1G Gee-Gees

Toyota's "ugly ducking" 1G motor gets given a big set of wings that lets it fly with the eagles!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

This article was first published in October 2000.

One hundred and ninety five dolleros - that's chicken feed when you're talking modified cars innit? Nevertheless, that's exactly the amount Alex Decarli paid for this imported Toyota 1G six - the engine for his 10-second strip/street Celica! But, to give you some background, Alex has been heavily into boosting and tuning various Toyota motors in his fully equipped workshop - RaceCraft - for nearly ten years. Therefore, it's no surprise that he's got a good handle on all the good stuff that lurks inside Toy engines.

And, yes, even the ol' 1G...

Alex confidently tells us that getting power was never going to be an issue with the G-ster - but there was one problem that stuffed up his initial plans to circuit sprint with it. And that's its weight. You see, the pretty little TA22 Celica - Alex's car of choice - never came released with a six, and those two extra pots really do place a lot more weight over the front end. In fact, heaps more by the time you include the appropriate gearbox and a full turbo system. So, inevitably, it was decided that the 1G's negative effect on handling would've been too much to contend with.

However, one alternative that popped up was to drop the engine into this slightly rough'n'ready 1973 TA22, which had been bought "just as basic transport". In this car, handling wasn't an issue. All it had to do was to showcase the abilities of RaceCraft and the worth of Toyota engines - oh, and to go bloody fast as well!

First up, the 1G conversion was a relatively simple one and only really required a different gearbox crossmember and engine mounts. A KE55 radiator was also slotted in, the G's water pump was modified (for more flow) and a custom coolant aeration tank was hosed into the top of the head. These, reportedly, eliminate any potential top-end steam pockets.

Amazingly, Alex didn't even need to pull the wrecker motor down before clobbering it over the head with a big dose of boost pressure. But that's no big thing to him. Alex says the only 1G engine failures he's ever seen have been through people running the wrong fuel and/or oil - there's never been a simple mechanical let-go. "Yeah, they're bullet proof inside," he nods with total confidence. This particular motor - being an ex-factory twin turbo two litre (1G-GTE) - arrived already suited to forced induction, with a static compression ratio of around 8.6:1 - which is lower than the 1G atmo, but about 0.5 higher than the supercharged variant.

Being a bit of an all-rounder, Alex fabricated a 1-inch runner diameter custom exhaust manifold to locate a single high capacity turbo. And, curious to why the runners are so thin, he told us that it was the best way to get the exhaust velocity high enough to get the big turbo spinning. The unit he selected here was an ATS-supplied Garrett T04E (with a 132 exhaust housing), teamed with a modified and enlarged 42mm wastegate hidden under the car. Certainly, it looks like there's plenty of flow capability on both the compressor and turbine sides!

Gulps of induction air are drawn through a foam type air filter and, once compressed, get iced by a 7M-GTE Supra front-mount intercooler (and notice the MOR.BST number plates nearby!). What's cooled then stays cooled thanks to an aircraft-grade heat wrap that's slipped over the intercooler-to-engine pipe.

Turbo boost pressure varies hugely depending on the car's role at any one time. At the drags the Celica runs 22-25 psi, while on the dyno it's gone to 30 and even 45 psi! And, yes, it still holds together no probs!

Go 1G!!!

The only thing is, you can't use that much boost on the road or track - it wheelspins so much it just goes slower! Note that a GReddy system has recently replaced this regulator type boost control.

Of course, pushing air into an engine this hard meant that the fuelling system has had to be stepped up considerably. Alex runs six 4A-GZE squirters in the factory injector locations, plus another brace of six 800cc Boschies higher up on the intake manifold (which is also Extrude Honed). These are mounted off a custom fuel rail and are brought into action by the programmable ECU (at a time when the 4A injectors are starting to lose their grip). A rising rate regulator maintains fuel pressure.

The opposite end of the elaborate fuel system sees a custom alloy tank in the boot, a Pierburg pre-pump, Bosch hi-volume main pump and a RaceCraft surge tank. The engine management unit is an EMS product, which is working with a MAP load sensor and a direct fire ignition system.

This fast Celica's underbonnet view is further crazed thanks to Alex's mad craving for engine data. He's installed individual cylinder exhaust gas temp pyros, a post-turbo pyro, intercooler inlet and outlet temp sensors, a custom boost gauge and an Autronic air/fuel ratio meter - in addition to the EMS one! And they not just accessories either - they're worth their weight in gold when your pulling heaps of power and you want to see how the engine's lookin'.

So the big question is, how many hp is this guy getting from his $195 scrapper motor? Well, people, what if we told you this thing is currently making 1200 horses? Of course, we'd be telling pork pies... But there's total truth in the fact that when the car was strapped down to ATS's chassis dyno, it saw 575hp - and with a lot of wheelspin! So much spin, in fact, Alex tells us it isn't a really good indication of its power.

Bearing the brunt of this mega gee-gee motor is a combination of Toyota parts that have so far proven up to the task. After passing through a steel flywheel and an expensive twin-plate clutch, torque is put through a Supra 5-speed 'box, a custom 3-inch tailshaft and a Hi-Ace diff. This isn't your average Hi-Ace diff though, it's got a maxi-spool centre spinning 4.44:1 gears. Nevertheless, with so much grunt on tap, there's still rubber fryin' galore - even with slicks!

We bet you'll be surprised how much this little flier now weighs. Alex has parked it over the scales and seen a full 1250kg measured - and that's about 25% more than standard! The addition of the heavier 1G, the Supra 'box and the Hi-Ace diff are all to blame - despite the removal of some interior bits and sound deadening. Luckily though, the lightweight advantage of the average Celica can be traded-off slightly when you've got the king-hit of this awesome wrecker motor. She's fast. Brutally fast. With Daniel Mizzi (also from RaceCraft) behind the wheel, the car has pulled a best time of 10.06 seconds at 139.94 mph.

Yes, it's just tiptoeing on the border of cracking 9s!

But - being so fast - Alex is now under pressure from ANDRA to fit a roll cage, a scatter shield - and a parachute! And that's on top of the fact that the existing RA60 front brakes are about to be teamed up with AU Falcon rear discs and Skyline calipers. After that, Alex simply plans to keep campaigning in the car and hard-pushing the RaceCraft name - oh, and not mention that $195 wrecker motor!

It sure makes you look at the Toyota G-series of engines differently doesn't it?!


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