Project Crown Gets A Donor Car (Or Not?)

Become an engine donor

Greetings all. I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve updated the progress on my 1969 Toyota Crown Station Wagon project and that’s because, well, there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress. Aside from pulling out the disassembled stock motor and stripping out the interior I haven’t really had the time to do much to this car.

Project-Crown-Wagon-4613

Of course I knew when I bought the Crown that progress wouldn’t come fast or easily as the aftermarket for this sucker is pretty much non-existent. On the same hand, it’s also that obscurity that drew me to the car in the first place.

Project-Crown-Vol-2-4724

I have though spent a lot of time thinking and scheming about what I’d like to do with the car. Before I can do anything else, the main challenge is to find an engine to replace the half-complete 4M inline six set-up that came with the car when I bought it.

Project-Crown-Wagon-4637

There’s a world of possibilities here of course – and everything from LSX crate motor to ITB-equipped 3SGE or a smooth 1JZ have crossed my mind. With enough money or fabrication talent anything is possible – unfortunately I’m not a guy that has a ton of either, so part of the challenge is finding something that is doable with my modest budget and wrenching skills.

Project-Crown-Vol-2-4747

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of my spare time researching possible engine options and browsing classified ads and online auctions for possible candidates. I’ve also been keeping an eye out in the listings for complete donor vehicles that could provide running gear for the Crown. This is where the story gets interesting.

Celica-Supra-3 copy

Early last week I was browsing the local Craigslist listings as I do way too often and I saw an ad for an interesting car. It’s a 1982 Toyota Celica Supra, supposedly in good running order and priced significantly lower than any of the engines I’d been looking at. I gave the guy a call and went to take a look.

Celica-Supra-8 copy

What I found was a car that’s pretty much exactly as it was advertised. A strong running vehicle that’s in need of some cosmetic help. Of course the cosmetic issues weren’t a big issue to me as I was mainly looking at the running gear.

Celica-Supra-16 copy

The second generation Supra is powered by Toyota’s 5M-GE DOHC straight six, and while the aging 5M generally isn’t considered a go-to choice for engine swaps, it does come from the same family as the Crown’s original engine, meaning that installation should be relatively straightforward.

Celica-Supra-18 copy

So while the 5M is no powerhouse,  it would still be a substantial upgrade over the old 4M. The biggest challenge with this swap would be the transmission as the Supra is a five-speed manual while the Crown is an automatic.

Celica-Supra-4 copy

With these plans in my head, I took the old Supra for a test drive and found that despite its age and cosmetic shape, it’s a very strong-running car. In fact, the guy had been using it as his daily driver.

Celica-Supra copy

We started talking prices, and amazingly the seller offered the car for quite a bit less than the already reasonable asking price. Once I found out that it’s currently registered and has just passed California’s smog test, I couldn’t resist. At this point I became the new owner of a Toyota 5M-GE engine that happens to come with a 1982 Celica Supra.

Too cool to junk?

Celica-Supra-13 copy

But before I even got the car home, my mind started to run riot. I took the smooth six cylinder through the gears and remembered all the things that make 1980s Toyotas so great – even if the car’s front struts were blown and the interior was falling apart around me.

Celica-Supra-7 copy

What I also like about the car is that it’s the less commonly-seen Supra L-Type which left off the fender flares of the P-Type Supra for a look that was essentially an American version of the Japanese market Celica XX. Also, it gets extra points for not having a rusty, leaky sunroof.

Celica-Supra-6 copy

Next up I did something I probably shouldn’t have done. I went through my magazine collection and photo archive looking for images of cool looking Celica XXs from Japan. I also made the mistake of looking to see how easy it was to swap a 1JZ or 2JZ into one of these things. Uh oh. Did I just buy a much-needed drivetrain for Project Crown, or did I acquire another project that I certainly don’t need right now.

Celica-Supra-12 copy

If I were to keep the car, there are some things that would definitely need to be addressed. There’s the aforementioned bouncy front suspension, the 30+ year old paint job that’s just about fallen off and an interior that’s, for lack of a better term. pretty damn nasty.

