This Is The 2JZ-Powered Toyota Cressida You Never Saw Coming

September 18, 2017 / by Bradley Iger

Never judge a book by its cover. This unsuspecting Toyota Crssida packs serious 2JZ-GTE power and will leave many a muscle car owner in shock at the stop light 

Robert Hoelscher likes to fly under the radar and surprise would-be competitors. “One morning while walking through my father-in-law’s salvage yard, I happened across the Cressida," said Hoelscher. Having no idea what it was we looked it over, and I was surprised to discover that it housed a 3.0L dual cam inline six-cylinder 7MGE.” 

After sorting out the wiring harness and installing the required hardware for the trans swap, the 2JZ-GTE looks right at home under the hood of this Cressida. Hoelscher says that while the stock twin turbo setup is a blast to drive now, he would eventually like to switch over a single big turbocharger setup. .

Due to the massive under-hood real estate, he assumed that the venerable 2JZ-GTE from a Supra would likely fit in this engine bay with minimal hassle. But it would take some deliberation before he would finally pull the trigger on the project.

The MTX-L gauge also features a digital input and output as well as two programmable analog outputs, the latter of which Hoelscher plans to take advantage of in order to reduce the clutter in the engine bay once he moves over to a single turbo setup.

Learn more about the MTX-L's capabilites here.

“After a few years of bouncing the idea around, I committed to pulling the car out of the salvage yard where it had been for over ten years,” he said. “I chose to build the Cressida because it’s not a car that sticks out to the ordinary enthusiast, it doesn’t draw attention like most commonly modified cars.”

Upon closer inspection it’s difficult to immediately identify the telltale signs of a warmed-over setup. The intercooler is cleverly tucked away under the stock bodywork, which sports nearly three decades of bumps and bruises.

It’s hard to argue with that logic. Even seasoned gearheads would be forgiven for dismissing Hoelscher’s Toyota, as its factory-esque ride height and total lack of aesthetic pretense make it difficult to identify as a potential contender. But make no mistake, this understated sedan is packing heat. “I picked up a 2JZ-GTE VVTI from LA JDM, along with an R154 5-speed manual gearbox from a parted out Supra on Craigslist,” said Hoelscher.

The the wiring harness was extended to allow the ECU to remain in the factory location and all the requisite incidentals for the engine and trans swap were handled.

Next, an E85-compatible AEM 320lph high-flow fuel pump was installed in the factory tank after it was reconditioned. 2.5-inch intercooler piping, an LD Performance electronic boost controller and HKS Fuel Cut Defender (to overcome factory fuel cut at 14.7 psi), and a custom 3-inch exhaust system with a Magnaflow muffler were then added. “It’s currently at 17psi on the stock twin turbos, which are still in the original sequential setup, and should be right at 400 hp to the wheels,” Hoelscher said.

In order to keep the ECU installed in the factory location, Hoelscher had to extend the wiring harness by 50”.

 With such a customized setup, it’s also important that the engine’s vitals can be checked at a glance, so an Innovate Motorsports MTX-L wideband gauge was installed in the center console just under the radio.

Despite riding on CX Racing coilover suspension, it’s difficult to discern anything other than a garden-variety, late-‘80s Japanese sedan. Even the Magnaflow muffler could be dismissed as a simple an aftermarket replacement for the worn-out factory piece.

“I love this gauge because it gives the option to display in either Lambda or AFR,” said Hoelscher.

With all the added grunt on tap, he also chose to bolster braking performance. “I discovered 300ZX four-piston front calipers with ‘95 Mazda MPV rotors were a perfect match for the wheels, which are 17x7.5-inch steelies from a 2009 Ford Fusion.”

Suddenly the mild-mannered Japanese sedan he’d stumbled upon in a junkyard was a bonafide sleeper. “This car progressed much quicker than I anticipated,” Hoelscher said. “It is an absolute joy to drive and crazy fun.” The next time you see a well-worn and unassuming 30-year-old Japanese sedan pull up next to you at a stop light, you might want to think twice. There’s a chance you might be looking at some factory-stock Cressida tail lights when everything’s said and done.

Topics: FEATURES, SPORT COMPACT, featured, CAR FEATURES

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Written by Bradley Iger

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