SLEEPERS

CHRIS ETHELL KE20 COROLLA

S T O R Y I A I N K E L LY P H O T O S S T E V E K E L LY

> REDLANDS, QLD

WHEN you think of the term Ďstreet machineí, a mustard yellow old-school Corolla may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but with its nine-second timeslips, Chris Ethellís turbo V8 example definitely fits the bill.

What a wild swap! Was it a long build?

I bought it off my mate Scott Hoffman from Cleveland Exhausts, pretty much how it is now. Scott built the car and also has a 2JZ-powered KE20 thatís just stupid fast Ė itís in the sevens. I always liked the car and have two others at home. I didnít think heíd sell it to me, but I badgered Scott for months and eventually he needed a bit of money so I plonked cash down in front of him.

Have you done much to it yourself?

Weíve screwed some more power out of this one but itís pretty much how he had put it together. I bought it to do Powercruise events and to take out on weekend runs, but now weíre getting more into the drags. It has gone 9.60@140mph, which meant weíve been booted for going too fast, so now itís getting tech-inspected, a ícage and a parachute. It is also getting a new transbraked Powerglide, so it should go 8.9s.

So whatís the combo?

Itís got an import yard 1UZ-FE V8, just with conrod bolts and head studs, Cometic head gaskets, and upgraded valve springs. I run it on Caltex E-Flex fuel with a Magnafuel 750hp fuel pump, 2000cc injectors and an Autronic SM4 ECU, with a $500 imitation GT42 turbo off eBay. The computer is pretty old, but Scott swears by them as theyíre reliable; heís put them in all my cars.

How much does it make?

It currently makes 600hp at the wheels at 28psi, but when it did the 9.60 it had 505hp with a 50-shot of gas. Weíll run the gas, and with the transbrake and extra power it should be into the eights. Itís made this power on Scottís dyno, which seems to be more accurate.

Has the chassis required many upgrades for so much power?

The chassis is pretty simple, just with CalTracs, seam-welded engine bay and a few small braces. Scottís 2JZ KE20 is way faster and seems to have held up really well, so that tells me it should be fine. With the Salisbury diff in the back, Iíve got 15x8s under the rear with 235/60 ET Streets, and it hooks up really well at Willowbank. On the street itís not so good and will blaze up, but plenty of guys run faster than me on 235s.

Does it attract any unwanted attention on the street?

I havenít had any issues because it looks like a stock car with the VT Commodore brakes and 15-inch Commodore pursuit rims, plus the exhaust has a shut-off valve so it is really quiet. Iíve had cops drive past and give me a nod, like Ďthatís cool, mateí.

Is it really grumpy to drive?

Itís not a big-dollar build but it is really well sorted, has power everywhere and is actually daily-driver reliable. You can go out and take it for a drive, just hit the key and go; there arenít any problems with cold starting or anything. s