The 2JZ Is Dead, Welcome To The Barra Era

The first time I ever heard of a Ford Barra engine was exactly seven years ago when Speedhunters visited a drag shop in Sydney, Australia called GAS Motorsport.

At the time I remember being blown away at seeing a Toyota 2JZ head next to the massive Barra twin cam head, which was a good 15cm longer, and thinking about how much potential the 4.0-liter straight-six motor with its cast iron block had.


Aussies reading this are probably thinking, ‘You plonker, Barras have been around for ages and were just as good when they had a single cam head.’ I guess it’s probably Australia’s best kept secret, or sort of. I mean, a lot of tuners here in Japan have known about the Barra, but as always they have just been far too slow to jump on it and actually try something different. But the Aussies love to experiment, especially when there’s the potential for big horsepower.

Matt, our resident Sydneysider, has a story on an R32 Nissan Skyline GTS-t that’s traded its RB20DET for a Barra coming up next month, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a quick spotlight on this mundane-looking X70 series Toyota Cresta that I found in the World Time Attack Challenge paddock. It was put together by the guys at Mighty Car Mods (MCM).


Their idea was to create a 10-second sleeper, but they went about it in a very cool way, picking the base car up in Hokkaido for AU$2000, before driving it across Japan and then shipping it to Australia where the transformation took place.


The guys sourced the Barra engine and proceeded to upgrade it with the bare minimum components needed to perform reliably while being fed copious amounts of boost. That included the must-do valve spring upgrade, stronger head studs, new oil and and water pumps, and an early-gen Barra oil pan with the well at the front to allow them to wedge the massive lump as far back as it would go in the Cresta’s engine bay.


With a bit of persuasion they got it custom mounted, and then set about fitting all the ancillary items including a Garrett turbo and a billet intake manifold running a massive single throttle body. Once the cooling side of the equation was sorted, an appropriate fuel system was pieced together, before a Haltech ECU was wired up to run it all.


For the transmission, a manually-shiftable Turbo 400 was chosen as it would offer the best performance for the strip. Further down the driveline is where the biggest modifications were carried out; the stock rear end was junked in favor of a custom ladder bar layout which required most of the rear floor to be cut out and a ton of custom fabrication work.


The parachute provides extra safety, even if the Cresta has been equipped with compact Wilwood calipers to aid braking performance.

I could keep on talking about this build, but you can find out all the other details by hitting play on the video above.


The car made a solid 600hp at the wheels on the dyno and then went on to record a 9.97-second pass on the quarter mile. Goal achieved, and total testament to what a semi-stock Barra can be made to do.

OK, so the 2JZ is not quite dead, but keep this all to yourselves – we wouldn’t want everyone to jump on the Barra bandwagon just yet…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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I wonder if there is a serious weight difference, or the availability of manual transmissions that bolt up sans adapter plates. I guess that's the kind of answers the experimenting will get you.


Yeah man, factory optioned in the Ford Falcon with TR6060 as stated. A lot of guys use the factory ZF six speed auto too


A quick wiki search shows the later models using a TR6060 and T56 for their manual transmissions. T56's are pretty easy to source and very strong. Not sure if the earlier engine models are the same bolt pattern however.


i customised an EB Housing and bolted a XF 4 Speed for my AU Drift Car with a Barra in it was awesome 3rd Gear Everywhere even in the slowest of Corners was beast


Bolt pattern is just a matter of sourcing the right factory bellhousing. The Barra has been mated to TR6060/T56/T5 and most Ford/ZF automatics from the factory.
They have literally been using the same block for ~20 years.


Just seeing the cover image I had this feeling it was the MCM sleeper Cresta build.


I thought N54 was the new 2JZ?

Wait 4 it... LeGenDaRy!

There's something to say about legends; they are never replaced. :P


Cool to see something different!


awh why'd I have to see this... Now I need a 4 liter barra engine...


Is this block of a turbo charged car or N/A


This particular engine is a factory turbo, but also came as an NA. Much like the RB25 motor.


Can it get over 1400hp tho?


How about 2000hp & 10K rpm? YouTube "Hi-Power Ford Barra" for some results, I knew 1200hp was possible but had to Google if Over 1200hp was possible!


From my understanding, yes it can. Youtube it.


Ok, this is the new 2JZ then...didnt expect it to be a Ford Engine but Im not complaining.


the bloke who actually designed the Barra designed the RB26Det


You get my point...


I'm not sure about that. The barra is an evolution of the original Ford straight 6 engine from the 60s. Became available as a 4.1 in 1971, a 3.9 in 1988, and a 4.0 in 1992. And it was only called the barra when it became DOHC in 2002. If anything were to be designed by a japanese bloke, it would be the heads, but even then, thats a Ford design anyway


Well, sorry to bust your bubble, but Ford engineers probably used their Mazda counterparts to design this engine. It's probably an American designed block, with a Japanese designed head.


