A new Heart – Hugo’s ae85
For some reason, unbeknown to me I am obsessed with motoring.
I wouldn’t go so far to say that I enjoy the frustrating and often tedious parts of building project cars, I’d say I’m more of a driver. Sure, I can install bolt-on’s and oddly enough I do actually enjoy shopping for new parts, but the tasks like fluid changes and general maintenance does nothing to invigorate or excite my nether regions.
Some people, and I know many, find wrenching on their cars therapeutic and very rewarding and to a degree I can understand this. But I would rather be stuck behind the steering wheel suffocating in the heat of an un-air-conditioned coffin, in a sweat inducing racing suit than scraping the skin from my knuckles on those damn top bell housing bolts.
It must be in the makeup of a person, some are programmed to enjoy and gain satisfaction from tasks others find painfully annoying. And it’s strange to think that so many people are made up in the same way. I mean, when you really put some thought into it you realize there are legions of people, many following different forums, blogs and other various media publications, but people programmed almost identically in the motoring code nonetheless.
A multi-billion dollar industry based on petrol, tires and metal.
It’s all a little crazy when you think about it.
This obsession, or passion if you will can’t really be explained to people in the outer circle. People who use’s phrases like “I just want a car that will get me from A to B” just don’t get it. Car’s aren’t dull pieces of tin used purely for the purpose of transporting the population.
To me car’s are identity.
I don’t wear rag’s just to cover my body and it’s no different to owning a car.
It’s just not about getting from A to B. Its about how the car makes you feel.
It’s about soul.
And this ae85 has got soul, and plenty of it. It’s lucky for the car because Hugo who owns it must be one of the breed that enjoys both wrenching and driving. For not too long ago his beloved Toyota Levin gave up the ghost and its heart exploded in a spectacular fashion with Conrod’s punching fist sized holes in the sides of the block. Killing the old and making way for the new.
The ae85’s new heart is a stock F20C transplanted from a Honda S2000, similar in most ways to the old engine except for one significant addition. This time Hugo has turned to the gods of forced induction for some added power. The new heart features a DSR480 turbo feeding a hungry intake with some larger 560cc injectors providing the much-needed increase in fuel. Add a custom exhaust manifold, custom intercooler piping and a 3 Inch exhaust and you have yourself a fairly volatile mix. This mix is brought under control by a custom ECU tune from Speed Factory with it’s first roll on the dyno seeing the new heart put out a pounding 228kw on only 6 PSI!
Now, keep in mind this car is made from the same tin-foil used to wrap those consistently mediocre TV-dinners and you’ll soon realize this is fair bit of power for one little Toyota.
By the time I arrived at Hugo’s place the sun was well gone and it was very dark. After a few shots in the garage using some old work lamps to light the car I got seated, buckled in and we went for a drive. Hugo took me for a quick blast through his favourite local road and believe me the car was violently fast in a straight line and 4th gear had just as much traction as first, which is to say.. no traction at all! This coupled with some improved throttle response and the new heart was quickly proving a very worthwhile upgrade indeed.
I jumped out to shoot some shots of the car in the endless black and only managed a single shot. It was just too dark and my camera was really struggling to pick up the car sliding through the corners.
Happily though what I could not see was made up for by the sound.
The combination of the howling VTEC and forced induction screaming its way towards me in the still darkness was borderline intoxicating and I could not help but be reminded of all those amazing japanese touge video’s I’ve got bookmarked on Youtube. Cliche? Yeah, but the sound of a turbocharged F20C on full song was unarguably arousing.
Shortly after Hugo picked me back up we pulled over for a few more photos, this time under the soft yellow of a lonely street light. I could feel the rain from the endless black above us starting to get a bit heavier. This car belonged to the night, it belonged to the back roads and to the blind hairpin corners that surrounded the area.
With the rain coming down slightly harder I packed up my camera and we headed back through the dark winding roads to Hugo’s place.
Back in his garage for the second time tonight Hugo showed me how he mount’s his tires on his rims using lighter fluid and a match.
An explosive but rather effective method!
With the photo’s done my girlfriend Anna and I packed up our stuff, left Hugo and his ae85 and headed for home, stopping at Mc Donald’s for some much-needed cheeseburgers and fries. Happily I can admit that my obsession with motoring is only in its relative infancy and I’ve got so many more great cars to drive and shoot. But when I really think about it, when I really put some thought into why I am so passionate about cars it’s not just the tires, petrol and metal that really does it for me
It’s the people you meet, friend’s you make and little things you enjoy.
Keep driving and I’ll catch you soon!