An Amazing GT Style Sports Car Bargain!

June 26, 2018 - by Matty D

One incredible car, two amazing engines!

The Lexus SC 300 and SC 400, are two versions of the same car, different only because of what’s under the hood. One is powered by the legendary Toyota 2JZGE, 3.2L in-line six cylinder, and the other, the increasingly popular 1UZFE 4.0L, aluminum, dual overhead cam, V8. 

When this car was sold initially in North America it was not as popular as it is now with enthusiasts. The in-line six from Toyota had not yet been popularized by the success of the Supra and its role in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, and the 260 hp,1UZFE V8, with its nearly total lack of aftermarket performance parts, were off the radar screens of people who normally care about such things. 

The SC 300 and the 2JZ-GE and 2JZ-GTE In-line Six

Fast forward to today, and find that the in-line six, that is shared by the SC 300, GS 300, and IS 300 from Lexus and the Supra from Toyota, has become one of the most popular tuner engines on the planet. Once people learned, from the experience with the Turbocharged Supra, that the 2J engine could stand up to about 600hp with stock internal bits, they became increasingly popular. And the fact that making 600hp with a 2J is a pretty darn easy has made this engine wildly popular with the tuner crowd. The sheer abundance of used cars with 2J engines around the globe has made them affordable as well.

Poor Man’s Porsche is a VW?


December 28, 2017 - by Matty D

Every time I see this image I find myself loving this Volkswagen Karrman Ghia again. It just looks right. The same way that a properly set up Porsche 911 looks right. This view from the rear is definitely the money shot. I like everything about it from the taillights, to the quarter panels to the the way the windows and roof line shape the top of the car. Every time I look at it I start thinking I could graft some Porsche Boxster suspension pieces onto it. I think about attaching a Subaru flat six engine to the front of a Porsche transaxle and using it to convert the Karrman Ghia from a rear engine car to a mid-engine car.

Unfortunately the front end does not do justice to the rest of the car. I want to like it, but it looks too much like the face of a cartoon animal.

I would love to forget about all other cars and own a Porsche 911 from the early 70s. Of course, that’s a popular idea and I am just another cash strapped dreamer. The 911 has become wildly popular with the money crowd and the prices have risen accordingly. It is also impossible to manufacture a car like the 911 today due to environmental and safety regulations. This has resulted in a situation where a run-down, unrestored 911 costs north of $75,000 and well done resto-mod versions are fetching $350,000 and more! I could buy a fleet of lesser, but still fun, project cars for the same money.

So what is a wrench wielding motorsport enthusiast to do to have some fun in this world without having to rob a bank? In my case, it is to crunch the numbers and pore over and craigslist and eBay. It is to look long and hard at the incredibly rich waste-stream of my American society and commit to not being left behind as long as my MIG welder can strike an arc and my truck and trailer are ready to retrieve the cars and parts necessary to answer the challenge to build any of a thousand other fun car projects. 

To make this short and sweet,  I was thinking that a Volkswagen Karrman Ghia from the late 60’s – early 70’s, upgraded with suspension bits from a Porsche 986 Boxster, as well as a Porsche manual transmission coupled with a turbocharged Subaru EG33 boxer six engine all tied together with a partial tube chassis, would make a hell of a project. 

Why not start with a Boxster you might be saying, and save the hassle. The simple truth is that I want to use a chassis that is old enough to be exempt from emissions regulations so that I could have a free hand with the engine without having to worry about running afoul of the laws.