Yeah the DOHC head from this car was adapted onto a developed intech block at Ford's Geelong plant. They're not as brain dead as you think, and the idea of strapping a turbo onto it had been pondered since the early 90's, and finally got past Ford management in 2002


If only they sold the Mustang with a Barra, but I guess they did not want to shame the V8 haha!


Came here to say exactly this. It's also why Ford/FPV had to supercharge the V8 :P


Wait, 1 more question: Can you abuse it like a 2jz?(and by that I mean drifting)

a guy from that land down under

Mate, the only thing that can mang harder than a Ford straight 6 is a VN buick V6. In single and double cam form, they can take a shit ton of abuse. Just look at the amount of turbo'd single cam examples on youtube, those were never designed for forced induction. The trick to them is valve springs, head studs and oil pumps with the later models. Sort them out, and most will be just fine. On the older models, most people put a reliable 7-10psi in it and leave the motor alone, or just shove it full of boost until it dies. Or you could just leave it stock and skid the fuck out of it. Each to their own.


XH Falcon ute. Auto. Single peggers for days, the body shell fell to pieces (literally) but that motor would not die, no matter how little I serviced or how brutally I punished it


Ok, thank you for answering. I never heard of this engine before, beeing from Europe(not sure if this is an excuse) and thats why I had these questions. Well, it seems like a great engine then.


There's a video doing the rounds on Facebook of someone running a water garden hose into the oil filler and intake of a Barra. After probably 10 litres the engine hydrolocks. The starter gets cranked again and the Barra manages to start


Would love to see this stateside, but if only it was even sold here in the first place. You Aussies never wanted to sell your stuff here which would be really nice tbh :(


@Terry - I sincerely hope that you realize that Ford develops different vehicles for different markets. The reason why this engine will never show up in America, is because Ford is catering to the lowest common denominator, and most people think 'V8' when you want power.

The benefits of an I-6 engine are usually lost on consumers. They just don't why 'bigger isn't always better'.

An I-6 is literally, the smoothest running engine design. It has to due with the firing order.


As Nat said, you yanks got scared it will cut into your local sales :P
Can't have a better product from overseas eh :P


I think you'll find it wasn't us Aussies not wanting to sell a bunch of our stuff overseas man


I'm curious exactly how long it took to complete this project car. When you get into that much custom fab work, engine swapping, wiring, piping, etc. you can drag these out for months.


We did the build start to finish in 9 days


Fair dinkum?


They're kinda heavy, but good motors. People only really use them bc they're cheap and readily available. Theres about 15 for sale in my town for $80-$300, and thats not including the wreckers. If they start getting expensive, they won't be worth it, so here's a tip - don't import one. I wanna be able to blow as many of em as I want with no repercussions. That said, they're kinda hard to bend


Ford should bring out a new Mustang with one of these in it. Man it would be unreal! The XR6 Turbo out performs the Falcon V8 here in Oz. Im guessing the same could be done with the Mustang.


I'm from the States, but I've kinda wanted an FPV F6 for a while, now. When I'd first heard of the Barra, I knew it could never come to the US...can't have a turbocharged inline six making more power than our V8s!


In the current time, a JZ swap is relatively easier than fitting a new size/style of tyres to your car and the aftermarket support is massive. It will take time for another engine to be "crowned" at least worldwide.


Am a RB26 man, but agree the Barra is an absolute monster for big power and reliability. Love the 2JZ for nostalgia and its strength, but agree the 4 litre Barra is easier and cheaper to get big power out of. Another monster of a straight 6 from Australia is the RB30DET from the Holden Commodore... Would be great to have an article covering the best turbo 6's of all time.


*rb30et. It was a bit weak stock but chucking a head from a 25det on it transforms it into a weapon.


Theres that many of them still using the single cam head, Nothing wrong with it, but some people prefer the DOHC anyway


I'm in love with this. Though I'm fairly sore that getting my hands on an RB is still going to be easier than getting a Barras into the Great White North. That would be amazing inside a Foxbody to give those V8s a run for the money.


Sweet car and conversion, but sorry, Drag wheels+Minitubs+Parachute+Roll cage =Sleeper Fail!


You think it drives on the street with those wheels and a chute?


yes, yes I do, absolutely.


I put a $150 non turbo Barra in a R32 skyline with a turbo in 2012, made an adapter plate and flywheel to suit Z32 Nissan gearbox. 326kw and 588nm on 8lb boost, made the nm before 2500 rpm. is slightly heavier that a RB30 and the same height & length.


stock n/a engine?


yes stock n/a. i did do valve springs but dont run enough boost to have worried.


Such a shame its maybe one of the worst and most rushed videos mcm has made. After watching it all Im getting is wtf just happened. So unlike mcms usual in-detail explainations and indept story telling. If they've only spent just as much time building and shooting this as most of the other builds it would defenetly be one of the best mcm vids and not one of the worst


They specifically set out to create a feature length presentation. The aim was to make something that wasn't like all of their other stuff.


