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Note: Engine photo is pre-rebuild. Over the last few years I started to develop a bit of a love for the 4A-GE engine, specifically the "Blacktop" 20-valve version that was never sold in the USA. It's a bit of a horsepower underdog when compared to other I4 engines, even from the period, but it had all the major things I was looking for: High redline, amazing sound, and great reliability. So, naturally I started looking for cars that the engine would be a good fit in, and the lack of horsepower really narrowed things down quickly. It was likely going to be an AE86, AW11, or KP61 that I would wind up owning with that engine bolted in it, as they would require the least modding and benefit the most proportionally from that kind of swap. However, AE86's are suffering from a combination of both the "drift tax" and the "tofu tax", and Starlets are nowhere to be seen where I'm located. Fast forward to March of 2019 and I find this car for sale for a pretty good price in Tennessee. It had already been swapped to the drivetrain displayed, and many mods had been done to it by the previous owner(s). I go and look it over, buy it, and drive it several hours back on the highway. It was blowing smoke pretty badly, and I only drove it three more times in the following weeks before starting to tear into it. After all, it's better to have some patience and fix the issue than to try and make a sick man run a marathon. Turns out it had some rather bad oil leaks around the piston rings, and so the block was bored out and new pistons/rings were installed. I got the short block back from the machine shop and worked on rebuilding it from April until December... A bit longer than I previously, and rather optimistically, expected. My modding direction is to make the most of the platform and drivetrain while not going too crazy. I want to be able to drive this thing any time, anywhere, and have a stupid grin on my face the whole time doing so. Instead of making more power, I'm working toward making it better for power delivery and driver feedback, while still being perfectly streetable and reliable. Future plans: - LED conversion. - Seat replacement (has JDM SW20 seats in it at present, they look cool but the passenger has all the extra adjustment options...) - New paint job to factory color. - Some vintage turbofan-style wheels for a set of summer tires. - Stereo system upgrade, nothing fancy since it's quite noisy in general.
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