Video: 1000hp, seven-second K24-powered Toyota Celica

Brendon’s K24-swapped Celica runs low eights in the Tuff Mounts 235 tyre class at Drag Challenge 2022/3

Photographers: Drag Photos, Chris Thorogood, Shaun Tanner

Update, 12 May:

Since Drag Challenge, Brendon and the team have been testing the Honda K24-powered Celica on 8.5in Mickey Thompson radials with a lot of success. Yesterday at Sydney Dragway, they broke into the seven-second zone to the tune of 7.839-seconds at 178mph!

If you are in Sydney tomorrow, get down to Jamboree to look at this work of art up close.

Note that while these tyres are becoming the go-to tyre in 235 radial racing, they are not legal in Drag Challenge competition.

8 February:

Brendon’s monster K24-powered Celica has not only successfully completed Drag Challenge, but also managed a PB and second-place finish in the Tuff Mounts 235 Blown class.

This year’s driver, Daniel Smith, was super happy with the car when we caught up with him at each track. “It drives really well down the ‘strip, and on the road we’ve had zero issues,” he said. “Now we’re just learning how to creep up on it to get some decent numbers.”

Although there were no proper reliability issues, the boys did encounter a snag on the first day at Heathcote on-track. The Celica was rocking on the start line and breaking the beams before properly launching. That meant the ETs on the slips read poorly (in the 11s), and by the time the crew had figured out the issue the track was heat-soaked and the pace had gone from it.

As a result, they were forced to hand in a best of 11.68 @159mph to start their campaign. Day Two at Portland’s eighth-mile was a lot better, with the startline issues resolved and the car singing to a 5.59 @127mph as the boys looked to claw their way back up the class leaderboard.

They backed it up on Day Three with a 5.68@128mph during the eighth-mile twilight racing at Mildura, before managing their first eight back at Heathcote on Day Four with a best of 8.67@162mph.

On the final day the track prep at Heathcote was as good as ever, and Daniel set a new best for the Celica with a blistering 8.38 @164mph, securing them second place in class. “That’s about all we’ve got today; we still have to drive it back to Melbourne after this,” he told us at the time.

To see more about how their weekend went, you can watch the daily updates from owner Brendon de Ruyter, uploaded on the Auto Perfection YouTube channel.

The story to here

24 January 2023: The Honda K24 four cylinder is a hot ticket to bulk horsepower on the cheap, which is why Brendon De Ruyter has slung one into this 1983 Toyota Celica to make a killer small-tyre weapon.

Brendon will be bringing the Celica all the way down from Queensland to Victoria for our five-day Drag Challenge drag ‘n’ drive event that kicks off next week (31 January – 4 February), but this isn’t the first time he’s entered a quirky Japanese car.

He made an appearance at our 2020 Drag Challenge Weekend event in Queensland with his AWD, B18C turbocharged 800hp Honda Integra , driven on that weekend by mate Benny Wilkinson. It ran a best of 9.82@145mph, though Brendon eventually sold the car.

“I got sick of breaking gearboxes with it, and the AWD was getting too complicated,” he says. “So with the next car I wanted to go RWD with a ‘Glide and nine-inch so I’d stop breaking that stuff.”

Brendon wasn’t necessarily interested in the Celica as it was; more so the potential it had. “They’d have to be one of the ugliest cars out there, but the wheelbase was right for what I wanted and the engine bay had enough room for the K24 and turbo gear,” he says. “So I got it from my mate and turned it into what it is now.”

As the owner of the Auto Perfection workshop on the Gold Coast, Brendon had all the tools and know-how to get the car done. He converted the rear end to a nine-inch, re-doing the floor to accommodate both the diff and Powerglide transmission.

The front of the car was also renovated to accept the north-south converted K24 Honda mill, which involved changing the original front end for an AE82 Corolla one. “The Celica one had all the garbage for the flip up headlights there, and I wanted the room for more important things,” says Brendon. Plus, we’d argue it makes the front far more presentable.

With a new turbo, aftermarket rods and a set of head studs, the Celica set of PB of 8.39@162mph.

Since then, Brendon has built a new K24 with a stock crank, Boostline rods, Wiseco pistons, Drag Cartel cams, Ferrea valvetrain and a CNC ported head. That, combined with eight 2000cc injectors, Haltech Nexus R5 management and a new G42 turbo saw the Celica make a peak of 1012rwhp at 8755rpm on 40psi.

“That new engine and turbo has given us a lot more headroom, so I’m keen to see how far we can go with it now,” says Brendon.

It’s been a last minute thrash to get the new engine in and tested before Drag Challenge next week, with tuning happening just two days after Christmas last year.

Brendon is having his mate Daniel Smith do the driving at this year’s DC, and with minimal testing on the new combo they’ve already managed to get the Celica comfortably into the eights with an 8.53@160mph during a session at Willowbank Raceway.

The boys have also undertaken critical testing people often overlook: on the street and fully loaded with the trailer on the back. That’s allowed Brendon to data-log any weak points of the car, and has already prompted him to make some set-up changes around cooling for both the engine and gearbox to handle the lengthy road miles they’ll be encountering at DC.

When we spoke to Brendon about his Celica, the car was already in transit from Queensland, and his goals for the event were similar to most combatants. “Honestly, with a car this fresh I’ll just be happy to finish it,” he says.

“I came back because I had such a ball with the Integra when we did it for the weekend event, so if we can make it through and have fun I’ll call that a big win.”

Brendon will be taking on the Tuff Mounts 235 Blown class, and says he’ll be uploading daily update videos from the event on his YouTube channel, which is also where you can check out the rest of his build series on the Celica.