A Brutal Ford Laser TX3

During my recent spate of Spotlights featuring New Zealand vehicles seen at last month’s ‘V’ 4&Rotary Nationals, I’ve picked a variety of machines in an effort to show some of the different elements of the scene down here in our small island nation, and Carl Robertson’s 1990 Ford Laser TX3 is about as different as it gets.


The Laser TX3 is not a commonly modified car in New Zealand, or really anywhere in fact, but Carl’s Ford is a perfect example of the Kiwi attitude towards the automobile. If it’s got wheels and even the slightest semblance of potential, we’re going to make it look good, handle well and go extremely fast.


The 1.8-litre turbocharged TX3 was the last performance Laser that Ford produced before moving on to the Focus platform, and it’s a car, along with its Mazda counterparts like the 323/Famila (Ford and Mazda were in bed throughout from 1979 all the way through to 2010 and shared various platforms along the way), that has long held Carl’s attention.


This particular car was built by Carl from stock to essentially be a jack of all trades – a show-winning street car that is more than capable of circuit and drag strip duties. The deep candy paint and bodywork alone is impressive stuff, and when it’s sitting on the 17×9-inch BBS LMs, the Laser is one of those cars that you see, take a couple more steps, then stop and turn around for a better look.


Every inch of the car has been considered and is thoroughly well-presented, from the perfect stripped-out and caged interior…


The flocked dash and door cards…


To the nicely-presented fuel system in the boot. If you’re wondering why Carl needs to be running that big Aeromotive A1000 pump, well…


The Laser’s Mazda 1800cc four cylinder BPT engine is very a serious piece of machinery. Running a fully-strengthened bottom end using JE pistons and Belfab rods, combined with a modified BPZ3 variable valve timing head from an NB Mazda MX-5, the motor is super-strong, and gulps down air through four Toyota individual throttle bodies sitting on a custom billet adapter and intake plenum.


The throttles get their fill from a big Master Power turbo hidden underneath this gorgeous custom stainless manifold. On an E85 tune, the setup makes 380 kilowatts at the front wheels – that’s a massive 516hp for a little 1.8-litre four banger.


So what does that equate to on the street? As you can imagine, it means plenty of wheelspin, even with the 12-plate mechanical LSD equipped AE92 Toyota Levin GT-Z gearbox and accompanying Quarter Master twin-plate clutch.


Whip off the BBSs and bolt on a set of 26×10.5-15 Mickey Thompson slicks though, and the Laser hooks up, capable of running high 10-second passes, which it ran a string of at the 4&Rotary drags the day after the show.

Carl’s car is a good representation of yet another thing I love about the scene in New Zealand. No matter how forgotten or how obscure a car might be, you can be almost guaranteed that there’s going to be someone in this country turning one into a brutal, face-melting street machine.

Peter Kelly
Instagram: speedhunters_pedey



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That thing is sweet!


Nice escort,sorry laser.
That is one quick front wheel drive.
Tourque steer??????


It's the TRD Lazer, it will amaze ya! ;)


I hate to be a stickler but the head is from a 2001-2005 NB Miata. I know because I have this motor in my NA Miata.


EvDog Nothing wrong with being a stickler! You're dead right and I actually woke up this morning and thought "did I write NB or NC?" - haha. Have made the change now, thanks for the heads up!


Crazy fucker. I love this build.

Is this the same base car as the european Escort?


This is truly awesome! Well done.


Cot damn, boost and ITB's? Yeehaw.


How did they mate an ae92 tranny to a mazda motor.. adapter plate??


That could be an interesting engine swap for my Mk3 Fiesta RS Turbo....... (divorce papers might follow shortly after though)

Great article, lovely car. Impressive


@Frozenstar No, it's the same as the North American Escort. Which is based on the Mazda Familia/Protegè/323. The European Escort is all Ford.

The Laser had more options available than the US Escort including the turbo model, and even and AWD Turbo version of the TX3. In the US we only got the n/a version of the Mazda BP engine in the top models. The lower models had a European sourced Ford unit.


Oh man, I love this car. I'm ecstatic it got a feature on Speedhunters. I'm likely one of the few people that really appreciates this platform. Just one of those weird unappreciated cars I have an obsession with.


Thanks for the enlightening!




Odd choice but it looks incredibly well executed. If it were just the paint and wheels I don't think I would like it much at all but the careful treatment of the interior and engine work really saves the whole thing in a big way.


Thank you Speedhunters! Peter_Kelly 


pdrift Adapter plate yes, custom axels, toyota CVs.


cool! Do you have a build thread? I'd love to see more pictures of your hard work. This is the first time I've ever been interested in a Ford Lazer (Escort here in the USA). Just curious, if you had to use an adapter plate.. what is the reason you choose an ae92 transmission?


Because the SC version is exceptionally strong. That went many seasons of abuse and has only recently seen a bit of love


Sooo bad ass. Love the work the Aussies are constantly pumping out. Not afraid of taking a different path. Awesome build!! These Ford/Mazda platforms don't get enough love.


Mr Tanuki  Kiwi's - New Zealanders...


A BG chassis on Speedhunters........awesome !


lol what a bizarre car.


That is one quick front wheel drive. 
signature : http://www.jogosdofrivonline.com.br/ | http://www.jogosdofrivonline.com/


Oh. I. Like.


Oh. Ib like


What kind of front bumper is that bro?