2JZ x E46 Touring: Is This The Ultimate Dad Wagon?

One of many sad truths about the current state of the auto industry is that the traditional car is slowly disappearing from showroom floors.

In its place are an abundance of crossovers, and it’s looking like they’re here to stay. The rise of the crossover is partially due to consumers not knowing what they want out of a vehicle, and manufacturers unfortunately catering to them with the whole ‘everything in one’ package.

I guess the ethos behind what automakers are trying to deliver on is practicality; they want to give us the ability to haul the family, the groceries, and the dog, all without sacrificing the fun aspect of a sports car. But from my perspective, the mark is missed, quite significantly actually.

Because the ultimate solution has always been here, and it’s one that comes from the initial emergence of the automobile – the station wagon.

A Man Of Practicality

Jason Ford’s love affair with station wagons began in his adolescent years, where he spent countless nights laying in the back of his father’s Oldsmobile wagon, gazing at the stars as they drove across town during warm summer evenings in the Pacific Northwest. He always loved the fact that he could lounge carelessly in the back, open to the world around him, but protected from the physical elements. From these fond memories, his love for the station wagon blossomed.


As the years passed, Jason owned VW Beetles, and eventually a E36 M3/4/5 that was utilized for several purposes: It was his daily driver, family hauler, and track weapon. Not too long after though, he began testing the limits of what the car was capable of. It was modestly modified, and plans to turn it into a high-horsepower race car were not in the books. Jason could keep up with mostly anything on the track, except for an experienced driver with anything over 300hp under their feet.

So the only logical solution for him to beat the big guys was to upgrade. One thing he couldn’t sacrifice though, was practicality. Jason explains, “I loved the versatility of having four doors. I have two sons, and was able to take them with me everywhere in my E36, so I knew the new car couldn’t have anything other than at least four doors.” But the constraint was choosing the right platform since most of the more capable track cars tend to be coupes.


But as Jason recalls, the E46 chassis had been proven to be an effective choice on the track. “It was simple, had tons of aftermarket support, retained classic good looks, and was fairly easy to obtain in decent condition. Not to forget, was also quite practical.”

Shortly after selling the M3, Jason went on to find his 2000 323i Touring in Southern California. It was the perfect spec being that it was the base model, which meant the lightest of all the packages offered – perfect for converting into an M3.

Only, it wasn’t converted into an M3…

2J The World


One day, while Jason was working on another project at his wife’s shop, he overheard a neighbor doing dyno pulls on something that sounded like a straight-up rocket ship.

“Clearly this motor was doing work, revving well beyond the 8,000rpm range, and I just had to know what was making all these noises,” Jason recalls. “After some digging around the complex, I came across my now good friend Lawrence Shipman, and the car he was tuning was a Toyota Supra.”

Jason went on to find out that the Supra was putting down a little over 1,000whp, and his mind was blown. Taking into consideration that supercars typically make around 600 to 700whp, it’s understandable why.

While the months passed, Jason began prepping the Touring for an engine swap. Which engine would be going into the car was undecided at first, but as his friendship with Lawrence grew, so did the idea of going unconventional, meaning swapping a 2JZ in instead of the more common S54 from the E46 M3 that Jason initially had planned. Despite what purists might think, I’d say it was the right choice for what Jason wanted the car to do.


The ‘M3 Touring that was never made’ end goal in mind soon pivoted into crossbreeding BMW quality and refinement with Toyota reliability (ironic, isn’t it?) as Lawrence made way towards completing the swap. Jason wanted a fully-built motor that would put down solid power, but still retained air-conditioning, electronics, comfort features, and so forth as you’d expect from any practical track car. And that’s precisely what he ended up with after commissioning Lawrence to take on the swap.

After months of building the car, the overall final numbers resulted in 931.6hp at the wheels, transferred through the built 2JZ-GTE VVT-i engine running a Garrett GTX3584 single turbo, V161 6-speed manual tranny, and all managed by an AEM Infinity engine management system.


Of course, Jason couldn’t just stop at the engine and drivetrain for it to properly compete against the big leagues, so the suspension was overhauled with a mix of M Performance and aftermarket upgrades, along with StopTech 6 and 4-piston brakes. Body modifications include rear flares and an assortment of M3 panels up front, and it’s all tied together with sweet set of Advan Racing GT wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes RS1 slicks.

Do It All, Do It Well

With the build mostly complete, the only thing left for Jason to do was test its abilities and see if he really did have the ultimate one car solution.

“It’s done half a dozen track days now at both Laguna Seca and Sonoma Raceway. It’s done a few Shift Sector half-mile shootouts, reaching a max speed of 181.74mph, but it won’t be going any faster any time soon since I don’t want to have to make the additional efforts needed for safety equipment on cars that can hit 200+mph,” says Jason.

