It’s no secret that there’s quite an enthusiast following for both Mazda and Toyota, not only because they make reliable vehicles, but also vehicles that are fun to drive and a joy to own.
(Note: The author of this article totally doesn’t own a ’96 Miata and a ’93 Toyota MR2… no bias…right.)
By sharing Mazda and Toyota resources, the groups hope to improve each other’s products and technologies, with end results being more appealing cars for global motorists.
“Toyota is a company that has shown steadfast resolve in acting responsibly on global environmental issues and the future of manufacturing as a whole,” said Mazda President and CEO, Masamichi Kogai. “I also have tremendous respect for Toyota’s dedication in its pursuit of ever-better cars through ongoing innovation.”
According to Kogai, Mazda and Toyota both cherish their roots and all the communities involved in their brands. He hopes that, by working together with Toyota, they can make better cars, raise the value of cars in the eyes of consumer while also improving manufacturing capabilities.
This isn’t the first time that Mazda and Toyota have teamed up, Mazda is currently building Toyotas out of it’s Mexico plant and Toyota has allowed Mazda access to their hybrid technologies.
While the collaboration is sure to help boost the bottom lines of both companies, it’s the end users that will benefit the most by keeping more cars sporty and fun, and ensuring drivers always find joy behind the wheel.
The Rally RAV4 will be driven by Ryan Millen, who took top honors at the 2014 Baja 1000 in a Tundra TRD Pro, with navigator Christina Fate.
“I’ve driven just about everything Toyota has to offer,” said Millen. “And I’ve been very impressed with the RAV4’s tight, compact body and smooth handling. I’m looking forward to putting it through the paces this season.”
Professional competition means that this RAV4 went through a huge rebuild with heavy modifications, along with a considerable diet.
The Rally RAV4 uses the stock transmission and engine – a 2.4L, 4-cylinder, double-overhead cam engine that creates 176HP at 6000 rpms and 172ftlbs of torque at 4100 rpms. However, the crew took out more than 500 pounds of excess (stock) weight to make sure that this car was rally ready. Add to that a roll cage, BFGoodrich all-terrain tires and upgraded TEIN suspension, and you’ve got yourself a rally car.
While the rally upgrades beef it up for off-road capabilities, the RAV4 was originally designed for as a safe and family friendly small-sport utility vehicle (SSUV).
“Over the years, RAV4 has become known more for its benefits as a practical family-vehicle alternative to a larger SUV, and we felt it was due time that its performance and handling characteristics were put on display,” said Alex Du, RAV4 Vehicle Marketing & Communications Manager. “That will undoubtedly be the case with Ryan Millen at the wheel of this incredible Rally RAV4.”
You can see Millen and the Rally RAV4 at upcoming rallies, such as:
- Idaho Rally – June 13-14
- Mendocino Rally – July 18-19
- Rally Utah – August 7-8
- Gorman Ridge Rally – August 22
- Prescott Rally – October 2-3
- Mt Hood Rally – October 17
For more information, please visit www.RallyAmerica.com or www.Toyota.com.
Photos by Robert Isaacs.
This weekend, the annual Seattle Auto Show will highlight almost 500 vehicles from car manufacturers around the globe, along with local auto-centered companies, engaging your gearhead nature and providing great entertainment for your friends or family (or both).
From Subaru, Honda, and more showcasing the latest in sedan, SUV, and Cross-over goodness, to Jeeps’ new Renegade and the Chevrolet Colorado, to high end cars you’ll only (usually) get to see on a showroom floor or on a movie screen, such as a McLaren MP4-12C or the Corvette Stingray.
Check out the many alternative fuel vehicles – from the Nissan Leaf to the Chevrolet Spark to Tesla’s Model S, and more – for the more eco-friendly car enthusiast in the PNW.
For those wanting a more hands on experience, about a dozen manufacturers will be offering free test drives of the latest models. After you’re done looking in and around names like Scion and Toyota, you can head out to the garage and sign up for a free roll around the block – trip comes with free, in-car auto-rep.
When you’re done looking at all the new cars and trying out your select few, head over to Tacoma’s very own LeMay America’s Car Museum exhibit to take a look at the custom rods, classic Fords, and cool cars from across the eras.
The Seattle Auto Show really has something for everyone – if cars isn’t your thing, let your gearhead friend drag you along so you can get your hands on some new Microsoft products at the Xbox One tour car, featuring the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 computers.
Tickets for the Seattle Auto Show are $14 for adults and $11 for seniors over 62, while children under 12 get in for free. E-tickets can be purchased online for easy admittance.
