Phantom Magic: Bye-Bye V12, Hello 2JZ
Saturday Night In Akiba

Welcome to Japan, a country where reality often doesn’t seem well, real. This is a place where the future has already arrived, yet old backwards traditions are impossible to abandon. There is so much that confuses, from cat and owl cafes to capsule and manga hotels. And nowhere does being a gaijin feel more alien than in Akihabara where you can indulge in a selection of maid cafes, pay for cuddles, or walk around sporting your newest blue cosplay wig.

It’s weird, wonderful and a tad scary all rolled into one, and it was on the main Showa-dori avenue that I sat waiting at 10:00pm on Saturday night.


To say I felt a bit out of place is an understatement. To my left, anime and computer otaku walked past on the sidewalk talking about their latest processor upgrades and discussing which idol girl band has got the freshest dance moves. To my right, tourists dressed up in outfits from Super Mario buzzed around in road-legal karts.


It was all entertaining, as were the groups of itasha that passed by every once in a while, but it wasn’t any of this I was interested in. I was there for a meeting I had set up on Twitter with a user that days prior had posted pictures of a very unique Rolls-Royce Phantom.


As is the nature of social media, these pictures spread quickly. Given what this owner had appeared to have done to his car, I needed to witness it in person.


We all have predetermined ideas of what different car brands stand for and there can often be some debates on this. But when it comes to Rolls-Royce, the general consensus is the same: they’re the most luxury-oriented carmaker out there. Many have come and tried, but no other company has matched the concoction of class and opulence that this auto manufacturer from Goodwood has built a world-class reputation on.


Except the particular Phantom I was waiting for is a tad different from the Rolls-Royce norm.


Not that you would be able to tell from the looks of the car alone. Well, maybe the rubber canards give something away?


As the owner pulled up by the side of the road with his towering limousine, there was nothing else to hint at the fact that this is quite possibly the most unique Phantom in existence.


Forget your infinite customizable options from the factory – even if you dumped the value of the car itself into bespoke trims and gold plating you wouldn’t even get close to what makes this car so different.

The Spirit Of …. 2JZ!

So the story goes like this: The owner picks up the car brand new in 2008; he loves it so much that he spends the next nine years driving the hell out of it, using it every day and making full use of that massive rear space to transport his friends in pure luxury. The BMW N73 6.75-liter naturally aspirated V12 that glides the Phantom along is near silent in operation and offers ample torque to push all 2.6 tons of the stately home on wheels along, 531lb-ft (720Nm) of the twisting force to be precise, with power topping out at 453hp. But then at the 190,000km (118,000mi) mark the engine gives up good and proper. With Rolls-Royce Japan quoting our good friend a two-year wait for a replacement motor, he proceeds to “sort the problem out himself”.


And that is how we arrive at this – a turbocharged and supercharged Toyota 2JZ-GTE powering the massive British automobile. Yes, really.

Being based in Japan I honestly thought I’d see pretty much every engine swap possible, but this is next level. And the beauty is that it all came to be out of necessity rather than a publicity stunt from a tuner. The owner simply wanted to continue driving his Phantom and has done so with an engine combination that’s worked out rather well.


As I just mentioned, the inline-six is twin charged, so on top of the Trust T78 mounted high on a GReddy exhaust manifold there’s also an HKS GT8555 supercharger kit in play. You know, so that there’s a worthy low RPM torque curve there to help propel the big Roller off the line.

The swap was handled by J&K Power in Chiba who are specialists when it comes to 2JZs. To ensure that the motor was up to the task, they threw oversized HKS forged pistons into the equation and to take care of cooling there’s an HPI Evolve radiator and Lexus RC F expansion tank.


Then everything was plumbed up, which thanks to the elevated position of the motor within the engine bay and the massive space behind the grille meant intercooler piping could be kept short and straight.


It’s a pretty stealthy setup unless you know what you are looking for.


A custom fuel system supports the current 1.6bar (23.5psi) of boost the T78 is delivering, but that’s just the low setting. The swap was just completed so it’s still being run in and currently outputting around 600hp, but once final tuning of the HKS F-CON V Pro is complete and 2.0bar (29.4psi) is dialed in, 900hp should be possible.


Of course, you couldn’t possibly rely on Rolls-Royce’s signature air suspension to deal with pretty much double the power the car came with from stock. Aside from the fact that the factory system has reliability issues, something a little bit more aligned with the new demeanour of the car was needed.


