1JZ-powered 1981 Toyota Corona

A 700rwhp 1JZ means this nine-second Toyota Corona will never be late for a round of lawn bowls

Photographers: Steve Kelly

DESPITE being fairly light, rear-drive, cheap and packing generous engine bays, Toyota Coronas were ignored for yonks by street machiners looking to build a fast streeter. However, people like Queensland’s Luke Redman recognised the Corona’s solid underpinnings and killer potential and has built himself an awesome, 700rwhp 1981 example that is gunning for the eight-second zone.

First published in the February 2021 issue of Street Machine. Photos: Steve Kelly

“I don’t own a car trailer, so I drive my cars to and from the track. I want to run an eight-second pass and keep it street registered,” Luke says. “I actually bought the shell from Kristian Goleby as a freshly painted roller. It was destined to get a 1JZ, but he had too many projects, so I grabbed it and then he and I redid most of it because the engine went way further than what it was originally going to be.”

Anyone who knows what a 1JZ is should recognise the name Kristian Goleby, the man behind Goleby’s Parts in Toowoomba. He’s a guru when it comes to jamming the turbocharged, twin-cam, 2.5-litre inline six into all manner of 70s and 80s Toyotas. His own Corolla wagon has run eights with 1JZ power, but even with Kristian’s expertise, Luke’s Corona build wasn’t a walk in the park.

“Everything had to be custom made, so the project was a bit of a nightmare,” Luke says. “I’ve had the car for three years, but we didn’t really do much in the first year. When we started the build I got rid of a bunch of other projects; I had to funnel money into the Corona, because it just got out of hand.”

The 15×6 and 15×9 Performance Formula alloy wheels give a killer fat stance, with the rears wrapped in M/T 255/60 radials. Brakes are HiLux four-pots up front with Wilwood four-pots out back

Kristian built Luke a ripper combo, using a stock crank, Spool rods and Icon slugs, with Kelford 282-degree cams and a Precision 6766 snail sat high on a 6boost manifold. The charge-air is cooled by a Plazmaman air-to-air core, while a Haltech Elite 2500 controls the electronics, and boost management is all Turbosmart.

“The car was tuned by Scott Hoffman down at Cleveland Exhaust, and it made around 702rwhp on 37psi,” Luke says. “When we took it to the track, we started playing with it and decided to push it up to around 41-42psi, so I guess it has around 750rwhp now.”

Eagle eyes will spy the bottle of party-starter gas in the boot, but Luke says this is just to help the car get out of the hole. “It’s just a 50-shot to get it onto the converter, for maybe a second,” he says. “Once boost starts building, it isn’t needed and turns off”

Jamie from ET Chassis & Race Cars set up the rollcage, mini-tubbed the rear, made the tailshaft loop and seat mounts, did the adjustable four-link and AFCO rear coil-overs, and fitted an Enemies Racing Australia anti-roll bar.

Out back is a hardcore sheet-metal HiLux diff that uses Race Products full-floater axles, a Wavetrac centre and 3.5:1 gears. A transbraked Powerglide and custom 5500rpm converter by Gilroy’s Race Transmissions at Toowoomba sit in front of the nuclear-grade rear end.

The 1J’s ignition runs coil packs from a Nissan R35 GT-R, while an alloy radiator to fit an S15 Nissan 200SX was ordered off eBay and handles all the cooling requirements. The fuel system uses a boot-mounted cell and Aeroflow lift pump that pushes E85 into a surge tank, then through twin 044 pumps and into a set of 1650cc Bosch Motorsport injectors

Up front, Luke and Kristian didn’t have to reinvent the wheel thanks to the solid engineering Toyota provided back in the day. “All the Corona steering is pretty good from the factory, but the struts now have KYB shocks and a weld-on coil-over sleeve, so we can set the ride height and camber to suit the wheels,” says Luke.

“We guessed it would weigh about 1300kg, but we don’t really know. With the rear end in it, it’s really stable at speed. The engine build was kind of copied off Kristian’s Corolla wagon, but my car has heaps more grip than his.”

Luke has started his hunt for an eight-second slip, running the car twice so far at Willowbank.

“I’ve done a 9.27@148mph on its second time at the track, but we ran out of time that day,” he says. “There is heaps left in it, as I’m still learning it; this is the first car I’ve had with a transbrake and line-lock, so there’s a lot for me to learn, but I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out!”


Engine: Toyota 2.5L 1JZ-GTE six-cylinder
Cams: Kelford 282
ECU: Haltech Elite 2500
Turbocharger: Precision 6766
Transmission: Powerglide
Converter: 5500rpm custom
Diff: Sheet-metal HiLux housing, Wavetrac centre, Race Products full-floating axles, 3.5:1 gears
Power: 702rwhp
PB: 9.27@148mph

Jamie at ET Chassis; Kristian Goleby at Goleby’s Parts; Scott Hoffman at Cleveland Exhaust for the tune; Jesse Manners for the help at the track; Gilroy’s Race Transmissions; all my friends; and last but not least my wife, Steff

Got a car that looks mild, but goes wild? Send pics, car details and contact details to: Sleepers, Street Machine, Locked Bag 12, Oakleigh, Vic 3166. Or email: [email protected].