Random Snap>> Daijiro Inada’s 1973 Celica Project

Last night, I received a phone call from fellow Speedhunter Calvin Wan, who apparently was in town to drop off his FD3S RX7 to be transported to the Formula D event in Panama. He asked me if I would go to Garage Boso with him, where he needed to unload his SUV-full of CE28 wheels and Falken tires (seriously, it was packed to the roof! Wheels and tires and Apex exhaust on top of the clean leather interior…) to mount and balance them.

While we were at Garage Boso snooping around and talking with the shop co-owner, Frank Siharath, I was told there was a car in the corner that I might be interested in. Frank pointed out this 1973 Toyota Celica RA21. Apparently, Video Option founder Daijiro Inada found this Celica for sale in the USA and asked the talented owners for Garage Boso, Frank and Ross, to build it up for him.

Inada wants a cross platform, modern engine swap, which is something I'm definitely not a fan of when it comes to original condition Vintage Toyotas… however, Daijiro Inada hangs out with people like Okachan from Yashio Factory and Smokey Nagata from Top Secret… so you can tell what his influences are. Me personally, I'm not a fan of swapping out vintage Toyota engines in favor of modern engine swaps from non-Toyotas… and I certainly am not a fan of putting modern, non-period correct wheels on old cars. I just hate seeing 17 inch wheels with rubber band tires on old Japanese cars. However, some people actually like this stuff, and my tastes aren't always in line with everyone else's. (They should listen to me more! hehe jk)

This is a possible good feature story for some of our friends at the print magazines? Print mags, there's so much good stuff to feature at Garage Boso! I would get on it if I were you! Or maybe I'll just have to shoot them and sell the pics to you! haha…

-Antonio Alvendia



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looks like an SR20 is already in it.


Would you guys please make a desktop for this? That would be awesome. Love the site!


Crazy! Brian, you know what's up! Good eye, I agree.

I also agree, I don't like those new wheels on old cars.


GODAMNED GOOD EYE BRIAN W!!! he is correct.


What about a 4age into that thing. Sort of a semi-vintage plant...;)


Not to sound like a purist or anything, but I have to agree with Antonio on this one.

This Celica is a classic and shouldnt have a SR20 in it, maybe somethin' like a 2T-G

or somethin else from the T family engines,would be more pleasing to the eye to us

old school Toyota fans, or hell maybe even a 4AG. It could be worst, it could have 17s

on it.


Yea, not a fan of foreign engines in Toyota's. I can understand why people put awesome 1/2JZ engines in whatever though.


I think if someone just HAD to put a newer engine in a classic Celica... how about a 2ZZGE from a ZZT231 FWD Celica? That thing will be almost like putting an S2000 engine in the car, since the Celica is so light. Plus, it comes from a CELICA!

Oh what a feeling... TOYOTA.



that 2zz comes in a matrix too, hahahha.

just thought i'd point that out bro!


18RG’s are an ideal swap, which are 2.0L DOHC 8 valve Yamaha Hemi head, but Toyota stopped making parts for it. If you want a newer engine with lots of parts, then specs close to the 18RG would be nice. A popular swap in NorCal is F20C. A few guys run SR20DET. If I’m not mistaken, a Celica LB w SR20DET competed in D1 last year. Keeping it Toyota you could use 4AG, 20 valve 4AG or BEAMS 3SG. I prefer a period correct engine, but it’s tough when you can’t get OEM parts.


Keep it old school! More RA's please.. swapped or not.


Something about those cars... they just need carbs. A carb'd 4age would be a really nice swap. It'd be kind of like putting a period race motor in except that you'd have a (semi) relable motor that runs on 91oct.


Or just build the 20R (?) that's in there for a car with some real cred.


i have a RA21 same exact year infact as inadas car. there has been every engine swap imaginable done to these cars from 2jz,f20c,sr20,4age,american V8s, etc. it all really depends on what you want. what comes stock in the 73 is called a 18rc 2.0 litre SOHC 8valve.my car still has one in it. not much power at all but still makes me smile. if you wana keep it oldskool and correct for the car then there are 3 engines you should look at 2tg,18rg, and the 20r/22r hybrid when wanting a swap. the 18rg is usually the engine of choice when wanting to do a oldskool swap. it uses the same block as the 18rc and bolts up directly to the celicas with the. The 18rg is a 8 valve 2.0 litre twin cam engine and never was officialy available in the USA. The 2tg is what came in a lot of the celicas in japan esepcially the TA22 which is almost the same exact car as the RA21 just right hand drive and having a T series engine not a R series. The 2tg is a 8 valve 1.6 lite engine. The 20r/22r/ hybrid swap is a also very popular due to the engine was available in the USA so it is very easy to find parts for the engine compared to the 2tg or the 18rg. The hrbid engine uses the block from a 22r engine 2.4 litres SOHC and the head off of a 20r engine 2.2 litre SOHC. The benefit of using the 20r head is that is is a cross flow head design rather than the 22r head. The 20r head bolts onto 22r block without much modifications. You will need a 22r block the is Pre 1985 because the block design was changed that year. If you want to know more bout oldskool celicas join 1stgencelica.com its a great place for info on the cars and to get parts from


EXACTLY!!!!!!!! Thank you for posting that up Zulu! Great information. You obviously know your stuff! Hey if you know anyone interested, I have a complete 2TG Yamaha engine for sale... it's not assembled, but it has everything. Ported/polished head, normal cams, camgears, block, pistons, etc. I have a TRD clutch for it and a bunch of other parts too. Actually I should dig my engine crates out of storage and take pics of it, I've been keeping it for spares for almost 10 years but never put it together because my early 2TG with TRD internals is still strong.

I really like the big growl of twin carbs, with the rattle of a built engine shaking an old Toyota. Man just thinking about it makes me miss driving my mango. I wish the rain would stop already so I could take it out for a midnight drive! Props to people who put in time and effort to find the rare engine parts. Putting an American V8 in a rare classic Toyota is blasphemy. 350s are great, but keep them in the Camaros. I say, keep it TOYOTA.


Used to have a '77 RA28 myself. Wish I had a place to store that rusted old Celica, and maybe fix it up some day insted of getting rid of it.


thanx for the compliments antonio! coming from you i means alot man. You can post the engine up on a celica forum i go to alot 1stgencelica.com i bet alots people would be interested in it. also maybe toyota3tc.com theres a bunch of T series guys over there mostly corollas though. yeah nothing feels like a carb oldskool toyota engine uner the hood of your car. if i had the cash id take you up on the offer of that 2tg. it sounds like a great engine! I took my celica out for a nice freeway drive today. I was crusing at 70mph in 5th gear no problems at all. i even saw a 510 with a roll cage while cruising. we looked over at each other and gave each other a thumbs up. yeah man once the weather in socal is sunny you should take the mango out.


Zulu: that the beauty of drive a old school tin. I miss that the most about my old corona mark2


I own a TA23 Celica. Down here in OZ alot of us are going for the 4AGE engine conversion, although theres a couple kicking around with 1G-GTEs. But I agree with the non-marque engine conversions, putting something like an SR20 into it would be ridiculous! Thats my 2 cents.....


I'd put an LS1 in anything!


A friend used to have a Sentra SER with stock n/a SR20 and that engine was fun, responsive, and loved to rev to 7.5K. I used to daily drive an ’85 Celica with 22RE and that engine had nice torque and was +200K miles reliable… never let me down. But for my RA21 Celica, I choose 20valve 4AG.


if its a new engine that has to be put in it... a BEAMS 3SGE would be the perfect fit