept of this car is to consistently upgrade and keep shortening my circuit times in it”, says the owner.
Though the GT-FOUR is a minor model compared to other chassis running the circuit, it is a major challenger for such bases as the Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX. Mr. ara-R says, “My current PR in the car at Tsukuba is 1 minute and 3 seconds, but I am aiming to hit the 1 minute 1 second mark with some upgrades to the engine and transmission”.