CenturyLink’s doors open for the Seattle Auto Show at:
Thursday from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While the Seattle Auto Show may not have the pomp and circumstance that Paris or New York auto shows may have, it will still get your gearhead heart pumping. Check it out this weekend only at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Note: Some Mazda fans may be disappointed to not see the ND Miata, however, since there’s only one or two in existence currently, it’s hard to blame anyone. The 2016 Miata is a hot commodity! (And by that we mean it looks amazing [in images].) You can still romp around in the roomy and beautiful 2015 Miata and check out the full ZoomZoom-fun Mazda lineup.
I’m no stranger to the wrenchfest, but this past weekend I did things a little different. Normally a wrenchfest happens when someone needs some major help. The person in need normally invites a bunch of “help” over with the promise of pizza, tacos or wings (or all of those things). If everyone shows up and does their part, this gets shit done. Usually. [Read more…]
Static. Meaning fixed ride height. Craig Woodruff’s Scion xB is slammed within a half-inch of its life and he’s thinking about going lower. It’s a daily driven sense of accomplishment bringing recognition and relative safety. But why are we calling it the lowest static xB in Texas? [Read more…]
Dennis is back! Okay. He’s really working hard to get back in the GBXM saddle. You might say he works as many jobs as Craig Sanderson (see page 42, this issue), only they’re all nearly full-time! Despite renovating a house as old as the United States, working full-time at an Opel dealership, AND joining the Dutch National Guard, Dennis has burned a little more midnight oil this month.
What follows is his conversation with Jordan Robinson, a recent Information Systems graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University currently working in the parts department of the local Toyota dealership. Isn’t it cool how we’re all interviewing people on the far side of the planet? [Read more…]
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM
One of the ways we try to differentiate ourselves from all the other automotive outlets is we don’t do advertising. We haven’t worked so hard all these years only to whore ourselves out with tacky ads all over the site. That strategy didn’t work for the newspapers. It isn’t going to work for the digital outlets either. Supply and demand. Diminishing returns. Etc.
Which is why we’re going to be running out third interview with Jeremy Boysen in GBXM #3. In the first installment, he told us about FREE CANDY, the 24 hours of LeMons/Chump Car team he raced with. Next, he introduced his enthusiast-centric performance parts company, JB Autosports. In the March issue of Gearbox Magazine, Jeremy talks about his latest venture, FT86 Speed Factory, what it took to launch this new business, and why it was worth it.
ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE
You can’t be all things to all people. Jeremy and the JBA team quickly found themselves buried in follow up tasks, researching parts for platforms with which they weren’t entirely familiar, keeping up appearances on multiple discussion forums, and constantly updating the website to reflect their multi-platform efforts took its toll. Jeremy told me, “Our name was so new people only cared about price, and on price alone this will never pay the bills. We needed to provide unmistakable value. I knew we had value to provide outside of our awesome customer service but no way to prove it.”
Boysen had been thinking about moving into a niche market for a while – specializing in a single platform – and he started sketching out plans as the arrival of the FRS/BRZ platform approached. When his friend Yo showed up in his own FRS, Jeremy knew what he had to do. He sold his Evo, bought the silver FRS you see here. FT86 Speed Factory was born. And they never looked back.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT
- how they show the world what they know about cars (and can do with them)
- the value of understanding performance theory instead of copying & pasting it
- what this means for JB Autosports
- their latest expansion – ST SpeedWerks
- whether he’ll ever get another Evo
- how they race the FRS/BRZ and what that means for customers
- what racing under their own colors has taught them about sponsorship
- the unique soul and quirks of every car & what they teach you along the way
DON’T MISS ISSUE #3
The full story will be in the March issue of Gearbox Magazine, which due the first week of April. Are you subscribed yet?
It’s free if you subscribe before the end of March.
If someone asked you to name some of the hottest Japanese sports cars of the early 90s, you’d probably come up with a list of the usual suspects, wouldn’t you? Supra, RX-7, 3ooZX, 3000GT, DSM, NSX. I bet Celica Alltrac would only be the first car you named if you were A) a die hard rally fan or B) owned a Celica Alltrac. Enter John Clayton of Prescott, Arizona. He owns such an automotive unicorn and he agreed to tell me a little bit about it; why he bought it, how rare it is, how difficult it is to build, and how he’s overcome some tricky obstacles since he picked it up
INTRODUCTIONS: JOHN CLAYTON
Born and raised right here in Arizona, John lives a little over an hour north of Phoenix in Prescott (pronounced “PRESS-kit” by the way), home of the Prescott Rally, which happens to be where I first spotted his car back in 2011. He’s a blue printer at a body shop, where he disassembles and documents the assemblies. John’s one of those lucky guys who loves his job, but it’s a fine line being a gearhead and working on cars all day – are you really going to want to go home and pop your own hood? In December, John will be graduating with a degree in fire science and hopes to pursue a career in the medical/emergency profession, allowing him to put the automotive stuff squarely in the hobby zone.
