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Camry Creation

A full-house modified Toyota Camry turbo!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • Toyota Camry feature car!
  • Performance built turbo engine
  • Custom paint and body kit
  • Custom leather trim
  • A real eye catcher
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The Aussie family car is a popular base for local performance build-ups – fast Falcons and crazy Commodores abound. But what about the other local family machines?

Well, Lawrence X proves there is life beyond Falc-odores!

Check out Lawrence’s 1996 Toyota Camry – it’s almost certainly the wildest example in Australia. From its custom paint and bodywork to its leather trim and turbocharged engine, this Camry is every bit a rival for modified Falcons and Commodores!

Lawrence purchased this Camry CSi (chassis code SVX10) about 5 years ago as a family run-around. Back then, this white-like-a-household-appliance Camry stood humbly on its hub-capped wheels. But it wasn’t long before Lawrence chucked on a set of aftermarket wheels and a high-flow exhaust.

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Just these basic mods gave the Camry a big improvement, but the standard 2.2 litre four (coded 5S-FE) lacked the grunt to tackle other local sedans. And here’s where a turbocharger enters the equation.

Lawrence considered dropping in a Toyota turbocharged 2.0 litre (a 3S-GTE) but decided to try something different – turbocharging the factory 2.2. In the first instance, an extra injector and micro-fueller went on to provide increased fuel flow at high engine load. However, a couple of years after this set-up was installed, a piston ring broke and Lawrence decided to start again.

Time for a proper engine build.

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Lawrence had Warren from WM (Warren Molloy) Motorsport haul out the original engine and rebuilt it with 7.4:1 forged pistons, later model floating conrods, an ARP stud kit and ARP rod bolts. The 16-valve head was also modified and ported before being installed on a multi-layer 3S-GTE steel gasket. Interestingly, a Celica GT4 sump fits straight on the 5S-FE bottom-end – this gives increased oil capacity and baffling. The standard engine’s balance gears were also removed – Warren says he balanced the engine internals and there’s no noticeable effect on NVH. An ARE oil breather is also fitted along with a new washer tank and radiator header tank.

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Warren says the angled-back engine position creates a heap of space for a sexy looking custom exhaust manifold. As you can see, long length runners have been used to give maximum visual appeal. This mounts a GT25/28 ball-bearing turbocharger, which gives an excellent combination of boost response and top-end power. A custom dump pipe leads into a 3 ¼ inch exhaust system with a 3 inch high-flow cat converter. A relatively quiet 8 x 4 inch TRR muffler is used with a subtle(?!) 5 ½ inch tip.

On the intake side of things, there’s a pod filter mounted in the guard and, a little further downstream, an ARE air-to-air intercooler with a 60mm thick core. A TurboSmart Type 2 blow-off valve is also fitted along with a ‘Boost T’ to give up to 16 psi manifold pressure. The inlet manifold and throttle remain stock.

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Controlling the fuel and ignition is an EMS Stinger 2.1 programmable management system. The fuel system kicks off with a Walbro 550 pump teamed with Series 5 Mazda RX-7 injectors and the standard Camry pressure reg. The ignition remains stock.

Backing the turbocharged 2.2 litre is a standard replacement Camry 5-speed manual gearbox – the first unit suffered an exploded diff... The clutch is a 30 percent upgraded Exedy unit intended for a ST205-series Celica and the standard axles haven’t given any problem.

The highly modified state of the engine should come as no surprise given this Camry’s wild body and exterior – there’s nothing that’s been left untouched!

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The normally conservative Camry lines have been reworked using a modified Trust front bumper (which was originally intended for a R32 GT-R), R34 Skyline skirts (cut and reshaped), a Camry ‘T-Bar’ at the rear, chromed wiper arms and headlight eyelids. The bonnet has also been treated to a custom air vent and raised TRD letters in the metal – Lawrence makes the point that it’s not a cheap an’ easy fibreglass job. The paint is a custom mix that’s based on Ford’s XR-series Blueprint Blue with added red pearl and flake. Looks good, eh?

A set of Ferretti 18 inch rims wearing Falken ZE326 225/40s capably fill the guards and, as you’ve probably already noticed, the car rides low. Very low. Lawrence has gone for a Pedders suspension upgrade comprising adjustable coil-overs, front and rear camber kits and a front strut brace. The brakes have also been tweaked – there are quality aftermarket pads, drilled discs at the front and slotted discs at the rear.

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Indoors, the standard Camry CSi trim is nothing but a memory. From top to bottom, the cab is re-trimmed in grey/white soft leather. The seats are re-bolstered versions of the originals and you’ll also appreciate the custom floor mats, matching painted steering wheel and dash and custom hood lining with a raised Toyota emblem. A new set of gauges has also been roped in – boost, oil pressure, water temperature, battery voltage and a giant tachometer. Tunes are pushed from JVC front splits and rear 6 x 9s, a pair of JVC amps and a 15 inch Earthquake sub.

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With absolutely no effort to reduce weight or enhance the chassis for drag racing, the Camry’s best quarter mile time to date is a 14.0 at 106 mph. Note, however, this was achieved on worn street tyres and standard suspension – a 13 second pass seems like a definite. This is further justified when you consider this Camry rips out 178kW at the wheels (on a Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno) along with super-strong torque through the rev range.

Lawrence is more than happy with the performance of his Camry and the amount of attention that it creates - even during a mundane run to the shop. Still, Lawrence wouldn’t mind moving on to something else and he is contemplating selling this beast. If you’re prepared to make an offer around AUD$34,000, you can get in contact with Lawrence through

Thirty-four grand might seem a lot - but consider what some people are prepared to spend on their Falcons and Commodores!


WM (Warren Molloy) Motorsport
+61 7 3205 1951

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