Celica-Supra-11 copy

That poor dashboard. While we might not have to deal with big rust issues here in California, sights like the one above are all too common out here.

Celica-Supra-2 copy

There are also some very good things about the car. As I said a moment ago, it runs surprisingly well and aside from the paint, the body is very straight and rust free. If I wanted to, I could probably put a bit of money into it and have a fun old car to bum around town in.

Project-Crown-Wagon-4610

The practical side of me (cough – wife – cough) says I should stick with my original plan. Pull out the motor, put in the Crown and then sell or junk the Supra chassis for whatever I can get. I do know the Crown is long overdue for some progress.

Celica-Supra-5 copy

But at the same, I’ve really grown to like this old Supra and I don’t really want to see an easily saveable vintage Toyota taken off the street. And don’t get me started about how cool this thing could be with some work.

At the moment I’m pretty up in the air about what I’m going to do here. So I ask you, the loyal Speedhunters reader, what would you do if you were in my shoes?


Tags: , , ,



225 comments
Token Blk Guy
Token Blk Guy

Mike Don't get rid of the Supra.. these cars are Classics and they are dying off... I have had mine for 13 years and its finally coming together.... JDM 2jz, single turbo and massive amounts of goodies are being thrown in it now. Hopefully you'll get to see it this summer when its done.. Ill be at Toyota Fest and JCCS. among other Northern Cali Meets...


here is my baby in the early stages sitting on Wats fresh off the boat from Japan...


http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m282/TokenBlkGuy1/Supra%20Suspension%20Install/IMG_2497_zps24486ee1.jpg


Evan


Guy from NZ
Guy from NZ

Hey Mike, shuffle the motors around as you wish but whatever you do, don't scrap the Celica.  i too have similar first world problems, i have a 66 crown MS41, that i bought and i was going to fit my 1JZ-GTE VVTi but i might fit a V8 instead because of the front sump of the 1J and the cross member that looks the same as yours (rear sump). The 1J is out of my JZX100 that im fitting a twin turbo 1GZ V12 into. just be thankful these are our only problems.....

BrianMorgan1
BrianMorgan1

I like the idea of a better old engine in the very old crown, It gives it a bit of a vintage tuner theme. Sometimes those old motors just sound better as well. The crown is a better build for a less speed oreinted theme. Supra for ridicolous track drifting and drag racing.

mrBlonde
mrBlonde

Unusual car requires an unusual engine. I am still thinking Toyota, but something a bit more interesting then a 1j or 2j or a 1UZ.

have a look at the 1G series of straight sixes, NA, turbo, twin turbo or supercharged from factory. Some of these were fitted to JDM first gen Altezza's with a six speed manual. Or how about a 1FZ-FE straight-six? This is a 4.5-litre DOHC, 24-valve job as used in the Landcruiser.

Then there are a huge range of Toyota V6 engines as fitted to Camry, Previa, many 4x4's, some with superchargers.

Or if you REALLY want to go crazy, find a 1GZ-FE, this V12 engine displaces 5.0-litres (the largest capacity engine produced by Toyota) and uses DOHC, 4-valve-per-cylinder, VVT-I variable inlet cam timing. This beast generates the Japanese regulation 206kW (yeah right) together with a massive 481Nm. Stick one of these in your wagon and you are guaranteed a grin from ear to ear every time you put your foot down.


HachiRocker
HachiRocker

@Mike Garrett 

Definitely keep the Supra! But, in my opinion, you shouldn't put a 2JZ in it. Here's why: 2JZs are EVERYWHERE. They're the the Chevy 350 of Japan. I've seen them swapped into anything you can think of. I recommend a 4A-GZE, or, if you're feeling really adventurous, a 13B. "Why a 13B?" you might ask. Because it would be a great challenge! XD

BenoitBeyaert
BenoitBeyaert

Keep THIS SUPRA dud! These cars become more and more rare...

Crankbear
Crankbear

Keep them both.  If that's too much for your "practical side" then you'll probably end up sleeping in the back of the Crown wagon for an extended period.  Which will give you plenty of alone time to work out the right way to approach the Supra build.

