Turbo Barra-swapped Toyota Prius in the US

This American drifter traded his 1JZ for Aussie power



  • 2000s Prius converted to RWD with Barra and six-speed manual
  • Several businesses now import Barras to US
  • Kasey plans to drive swapped Prius on street

While Barra-swapped cars are becoming increasingly common in the US, few are as out-there as Kasey Eastman’s drift-ready Toyota Prius.

Kasey paid a paltry $250 for his XW20 Prius in 2018, adding it to his stable of Japanese cars. He then got to work fabricating a tube front end, transmission tunnel and four-link rear, transforming it into a 1JZ-powered drift machine. Kasey campaigned the Japanese six throughout much of 2019 and 2020, drawing plenty of attention both online and in the flesh.

This year, he pulled the 1JZ while hunting for even more power.

“I’d been in search of a Barra for a little over eight years,” recounts the Sacramento, California local. “I’m honestly not quite sure how I originally heard about it, but a couple of years ago when Mighty Car Mods did the swap into a Cresta I realised everything would fit since I use a Cressida crossmember from an MX72 wagon in the Prius.”

Kasey eventually found Pennsylvania-based importer Barra Swap, and ordered an ex- LPG ‘green top’ engine. The company stocks a range of spares and accessories suitable for Barras. This includes Tuff Mounts conversion kits for most Mustangs, Plazmaman parts, and 6Boost turbo manifolds.

“Parts have not been as difficult as I expected,” says Kasey. “There’s a few people here that stock some of them and the rest can be shipped relatively easily.”

The Barra now wears a Borg Warner S360 turbo and 2000cc injectors. Talking to the engine is a LinkECU G4X FuryX ECU. The donk is paired to a CD009 six-speed manual via a Collins adaptor kit. Once found in the Nissan 350Z, the ‘box offers good strength and shorter gear ratios than a T56, making it a popular choice for drift cars.

The rear end is a Ford 8.8in unit with 3.73:1 gears. Kasey got the car running earlier this month, and made 418rwhp (311kW) at 14psi before any VCT tuning.

Though it’s being built to perform on drift circuits, Kasey intends to make the Prius suitable for public roads. Air conditioning, a full interior, sound system, and cruise control are on the agenda. To keep a low profile while cruising around emissions-hating California, the car will have a sleeper look.

“I’ll have a boost actuated cut-out set to around 5psi, so that under normal driving conditions it’s almost completely silent to eliminate any unwanted attention.”

Kasey has already taken the Prius drifting but he says there’s plenty of other work to be done, including a full engine rebuild. “The motor I have was relatively tired from the start and currently has a rod knock. So it will be getting a full billet destroked crank, hopefully around a 3.4L, as well as a complete bottom end build.”

We can’t wait to see this Japanese-Aussie-American hybrid fry some more tyres on the other side of the world! You can keep up with Kasey’s builds on his Instagram page.