The AE-86 comes in loads of shapes and sizes. It’s a pretty basic platform in all respects. It’s just a car Toyota made, not expecting its success. That being said, the humble potato makes some of the most basic to the most extravagant meals, think about that.
Where am I going with this? Well, when you take a potato, and you cook with the right ingredients, it becomes an amazing meal. The same with the AE-86. It’s one of the best platforms to start a project car on. We had the chance find one of the most interesting Corollas here in Barbados. We worked with Lucas Oils here in the island, and we took some time to follow up on a local racer they sponsor.
Kevin's KE70 Corolla
Kevin got his hands on this Corolla back in 2005, and it took him a year to get it together, using some parts from a previously owned Daihatsu Charmant. The car was already a race car, driven by Ian Griffith “the Undertaker” at our local bushy park circuit. He used a 3TC engine, which was an old Toyota sport engine, it was 1.8L 8v and push-rod and heavily modified. It did the job he needed at the time to compete in a few international events at the track. Between 2008-2009 he was able to nab a few podium finishes with 2nd in his group and 3rd overall for the Championship. He also went on to push the car harder racing overseas in Guyana, at their track in South Dakota.
Unfortunately though, he was met with Mechanical problems in Guyana, and he wasn’t able to do as well as he would’ve liked. The overall experience though was amazing, the hospitality of the people there were fully appreciated. As a result of this though, development of the engine and car began in 2010, where they were making the conversion from carburetors to fuel injection and aftermarket management. That transformation took some time though, and the the racing team took some down time for the next season in-order to iron out mechanical gremlins who showed their faces again in the engine.
A new Heart
With persistent issues with the older 3TC engine. The decision was made to change the entire engine of the car, for something more modern and more reliable. This car being an AE86, the logical weapon of choice would be the the 4AGE. Kevin found a donor 4AGZE for the chassis. Toyota’s 4AGZE engine, is a supercharged variant of their common 4AGE platform. It was used in their sports models, cars like the MR2 and a few later model Toyota Levins and Truenos. Stock, the 4AGZE made somewhere north of 160hp, that’s a pretty decent amount for a street car in Toyota’s opinion at least. This though, isn’t a street car.
Further engine development continued, first on the ECU, where they finally settled in on the Megasquirt 3 custom board, but on the power figure of the car as well. The supercharger was not enough, and he added a turbo charger to the mix. Usually on 4AGZE engines, the supercharger would be exchanged for the Turbocharger, but this wasn’t the case there. Instead, a 4AGZTE was built, a twin charged engine.
Obviously, the first debate that comes to mind is airflow restriction. Many factors come into play though when we think about this, for example, we have to look at the size of the turbo, or the size of the supercharger, they are quite dependent on each other to find the perfect ratio of airflow into the motor. Using the factory Roots Supercharger though, it would seem it’s been quite happy with the current turbo charger on the engine.
We got the breakdown on the engine from Kevin, and surprisingly it was really simple. This is the key to reliability. The engine had a simple rebuild done, all stock internals and stock supercharger. All the bolts were replaced with ARP steel studs. He’s added a T3/T4 Turbocharger to it, and aftermarket management, which brings everything together. This former 160hp 4AGZE, now makes north of 300hp.
After killing a few gearboxes, the car now has a racing box from G-Force Transmissions and a differential surprisingly from a Toyota Hilux with a 4.5 final drive ratio. The racing box uses an upgraded slave cylinder setup. Aftermarket clutch and flywheel setup are also used, from Quartermasters and Tilton.
Kevin’s intends to slowly build the engine up, in a way that would increase flow. Port and polish an engine head, and replace the camshafts with something more aggressive, as well as a new valve train. Changing the pistons to forged pistons and steel rods should help as he still has an interest in running more boost.
Kevin has loads of upgrades planned for this car over time. We are eager to see the changes coming to vehicle in the coming months. We are happy to work with Lucas Oils here in Barbados on this article.
Until next time! Happy Motoring!