Toyota 1JZ-powered EH Holden sleeper

Qld sparky Brock Pilkington and his family built this wicked turbo Toyota six-powered EH almost by accident

Photographers: Steve Kelly

This article on Brock’s EH Holden was originally published in the February 2018 issue of Street Machine

QUEENSLAND sparky Brock Pilkington and his family built this wicked turbo Toyota six-powered EH almost by accident. You see, while many set out to build sleepers with big horsepower in mind, Brock was actually chasing reliability and something family-friendly for weekend cruises!

“The intention for the EH wasn’t to make power; it was to get in and drive with no dramas, and get the kids involved,” Brock says. “It takes the fun out of it when you are broken by the side of the road or when you’re spending money breaking stuff.

“The EH wasn’t in too bad condition when I bought it,” he continues. “We only gave the interior and exterior a well-deserved tidy-up. We bought the EH because we’ve never owned one and this car came up in the local area. We drove it for six weeks, and I hated it with the 186.”

The solution came in the form of one of Toyota’s legendary twin-cam turbo inline six-cylinder engines, the 2.5-litre 1JZ-GTE. They’re renowned worldwide for their smooth running, cheap purchase price and ability to make bulk grunt.

Toyota’s 2.5L turbo 1JZ-GTE six looks right at home in the engine bay of Brock’s Aussie classic

“We’ve always had cars but I don’t know how the 1JZ popped up in this project,” Brock admits. “I didn’t want to go V8 and we always wanted a turbo engine. It was just coincidence Kristian Goleby [of Goleby’s Parts] suggested the 1JZ.

“I got the motor and ’box from a guy in Cleveland for $1200 out of a Toyota Soarer. When we first did the conversion I didn’t know how many kilometres the engine had done. Kristian was a massive help for us; we couldn’t have done it without him. All up it took 5½ weeks to have it all fabricated, do the fuel system, get the Haltech Elite 750 ECU wired in, and get the car driving.”

Replacing the stock twin turbos is a single, high-mounted Garrett GTX3476 with a billet front wheel that helps response. “It’s still very streetable and there’s not much lag,” says Brock. It sits high on a tube exhaust manifold by Kyle Hopf from 6Boost.

“Now, anyone can drive it,” Brock says. “In fact, it is more my wife’s car, as she drives it to work, gets the groceries and picks the kids up from school in it.”

There were bonuses to buying this EH, like the BorgWarner BTR78 diff from a VN Commodore in the back. Its insides were soon changed to include 28-spline axles, 3.7 gears and an LSD centre! “When I bought the car it already had the disc brakes and BorgWarner diff. It’s another reason why we went that way.”

Inside, the EH is pretty much just as it left the showroom floor, albeit given a bit of a spruce-up by Brock

After running into the 12s at over 120mph, Brock heard the dreaded rattle of a dead big-end bearing, leading to another round of work to make the 1JZ absolutely bulletproof, thanks to Graham Harrison of Turbowerx.

“I spun a bearing in it at Willowbank, so I had to build the bottom end with stronger parts,” he says. “It’s now got CP pistons, ARP head studs and bolts, Spool I-beam rods, machined crank, ACL Race Series main bearings, a reco head, but it is still running stock cams. We had it tuned at Toowoomba by Forced Performance, where it made 450hp at the tyres on E85. We only run 98RON fuel on the street, as it has a flex-fuel sensor.

“It’s a cool little car,” Brock concludes. “It’s real reliable, and [wife] Cherie drives it more than me! The car still has its standard wheelarches in the back, as the whole idea was to keep it looking stealth like nobody would ever know.”