Social D
Social D

@Mike Garrett Keep the Supra!! Like you said, it would be a damned shame to remove an 80's Toyota off the streets. I know you can make the Supra into a daily or fun around-town car much more easily than you could to the Crown. 

WiegerK
WiegerK

keep the supra, keep the crown.

put the supra running gear in the crown, put a 1jz in the supra :P

problem fixed

igrvks
igrvks

Take the 5M out, stash the Supra and do the 2jz swap when it turns into a financially realistic option. I'm telling you, these old Celica Supras will become extremely rare in the foreseeable future and when they do, you will have a shell waiting for you AND the 2jz-gte.

Capn2jz
Capn2jz

Sell the crown build the supra


KeeweeNZ
KeeweeNZ

Junk or sell the crown and do up the supra, the supra is way cooler and will be so much more fun do drive when finished. My 2c anyway.

tenpennyjimmy
tenpennyjimmy

SELL THE GOLF!


Nah just kidding :) I reckon keep the celica and do a gradual, gentle resto-mod around the original engine (+ boost). That way you have a fun daily driver for while you strip out the golf's running gear and transfer into the Crown.

Brume_S
Brume_S

The crown it's too sexy for not return to life. Save the two :). Motor of the supra in the Crown and finish the crown, and after, go find some good stuff to put in the Supra :)

Shiredrifter
Shiredrifter

Rust free Ma61, You lucky Bastard!  In the uk where i live there are under 60 left on the roads!
All they need is some decent Coilovers, and some whiteline adjustable anti roll bars really.  BC racing  MX73 cressida Coilovers swap straight over (Need welding on front )
If this was an AE86 you'd be throwing countless thousands of $$$ at it without any consideration because they are in vogue,  but these are just as fun and more car for the money. Keep it while the values are so low, and rebuild over time. Personally i'd stick the 5M in the Crown and put a 2JZGE in the supra. They don't need 1000hp to be a fun car, and you wont have to uprate everything to cope with the power. The stock lsd Diffs are a bit shit though as they don't have clutch disc's fitted, but Weir performance do a Max grip kit that will take care of that.
Keep the supra, or sell it on, but Don't scrap it! They are much better cars than you think. Hell, a stock 240 sx is bloody terrible to drive until you throw all your money at it. 

bey89
bey89

keep the supra. pull out its running gear and swap it to the crown as planned. when project crown is done, there's always time for the beautiful supra since there no rust.. save both car, wife can drive the supra when it's done. she might love it! ;)

ALX
ALX

Sell the Supre. It's to good to be parted.

datto
datto

scrap the crown




BrandonPetersen
BrandonPetersen

Damn, I wish mine was an L-type sometimes. Sooooo much easier to get an aggressive low stance. On P-types with their huge flares, you gotta go at least 10" wide to get a little poke in the rear.

I am definitely in the "keep the supra" boat. Or if not keep it PLEASE don't scrap it. If it comes down to selling the shell, you can post it on celicasupra.com and I guarantee you someone will want it. But it would definitely be an excellent little project.

You could even build a 6MGE with a 7M block and 5M head and pistons to get a little more power. Drop it on some T3 coilivers, slap some SSR MKII'S on there, and just love it.

evanbull
evanbull

Make a Supra Wagon by cutting them both in half.

TomHoward
TomHoward

Patch up the supra as a short term project and sell it for a profit which can be used to fund a jz swap for the crown? That way the crown gets some lovin and the rare supra gets a happy new owner

450ZX
450ZX

If i was in your shoes right now, i would be thinking about which one might hold more value in a decade or so. But i would then keep them both, which probably doesnt help. I would put the 5M in the Crown and look for a 7MGTE for the supra, should be a pretty simple install in theory. You could dream a little (dreams are free haha) and stick a 1JZ or 2JZ in the supra of course, but a 7M might bolt straight in. 

