Warspeed 1520cc Toyota 5K combo

Warspeed's Troy Worsley has rebuilt his KE38 Corolla wagon mill into a 1520cc monster

Photographers: Mathew Everingham

Given he’s known as one of Australia’s best LS-builders, it may be a surprise to learn Troy Worsley of Warspeed Industries doesn’t own a V8-powered project. The engine mastermind carries the keys to a super-cool KE38 Toyota Corolla wagon, powered by a crazy Toyota 5K four-banger.

First published in the May 2024 issue of Street Machine

Originally found in forklifts, a stock 5K engine won’t have you dizzy with its performance, spanning 1486cc and boasting just 45hp. Troy has built his mill into a 1520cc monster he’s aiming to pull 10,000rpm and 200hp at the hubs from, though it was already rather impressive in its previous guise.

“It was making between 160hp and 180hp, then at 9400rpm it cracked a main cap, so it was time to go bigger and badder,” Troy says. “This engine is the same block and head, just refreshed. Everyone is after more power for bragging rights, but I also wanted to do something with RPM that nobody has done before; the block has had hours of machining and grinding, de-burring and spray-painting inside to seal the casting.”

The factory crank was knife-edged by Troy and isotopically surface-treated by Glenn Wells Race Engines. “This makes it smoother so it flicks oil where we want it better, plus it removes blemishes which should make it stronger,” Troy explains.

While the 13:1 compression ratio and ARP hardware won’t raise many eyebrows, the way Troy has mounted the custom Carillo rods and CP slugs might. “The rod is piston-guided, not crank-guided,” Troy says. “Traditionally, the crank guides the rod but once you step up to high-tech engines like the ones in NASCAR or old-school V8 Supercars, they use piston-guided rods to allow a thinner, lighter rod on the rotating end; shedding weight is paramount to getting an engine to hang together reliably at big RPM. We were able to use conrods that are a quarter-inch narrower than before.”

The custom CPs feature gudgeon pins with diamond-like carbon coating, and custom Swan Racing Development billet main caps round out the bottom end to remove a weak point of the last engine.

The cam is a Kelford custom piece. “Because we have custom Harland Sharp 1.65-ratio rockers, we had them gauge the moment of inertia to work out the valve spring tension that we needed to control it all,” Troy says. “So this 5K now runs Supertech Nissan TB48 titanium valves, a Kelford RB26 beehive valve spring, and Kelford 2J Toyota titanium collets and retainers.” Hard-to-find Trend direct-lube lightweight lifters work on custom Manton pushrods.

R35 GT-R coils eliminate the parasitic drain of a distributor, and are fired by a Haltech Elite 550 ECU, while the epic intake is a tapered 48mm set-up from EFI Hardware.

“I would love for it to make 2.5hp per cube,” Troy says. “It’s been really good to go to turn the brain on and go back to what I was doing 25 years ago. This engine is pretty out-there, and it’s going to be cool picking up parts every day with the Corolla.”


Troy adapted a Mitsubishi distributor as a cam trigger, while Newby Engineering made the front-drive assembly to fit the water pump, the alternator, and the mandrel to run the Petersen single-stage belt-driven oil pump that sucks out of the wet sump. The BSpeed rocker cover has been modified to fit a Motion Raceworks breather, while the Haltech crank trigger works with a custom Fabtech chopper wheel and bracket.