INTRODUCTIONS: 1991 TOYOTA CELICA ALLTRAC
John told me the ST185 Celica was released to the public in very limited numbers. From 1990 to 1993, only 2,500 Celica Alltracs were imported to North America, making them one of the rarest of all imports. “I bought the car on New Year’s Day 2007.” John says. “I fell in love with Toyota back in high school when I bought my 1992 Camry. I came to love and appreciate the reliability of their motors and their deep roots in racing, specifically World Rally Championship (WRC) racing. I became enthralled watching videos of the ST165/85/205 group.” The Group B monsters of the mid-80s won him over and he was on the hunt for a monster of his own. After scouting countless vehicle ads online, Clayton found his ST185 Celica on Ebay Motors, located in Mission Viejo, California. A little help from grandpa in the form of a truck and trailer, and he was off to collect his Alltrac.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, DESPITE ITS FLAWS
It was love at first sight, though it’s not like John just bought the car as you see it here today. “There were mismatched and unaligned body panels, the tires were shot, it was dumping every kind of fluid it held, and – to top it all off – the transmission was leaking at the input shaft seal, saturating the clutch. The car was barely movable. Still, with all its flaws, I saw the amazing car it could be,” said John. “It also had a good amount of JDM parts already installed, including the Carlos Sainz hood, front bumper, front corner lights, rear vented tail lights, and mirrors.” Wallet sufficiently lightened, Clayton was the proud owner of his very own homologated rally monster.
A year later, John’s rare Celica was almost back to stock specifications and running like the limited edition, world class sports car it was meant to be. Owning the car inspired Clayton to be even more engulfed in the motorsport history of the Alltrac and he remains a passionate and loyal enthusiast of the Alltrac culture.
“MAKE IT WORK OR FIT” MENTALITY
“Owning this car is a challenge every time I turn around,” John told me. “There is little to no aftermarket support for it. The support I do find is of the super rare and super costly kind. So usually when I find a very cool mod or style that I would like to incorporate into the Celica, I must take on a ‘make it work or fit’ mentality.” He loves all types of cars and styles, and says the diversity of builds out there right now is mind blowing. John takes his queues from a wide variety of platforms, with a road going rally car being the foundation beneath it all. The Alltrac/GT4 does share an engine with MR2 turbo, but otherwise there is practically nothing else common to the car. Fortunately, the MR2 community enjoys relatively robust aftermarket support, making engine tuning and horsepower gains reasonably achievable.
As we were waiting for the class winners at the Prescott Rally to break out the champagne spray, (my service crew duties all but done at that point), I noticed John just standing back, watching people look over his engine bay. Alltracs are rare enough as it is, but the Carlos Sainz versions are practically made of unicorn bits. Yet he still pretty much daily drives this thing! I asked him how he can bear to drive such a mint, exceedingly rare – and increasingly irreplaceable – car on the street.
“The parts I have on the car from the RC model (Carlos Sainz signature package) are becoming super rare and expensive. You can still get online and find the parts, but they are slowly sliding off the market. When you do find an item – be ready to pay. I have seen my front bumper asking price as high as US$2,000. This definitely makes me nervous; every time I drive it, I’m on the look-out for those stupid drivers who couldn’t care less. I will never stop driving it though. I built it to drive it. That’s why it exists. No matter how nice it becomes – or how irreplaceable parts may become – there is nothing I enjoy more than putting the car through its paces on a curvy road.”
WHAT MAKES THE ALLTRAC UNIQUE? WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT?
John says, one of the most unique things about the car is how very rare it is he comes across someone who actually knows what it is.”I always get asked what the car is. And, when I tell them, they still have no idea. If I had to pick a feature I like most about the car, it would be how bullet-proof the driveline and chassis is out of the box. My transmission needs zero mods until you put about 700WHP through it. The components under the car, such as spindles, are all super heavy duty and strong as nails. It really is a rally car that was sold to the public, I love it.”
When asked what’s been the biggest challenge thus far, John tells me one mod comes to mind – a Honda S2000 instrument cluster swap. Fairly common in the Honda world, there’s no shortage of how-tos and write-ups for installing these clusters in non-S2000s, but there weren’t any for a limited edition, homologated Toyota. So why do it?
“My cable-driven, factory speedometer failed. The internal driven gear went MIA so I had to start from scratch. (Make it work or make it fit, after all.) After lots of homework, I found what type of signal the S2K demands and bought a Hall Effect sensor. I mounted the sensor in the scatter shield surrounding my front axle, using the six axle bolts as points. When all was said and done, the cluster is accurate to within 2mph/3.2kph, with all lights functioning such as door and hatch ajar. It also looks right at home in the 91 Celica dash. While this mod has so much support for common cars such as Civics – some even being plug and play – it was a tad bit more challenging for me and the Alltrac.”