oldguy
oldguy

Do the crown as planned - pull the engine from the celica. It'll be awesome! If I had the room I'd keep the rolling celica chassis and if time and cash permit in the future I'd do a 1J swap on that one. Who am I to talk though, my "practicle side" won't let me have a project car at the moment at all! lol (no room for 3 cars at our place). Best of luck - I can't wait to see how it (they) looks. Cheers

reginald_reginald
reginald_reginald

Ditch the Ms in both cars. UZ swap for the wagon, along with some wide slot mags and radial T/A's. The Supra needs to have a 2jz under the hood - N/A if you're budgeting or vvti GTE if you can swing 2 impressive builds at the same time - slammed to the framerails on SSR MKII or MKIIIs with a new paint job and a stripped/caged interior. almost nobody has executed a proper Shakotan-inspired build (despite the lame half-ass attempts), and we KNOW that's where your taste lies, Mike. Lloyd's x73 is an excellent example to emulate from a stylistic and functional perspective; simple and clean yet fully capable. despite looking like it rolled out of Daikoku Futo, it sees track abuse and seems to take anything that its owner can throw at it.

Need
Need

Keep the Supra as a daily, look for a Cressida donor for the Crown, and be happy with the choice you decide to make. Make your bed and sleep in it.

kevinf93til
kevinf93til

Fix up the Crown. When you're done dealing with that see how you're feeling about the Supra. Just hold on to it in the mean time.

TyPetersen
TyPetersen

Drop the powertrain in the wagon and get that damn thing underway, and sell off the supra to a kid looking for a rolling chassis for a project

QD
QD

Give the Supra a quick & cheap restoration - mainly get the interior fixed up and give it a respray - and keep it in storage. As they become more rare the value will increase a bit and since you got it for cheap you can turn a healthy profit in a few years time.

An alternative possibility: swap the 5M into the Crown, then get a cheap but decent engine (go for an oddball like a VTEC) into the Supra. Fit some sought-after body-kit and some rare wheels, give it a feature and sell it off at a car show where you know an enthusiast will get it?

Another idea: Keep the 5M for yourself, then see if any local tuning firms want the shell for a demo car or to restore/mod and sell on?

d_rav
d_rav

you'll need space. if it were a mark III turbo then i'd say keep it. time to go frankenstein on your wagon.

Gvk
Gvk

I hope by 'junk' you mean sell it off to someone. PLEASE DO NOT JUNK IT. Donate the engine to the wagon. Then sell off the Supra body to someone which will drop a JZ in it.

1 Owner Car Guy
1 Owner Car Guy

LOL That is a Hard choice...;-) Even a Rustoleum Paint-job would make the Supra cool and a few hundred at the junkyard and the interior etc is almost Golden... But older wagon like that with newer Motor... Too cool..;-) Good luck man.. Cheers Nathan AKA 1 Owner Car Guy http://www.1ownercarguy.com 

lgunnz
lgunnz

@bey89 This is my thought! But throw a 1J into the Supra, you can never have to many projects!

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@oldguy Yeah it would be nice if I had a spot to just keep the Celica parked for a while. I may have to look into that :)

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@reginald_reginald Lots of truth in this statement. I'd love a UZ in the Crown, but from what I've read it's a massive undertaking. Any fabricators want to donate some time??

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@Need Maybe I'll just make my wife drive the Supra?

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@kevinf93til That doesn't sound too bad.

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@d_rav Strangely I actually like the second generation better than third when it comes to Supras.

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@Gvk If there's one thing I've figured out for sure, it's that the Supra won't wind up in the junkyard now. I've been convinced of that :)

Mike Garrett
Mike Garrett moderator

@1 Owner Car Guy Yeah there are always those cheap little things you can do, and often they make a big difference.

reginald_reginald
reginald_reginald

@Mike Garrett @reginald_reginald xcessive manufacturing does a lot of adapters for UZ in x-chassis stuff. keep it auto, even easier to work with. just find a junkyard x7 or x8, grab the engine crossmember (and steering rack, front suspension if you're feeling ballsy) and chop the mounting points off of it, have them welded to the crown member and use the mounts from XM. maybe take the engine overall height into account when you're mounting for hood clearance, but if it fits in an x3, x7 without issue, it should fit under the hood of the crown.


d_rav
d_rav

@Mike Garrett @d_rav i see. well you'll need to put something into the engine bay. if u could source a 5.8L tacoma engine or maybe the straight 4 from a JDM altezza???


OFFICIAL SPEEDHUNTERS SUPPLIERS