I think your standards are a bit unrealistic here. They literally built the entire car in 9 days.
That's not a lot of spare time to set up shots and make it look pretty.


Yea, it was a rush job. Even car build TV shows cover their builds better and its way under mcm standards. Reason I react so bad to it is because Im a massive 1977-1986 rwd Toyota fan and the mcm JZ Cressida build was the reason I begun following mcm, and this video was a disgrace for mcm. Should have been a atleast 5 episode show and not a 48min TV friendy confusing hack job


Great, now all the speedhunter kids will be screaming Barra...Kind of hate what you guys do to the scene. Any petrolhead with a shred of decency already knew what the Barra was. but now its going to be non stop kids spewing garbage all over social media about them .


Look at this comment section. "dwuh, is dat turbo or NA engine?" .....Like really? You like speedhunters but cant identify a turbo in an engine bay? Posers, posers everywhere.


Bro from what I've read in the comments people have only asked if specific cars/engine blocks in this comment section were originally n/a but have been turbo'd. What's so dumb about that? Maybe they want to know if the n/a motors can run boost without having to change too much.


The problem is now they're gonna be glorified, which is shit. They're a great motor, but they're better in Australia. So sick of seeing fuckwits comment on videos saying "do a barra" without realising how expensive it would be to import. Far more worth it to just build a 2JZ or an LS


I have had a BA MkII since 2004 with all the bolt on mods and it never gets old or miss a beat. Just need exedy twin plate ceramic clutch and valve spring upgrade and Arp head studs.
My Barra has been copping a flogging for 14 years and still going strong.


Oh, cool, but where in Europe I'm can get a barra?


As far as I know Barras were always dohc,never a single cam.Falcons always had single cam straight sixes but were not referred to as Barra engines til the BA model which were dohc?


Yeah thats right. Same engine, just with some developments and DOHC added. The 2002 update which it was added is when the codename "barramundi" was given


This makes me want to put one in my 85 Cressida so bad. I wonder how hard it would be to source parts etc. Might have to contact MCM to see what's the what lol


What's the Barra name mean? Is it an Aussie slang term for Barramundi or something? Haha


Yep it is indeed short for Barramundi, lol


Barra stands for wheelbarrow.


Barras are indeed ridiculous motors. The main weak point is soft valvesprings, followed by conrods, and not a hell of a lot else in particular. The non turbo Barras, which are stupid cheap in both Aussie and New Zealand, are so similarly spec'd to their relatively expensive turbo equivalents, that it isn't a bad idea beginning with a non turbo long block if you intend to do a full build anyway. If you take a non turbo motor, change the springs, install exhaust valves that can handle the extra heat from boost, lower the compression and swap in some rods, you then have a twin cam, twin VCT, cross bolt mains, iron block 4 litre monster capable of shitting all over most RBs and JZs around!

Of course it isn't quite so easy as that. Being 4 litres, they require big fuel systems, big turbos, big engine bays and big drivetrains etc. Their main downfall, in my opinion, is their size and weight - but RBs and JZs are heavy too, and who really gives a shit about weight once you have a big single screaming on the side of a straight 6!

Now someone build a beast Barra fox body to shit all over the pushrod boys :D


Tbh, They get a bit boring in Aus. Every man and his dog has seen one or built one


Now we just need to make the coyote the new LS


Lot of hype on the barra.facts are 2jz is the king.nick named the highway king for a reason.the barra is good cheap bang for buck.built for built a 2j will smack a barra.good on the ford barra for sort of building a good thing.barras good down low shit top end built or stock.keep your hats on its comparing a legend sports car to a family caravan hauler.i see afew barras in skylines.still built for built a supra will leave it standing in highway keep my supras never been worried buy a barra powered anything on the freeway.


I wouldn't say it's dethroned the 2JZ it's just becoming more common in one isolated market where it's cheaper than a 2JZ. Principly speaking there's no huge benefit in one over the other. They're straight forward iron I6s. Not exactly rocket science.


No barra's in the 5 second club yet? some 2jz killer haha..


Guys have gotten 2000Rwhp out of the Barra and I have several close friends with 1000rwhp+ Barras all on stock mid filled grout blocks and stock heads running pump fuel. Keeping the head down is a mission and finding a turbo combination that can move a 2130kg car with stock IRS into the 1.4 60 footer without nitrous and breaking into the 8s barrier isn’t an easy task with the ZF6 speed that’s been modded with a mustang input shaft. Good reliable engines at 850rwhp but after that they tend to fail in places. Australia is getting there slowly considering how small our circle of Barra builders are but it’s getting there. And yes the engine is completely Australian designed and it is based on the 1960s Ford 6 even the main bearings fit.

Keegan Johnson

Stop telling people how good the Barra is, youll drive up the prices! Haha. Hopefully next year ill have one and its going in a 1999-2004 Mustang with Cobra IRS and xr6 badges where the pony/gt emblems on the back and sides were :)