ON THE HORIZON
As much as John wants to say his Alltrac is done, he can’t. (Can any of us?) He says, “The car is always evolving and changing. Things I have my eye on for the next steps are seats, brakes, roll cage, and wheels. Eventually the car will see a repaint as well – I’m thinking flat red next – but that’s not 100% decided yet. For seats, I really love Brides. Brakes are going to be from a 98-02 Porsche 911 Turbo, as a member of my home forum has developed custom brackets for these to bolt right up – thank god – as there aren’t many options out there in this department. I’m also very excited to see what wheel companies start offering for the Scion FR-S and the BRZ, as they are both 5×100 [bolt pattern ~bd], same as the Celica. But for now, all of that is in the ‘would be nice to have’ category. I am in no rush to go any further with the car, simply enjoying it as it is.”
When asked what he’s learned about himself in the time he’s owned his Alltrac, John replies, “I’ve learned that I am very persistent and maybe a little obsessive. The passion I have for my car is sometimes overwhelming – even to me – but its not just my car. Maybe I’m a little biased towards it, but I love all things automotive. If it has four wheels and an engine, I’m an enthusiast. I have also learned that my girl Liz (personal photographer as well) is very devoted to me and will put up with just about anything from me, and for that – shes a keeper.”
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?
John’s a regular on alltrac.net, going by CSAlltrac., where he has hundreds, possibly thousands, of pictures of the car through all of its phases over time. He says it’s a very good place with very cool people, both of which are filled with all the information anyone could ever want to know about these cars.
Next time you’re talking Japanese sports cars with your buddies and everyone’s throwing around the usual suspects, make sure you’re the one with the good taste to bring up the Toyota Celica Alltrac. Your worries about rarity are probably justified, but the exclusivity of driving such a clean example as John Clayton’s leaves this author thinking it might just be worth the risk.
“It lives! IT LIVES!” I screamed as I stood over my EV Truck, gigawatts of electrical energy snaking from the engine bay towards the garage ceiling. No, well it wasn’t like that…
For every professional wheelman or sponsored driver you see, there are 10 professional enthusiasts who take their automotive passions just as – if not more – seriously. This is one of the reasons why we started this magazine, but it goes even deeper than that. For every automotive video produced with $6,000 digital video cameras and premium editing software, there are 10 produced with consumer grade point-and-shoots duct taped to the car.
This is what it means to be a gearhead. [Read more…]
Years ago, I built an all motor drag racer, only to discover I wasn’t really into drag racing. It made for a fun, though often shitty daily driver. No power down low, and precious few opportunities to open it up on public roads. Lesson learned? Build the machine to match the way you use it most. John Rood has done just that. He’s built a multi-purpose vehicle that he can take on road trips… across the desert… to race. [Read more…]
500 miles from home, in an arid valley on the outskirts of Death Valley, with only the Joshua Trees and insects to keep me company, I found myself in a different state of mind. It was one of those rare moments of zen. Enlightened, I quickly grabbed the notebook from my backpack and began frantically scribbling the words you’re about to read.
This story is not about “peak oil” or running out of finite resources. It’s about gearheads. EV gearheads are relatively few and far between, but they are growing in numbers by the day. Whether or not we’re going to run out of oil is irrelevant. It should be painfully obvious by now that the price of fuel is only headed one direction – up. Eventually, we’ll reach a point where our thirsty playthings only come out to play on the weekend or for special occasions. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have to buy some US$50,000 EV. We’re gearheads. We can make our own. [Read more…]
A budget rebuild; it’s a thing that either goes completely according to plan, or it doesn’t… So many things need taken care of, and only so much money to spend. Travis got a free car – it was a big plus that it was a very nice looking MKII Corona – and decided to go down the ‘budget rebuild’ road. He did a fine job and got the Corona back on the road after sitting in the woods for years. [Read more…]
Have you ever thought about driving around the world one day? Could it be the ultimate road trip? Here at Gearbox Magazine, we love stories of people doing remarkable things with vehicles. Nick and Joanne Yu bought a used truck in South Africa, then drove it home… all the way to England. We caught up with them between adventures. [Read more…]
Toyota USA recently launched their new timeline Facebook page. They uploaded a lot of pictures, but what is most interesting is that they’ve uploaded many vintage pictures. They’ve made a few errors as well, but overall it’s a very nice move from Toyota USA – and we get to see quite rare (and a few never seen before) pictures!
Marty Sederberg will drink your beer, tell you stupid stories, and pull your chain. And his company, NW Mitsubishi Diesel, promises you won’t find a lower level of service anywhere in the rural area. We love their style. Get to know someone doing engine swaps that you DON’T read about in the glossy magazines. [Read more…]