And that’s where adjustable Öhlins dampers, custom built to take into account the somewhat unique job they have to do, come in.


The owner was so cool he showed me all the features of the car, including the iconic umbrella that ejects from the rear suicide doors to keep sir and madam dry when exiting the car in the rain.


Shut the hood and it all goes back to looking like a regular Phantom.

That Engine Note

I’ve photographed a few Rolls-Royces in the past, but shooting a full feature on a Phantom was a first for me. I just couldn’t get my head around just how majestically massive this model is. It was almost to the point of being awkward to position and shoot, as it barely fit in through the back streets that line the Akihabara neighbourhood.


And the engine note just made me laugh: close your eyes and you picture a fully-tuned Supra sitting there in front of you; open your eyes and there’s a big Roller. Mind blown every time.

I made a quick video of the car as pictures alone could never relay the awesomeness of this Frankenstein creation. And yes, I even got to sit in the back and be chauffeured around.


I was actually pretty impressed with how smooth and torquey the car felt, but more amazed by how the loud and very JDM tuner car like burble at idle all but disappeared once the doors were closed. These things pack some pretty serious sound deadening.


As you’d expect with a car that’s approaching 200,000km, the interior is showing its age, but aside from the usual wear and tear and the occasional scuff, the build quality is evident.


Now I’ve seen it all – a Rolls-Royce Phantom with a Defi boost gauge and an Advance ZD multi display meter. Both are there to help keep an eye on the vitals of the Toyota motor, but just look so out of place that they’re bordering on comical.


I’ve never seen a Japanese navigation system where anime characters randomly pop up on the display, but seeing the area of Tokyo we were in, I didn’t think it was strange. That’s when you know you’ve been in Japan too long.


The original cup holder console provided a perfect place to locate the Aristo automatic shifter, and it would almost look factory if it wasn’t for the plastic Toyota surround.


I’d like to say that the toggle switch on the side of the shift knob arms a nitrous system, but it’s actually there to activate and deactivate the 4-speed’s overdrive.

This is one car I won’t be forgetting in a while, and it certainly won’t be the last time we see it.


I’ve already made sure the owner contacts me again when the run-in period on the 2JZ is done and the boost can be turned up. Because I have to experience a full launch in a Phantom at 2.0bar boost. Then I’ll be a happy man!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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At first I was like "y tho" but now I'm like HOLY SHIT THATS BADASS. SACRILIGEOUSLY BADASS!


LMAO Amazing and Hilarious ..... Would it be classified as a Sleeper ?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

The king of.... lol


uh, yeah, of course, awesome. I wonder how many parts they had to overnight from the UK?

Dino Dalle Carbonare



I should of said it in my Jesse voice


I want to hate the car. But it makes me smile a lot in its brilliance. Imagine it as your race car tow rig...!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

If so a diesel swap would suit better. Cummins diesel with compound turbo set up maybe? lol


Where's a 20B twin turbo when you need one !

Dino Dalle Carbonare

2,600 kg. Need. Torque. Stat


Thank the Lord!!! It's not an LS.

Dino Dalle Carbonare



I wonder why he didn't go with the Toyota V12

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Because a 4cylinder makes more power than that thing lol


Need that Top Secret built Supra Century V12


lol I have never thought of that

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That would be a far better version of that engine!


this is really the icing on the cake. Very very nice and unique build !


Wow...I certainly wasn't expecting something like THIS to be on here. Without a doubt, this has got to be one of the weirdest (and coolest) car builds I've ever seen on this site.
This kind of stuff is what makes car culture so fascinating. Builds like this are so unusual that sometimes you have to do a double take to believe what you're seeing. More stuff like this, please!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

We are always searching! :)


99degree water temp reading on ZD?hahaha..

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yup. Ever been to Tokyo on an August night? lol


Heil JDM!

Matthew Everingham

You think you've seen it all, and then some crazy MoFo comes along and builds this! Amazing!


Great Post LOL! In this case maybe a more quiet exhaust with a very low note would make sense.


Now, manual it.

Keaton Belliston

This is one of the few builds where I will accept that an automatic tranny is perfectly fine. This is luxury at its finest!!!


Just for the lols. Imagine shifting in a rr phantom.

Im sure he has enuf funds for both gbox to be swapd anytime.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hill starts would be comical as you'll have to balance them with the electronic e-brake. Clutch discs would need changing rather often lol


Lot of european cars have automatic e-brake with a manual gearbox. Hill starts are pretty easy And it doesnt wear out the clutch any faster.


