Turbocharged LS-Swapped 1983 Toyota Corolla Wagon

Sometimes big things come in small packages. However, in the case of this little Toyota Corolla, big things had to be put into this small package, and the result is amazing.

Nick Hillman bought this 1983 Toyota Carolla station wagon for only $100 after finding the car only a mile from his house. This is actually the second Toyota project that Nick has owned. The first one he purchased got out of hand and unfortunatly had to be shelved. He did learn a lot from the first project, which helped him out on the new one. Nick has owned the current car for three years. It only took him a year to build it with a naturally aspirated 6.0-liter. He drove the car for two years before pulling it back apart for the turbo build.

Nick started with an iron Lq4 engine and retained the stock crank, pistons, and rods. For the valve train, he upgraded to a trunnion bearing kit. An LS6 intake manifold was used along with a Comp Cams custom ground camshaft. Nick chose a VS Racing 75/75 turbocharger with a VS Racing wastegate and blowoff valve for added performance. The hot and cold side piping of the turbo system is all custom, which Nick did himself. Go Fast Bits Gforce boost controller handles the boost levels while KK Performance takes care of the tuning. The Toyota ingests massive amounts of E85 from the Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump and Snake Eater 1,500cc injectors. Currently, the Carolla makes 509 horsepower on pump gas at 10psi and 725 horsepower on E85 at 15.5psi with the stock ECM and a reworked factory harness.

The little Carolla doesn’t have an intercooler or much of an exhaust system. Currently, a single piece of mandrel-bent exhaust tubing that was purchased at the parts store is all that is used to get the exhaust gasses out of the engine compartment and under the car.

For the drive train, a Tick Performance T56 was used with an MGW shifter and a Monster single disc clutch. A Ford 8.8 rear end was narrowed 3.5-inches to fit under the body. It is equipped with a set of 4.10 gears, factory Ford Trac-loc, and a custom dual rear caliper brakes.

The rear end is attached to Toyota rear leaf springs and Toyota style shocks. All of the front suspension if from a Nissan 240SX (S-13), which had to be narrowed to fit the car. The factory 4-lug hubs were swapped out with an Enjuku 5-lug conversion. The conversion allowed the use of the Weld S77 Wheels with17x6s in the front and 15x8s in the rear.
Nick is running Yokohama front tires and Mickey Thompson 275/50/15 ET-Street R’s in the rear. Of course, the car needed the proper stance, and a set of CX Racing coil-overs were adapted to get the car down.

Even though Nick works in the paint and body industry, he has no intention of painting it. The goal for the car was to be functional, not pretty. His favorite thing about the little Toyota is that no matter where he goes, the Carolla gets attention because it’s different.

Future plans for Toyota include a water-to-air intercooler and a roll cage for safety, as well as adding some rigidity to the chassis.

About the author

Brian Havins

A gearhead for life, Brian is obsessed with all things fast. Banging gears, turning wrenches, and praying while spraying are just a few of his favorite things.
Read My Articles

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