I’ve actually witnessed Jason driving the Touring at Laguna Seca once, and can attest that he was indeed passing Porsche GT3s and Viper ACRs with no trouble at all. It was hilarious and glorious at the same time.


But perhaps the best part of it all, is how Jason leverages the utilitarian function of having a wagon. He’s taken it on camping trips to Yosemite, slept in it overnight during track days, and has even hauled home improvement projects from the hardware store.


It is quite literally the best and only ‘one car’ solution anyone could ever ask for. So take notes big manufacturers: We don’t want your six-figure, three-ton, overpowered crossovers anymore. We never did. All we ever wanted were 200mph estate cars that can do everything, and do it well.

Naveed Yousufzai
Instagram: eatwithnaveed
Email: naveed@speedhunters.com



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Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Pretty damn sure there will be comments saying "For it to become the 'ultimate dad wagon', it should have a BMW motor in it!"


You cant beat a wagon, love it!


the ultimate wagon!


Sadly... not every country had the luxury of smooth and wide roads...suv and crossovers do better against flood,potholes and non asphalt roads... and not to mention when you live in a country where tax and price to owning a car is insane...let alone weekend car


Pretty sure 'allroad' versions of wagons exist. You're just perpetuating the dominance of an SUV. Go back and watch Top Gear's Uganda Episode and tell you still NEED an SUV.


Not to mention the vast majority of nowadays SUV have absolutely zero offroad capabilities. and mediocre allroad capabilities. See how in North and Central Africa the old Peugeot 404 and 504, old Renault 19 and 21 etc... are used and abused : a modern SUV would not last one week given the same treatment before it would start falling apart. Modern SUVs are nothing but road cars. Maybe the first SUVs like the 90s Ford Explorer or Jeep Cherokee were able to do mild offroad, but the current generation of SUVs have nothing to do with those ones.


2JZ and BMW is one of the best combos ever!


A JZ wagon would be a dope dad wagon


love my wagon, never selling it.


I just picked one up myself. '93 Accord. The swap engine is already at the machine shops getting prepped for a nice power bump.


In addition to TE37'ing all the things, can we Advan GT everything also? Such a great looking wheel, especially on this BMW..


Gorgeous. How much would it cost to do something from the ground up like this? I've an e39 540i. I'd rather rebuild the engine and turbo her than go for a swap.


Dude, I had a '99 E39 540i M-Sport Dinan 5...phew! I bought it in 2006 for 24k from the original owner who gave me a binder with $17,000 in receipts and invoices from Dinan. I loved that car so much, I had to crash it into the center divider on the freeway at 90 MPH in the rain just so no one else could ever have it but me!


Love the execution here, especially the engine bay which has retained a dull, black and grey theme to look 'stockish' to the untrained eye. But seriously, hard shell buckets and harnesses because 'practicality'? Always wondered why people just don't have a cheap shit box for a daily and a weekend weapon. No compromises that way - for either car. Still a beaut car, I'm surprised how much room there is in the back. Only thing I would prefer is the updated front which came on the late e46 wagons anyway.


This wagon is just awesome! Love it!

This: "The ‘M3 Touring that was never made’ end goal in mind soon pivoted into crossbreeding BMW quality and refinement with Toyota reliability (ironic, isn’t it?) as Lawrence made way towards completing the swap." Super ironic! It's so hard for folks to embrace and accept.

Thanks for this feature! Definitely made my night!


Oh hell yes (as tim wilson would say) its a station f##king wagon, well done cobber good to see a decent wagon out there. Cheers


Viva la wagon


Alameda NAS! I know that view...and that relentless wind!


Oh, the memories. I went to Woodstock elementary (also long since closed) in the early '90s. Lived in the naval town houses right next to walls of the base while my dad was stationed there. I wish those neighborhoods still existed; it'd be cool to revisit.


Looks like if Chernobyl was gentrified now.


Just hearing that had me searching for a motor. If only I had the skills\money I would have one in my T5 :)


Love it, this thing is fantastic!


Would've done an LS instead and kept it NA. Otherwise, solid build minus the paint/wrap.


Wow, alot of work to still make about the same power as a built, S/M series motor. Not even sure why the swap was needed.


N52/54 are way more expensive and hard to maintain then a JZ as far as my research goes if this is your point. Maybe this could be the reason of the swap. In a NA form a S52 would be the only choice but as far as a turbo engine, really cant go wrong with a japanese engine.


So good. For those that want good power without the swap and more room, this exists (which many don't know about,) and is a fantastic option if you can find them in good condition. No swap required (N54 already included in the US market), AWD, load-leveling rear suspension, plenty of room for car seats, etc.


M3 E46 wagon is on my bucketlist as a dream car and the idea of combining with a JZ too its just class.


The Kind of car we should all be driving.,


I seen this on 1320 couple months ago. Bad ass car