Last week I brought you a story on Nicke Kurki‘s very cool 1970 Toyota Crown MS55. In that piece I spoke about how Nicke, who lives in Sweden, went through a number of makes and models in a quest to find the right base for this ultimate street car project – of which he ended up with two.
I also talked about how resisting the Volvo urge was futile. Nicke’s 2JZ-swapped Crown looks like an old Volvo, and as you’re about to see, his ’77 Toyota Celica has the heart of one.
The Celica was a very spontaneous purchase, but not in the normal sense. Nicke was on holiday in Spain when the Toyota came up for sale in Sweden, so after getting the deal online, he promptly convinced his father to pick it up for him. Mr. Kurki wasn’t going to be able to drive the old Celica home though; at this point it was more shell than complete car.
As I alluded to at the beginning, Nicke has owned a number of cars, and one of those was a Toyota KE70 powered by a fully-built BMW V8. When he sold that car, part of the deal included an engine for the Celica.
Don’t let the Toyota badge fool you, that’s a Volvo B5254T4 engine, as originally fitted to the 2004-2007 S60R and V70R. The 2.5L straight-five with dual VVT was turbocharged in factory form, but Nicke’s taken his engine a whole lot further with a full stud kit, Volvo 850 ported head, 850 GLT cams, a ball-bearing Garrett GT3586R, 1,000c injectors and VEMS engine management. All those upgrades result in an engine package good for 490whp and 568Nm.
Seeing the Celica rocket through the countryside was a sight to behold. Then there’s the amazing sound, thanks in part to the custom 3.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system.
Although the B5254T4 isn’t physically-huge, getting the new drivetrain into the Celica wasn’t a walk in the park. Custom motor mounts were required for the engine, and a custom transmission tunnel had to be constructed to accomodate the BMW E46 GS539DZ 6-speed gearbox that backs it up. Also in the mix is a Sachs 765 clutch and a Volvo 240 Turbo 1031 (aka Dana 30) rear end.
When it came to the exterior, a whole new front end was required before Nicke could even get to work on making the car his own. The subsequent modifications extend to 90mm wide over-fenders at each corner, a front duckbill, TRD-inspired rear ducktail and modern headlight units. Bringing the chassis closer to the ground is a Ksport air ride system.
Finishing things off outside is custom ‘Liquid Purple’ paint, an unlikely match for the mint-coloured Work Meister CR01s, but one that actually works rather well. The Meisters measure 15×9-inch up front and 15×10-inch at the rear, all wrapped up in Toyo Proxes R888 rubber. For brakes, Nicke has gone with a Nissan S13 front setup and a Volvo 240 rear.
The interior has seen a number of upgrades from its late-’70s spec, including EP3 Honda Civic Type R seats (the only modern sport-type recliners Nicke could find to accomodate his height) plus a carbon fiber-enhanced dash with aftermarket gauges.
Although both of Nicke’s Toyotas have plenty of power, they’re very different machines with individual qualities (and quirks).
We have a term in Sweden, glassätarbil, which loosely translates to ‘ice cream car’. This means that you take your pride and joy out for a nice drive and get ice cream. Celica or Crown, I’m sure that’s what Nicke will be doing over the Swedish summer ahead.