The BeginningThe Altezza GTR really started off when I bought my daily driver a Lexus IS300, powered by a Supra NA engine. I was always on the lookout for bodykits. Martin Ffrench from Ireland had been working on Carbon Fibre shelled Altezza with a Rotary engine. He was building four Altezza's at the time. Needing extra funds to finish other projects he decided to sell the carbon fibre kit. When I spotted it on Driftworks I got in touch straight away, agreed a price and met up with him and picked up the kit and a 1UZ-FE (Lexus V8 engine).
Base carMy own daily driver the IS300 is absolutely mint, and converting a £7k base car into a track day car seemed like a waste when I could pick up lower spec IS200's a lot cheaper. So I went ahead and found a low mileage IS200 with 67k on the clock, it was pretty fugly green exterior with cream interior, whoever chose those colour options when the car was new really should have gone to Specsavers. The IS200 has what I can only describe as a limp engine compared to the 1G-FE, it's a Straight 6 with around 150bhp. Not anywhere near the power I'm used to running on my cars, and in NA, it would be expensive to modify and tune.
V8 EngineSo with plans of removing the 1GFE engine before I even took delivery of the car, what was going to take it's place? Sticking with Lexus engines for compatibility and discussing it with several tunes I was pointed towards the 1UZ-FE, which to you or me is the Lexus V8 engine used to power the Lexus LS400. Thor Racing provide all the kit necessary to get this engine into the IS200 shell.However with costs of the conversion kit + manual gearbox + shift position conversion it was amounting to almost £2700. The engine was only £350, so paying nine times the amount for the transmission alone didn't seem right. Thor Racing are trying to recoup their development costs in the prices of kits, which I think is the wrong strategy as the cost will turn off a lot of people who would attempt this themselves. It's not a negative reflection on Thor Racing they were extremely helpful, just a little too pricey when there are other options. Furthermore after all that cost with only 250bhp in stock form and similar amounts of torque getting more power out of an NA would require a turbo conversion and that doesn't come cheap. So after much consideration I sold the 1UZ-FE, it's going to be installed into the back of a Porsche. The day the Lexus 1UZ-FE engine went off, the same day my new engine arrived:
R34 GTR Twin Turbo EngineThis engine was sourced by GTBitz from an accident damaged R34 GTR Vspec. Hom, who owns and runs GT Bitz also provided the base IS200 car really cheap. So I couldn't recommend them anymore.With the engine I got ECU, engine wiring loom, Gearbox Wiring loom for an RB25DET. So engine was put on a stand, in the corner of my garage awaiting the existing 1G-FE engine to come out and for it to sit in its place. At the time there was only one company in the world that had installed the RB26 into a Lexus, at the time of writing there are two, and I'll be the third.
Stripping InteriorBodywork needed to be complete first, within hours of the Lexus being pulled up on the drive, We (I mean the Team GTR here, Warren, Rich, myself) had stripped the front bumper, wings, and started ripping out the interior. You wouldn't beleive how much sound deadening, and other stuff that we removed from the car leaving a shell and two front seats (for now). I could of put it all on eBay, but since the condition of the stuff wasn't great I just took it all down to the local recycling center and got rid of it all.
Now with a semi-bare shell it was time to prep the body of the car removing any traces of rust
The front arches and front bumper were by far the simplest part of the install. The bonnet needed underbracing, and the rear arches needed to be cut away.