Very interesting set up to say the least. But all things considered I like it. I wouldn't have waited 2 years for an engine either. And it still has all the luxury amenities win in my book.


If this is the one with the hub caps that stay level even when the car is in motion, I'd like to see them covered over with some form of "2JZ" type logo in the same style of font.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Toyota logo would confuse the crap out of people

Zubair Siddiqui

This will be the most reliable Rolls ever! No 2jz motor dying @ 190,000km.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Very true!


The old adage remains true, then. When life gives you lemons, 2JZ swap.

I'm normally against swapping something like this, but "Engine's gone, need to keep driving" as a swap motivation means pretty much anything is allowed, and he made a terrific choice. I don't know much about your friend, the owner, but I do know that if I were in his shoes I probably would have done the exact same thing. Maybe JZ, maybe RB, but definitely not a two year wait for a bmw replacement. Hats off

Now I just need my old 22R to fail so I can throw a blown 350 in my Hilux


:D :D :D
I can't help but laugh !

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

While the 2JZ may be the focal point here, you gotta respect how the owner dailies his Rolls like any other car.

Dino Dalle Carbonare



Swap all the cars! Great feature. Could you start to include a picture of the owner for future articles like in this one? The person behind the car is always important

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Harder said than done in Japan at least. I come across so many owners that aren't too keen to show their faces.


Why's that? That's interesting


The only way I can get through my workday is by checking Speedhunters first thing in the morning and seeing crazy features like this. Props to everyone in this article. The owner for driving it everyday and insisting that he wasn't going to wait to keep driving it, the shop that built this beautiful monster and to Speedhunters for bringing it to my eyeballs this morning.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

We aim to please. Glad to hear you enjoyed it :)


at first i was like "EHHHH........ ????" for a moment i thought it was a downgrade performance but it turns out.... 600HP.... "EHHHHH......? *again*. what an awesome twist Dino i like you article and picture

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Definitely an upgrade of numbers! Thanks!


Does the owner have an Instagram account? This is one of the coolest cars I've seen in a while and I'd love to follow him.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

No only twitter


Lol that is comical. Why not go for a bmw engine??


Lol ... because JAPAN !!!


It's the perfect idea tbh


I dig quirky swaps like this. The automatic shifter looks so hilariously out of place


Unique choice of engine to repower the Roller but has to make it something quite formidable..fuel economy, reliability, serviceability, parts availability and torque and power out puts can chosen relative to the owners and his pocket and requirement..would be a lighter car too and certainly worth at least what is was with original engine and transmission..
Well done and please keep us posted when the setup is dialed in with top speeds and quarter mile times..


Two years for an engine change!? That is some sh*t customer service. And modern BMW engines reliability... a blown at 190 000 km!? That is also some sh*t engineering.

However here we see an absolutely wonderful engine swap! Really like the idea, and execution!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Maybe a carbon build up issue? My friend's old E92 blew the engine at 8,000 km as he was only using it at low rpm in the city. It got changed under warranty but he told them to keep the car and got an E63 instead


So the guy chop half of the cylinder bank and gain twice the power . *Kneeling and Praise *


Will be fuel hungry 24/7


It can't get too much, if any, worse gas miles than the original.

Dino Dalle Carbonare



It's pretty much everything to love about Japanese car culture rolled up in one car. Zero fucks given. Brilliant.

Dino Dalle Carbonare


Steffan Bluemax Lai Leung

Sweet article, the icing on the cake would've been hearing the twin charged beast sing the song of it's people.


The phrase 'now I've seen everything' is chucked around all the time, and its a terrible phrase, because its not possible... This thing though... I dont need to see everything now because this is enough. My appetite for weirdness is sated forever


Now, lets do a Supra with a RR engine, shall we?


Don't forget that 2JZ is actually a Toyota's power plant for somehow luxury vehicles like Mark 2 and Aristo.


Never thought I'd see a 2Jz look small!!! You'd think it was a 4cyl by the size of that engine bay.


2jz? No shit

All kidding aside, do all of the accessories work? I can imagine the wiring nightmare. How to get the rear champagne fridge to still chill the bubbly with the transplant is making me wonder.

I thinking that this idea but LS power would be equally amazing, not taking anything away from this build.


I never thought I'd ever see a 2JZ swapped Phantom, but here we are and my god, it looks so clean and hella cool, I need to see another sleeper like this soon!