JDM Legends’ Toyota TA22 Celica Build

1JDM Legends have an interesting 6 part build posted on their site detailing their impressive Toyota TA22 Celica project. Starting in 2011, it was just recently completed a few months ago and is worth checking out. We have embedded Part 1 on the following page to get you started, and linked Parts 2-6…


Project TA22 Celica: Part 1

This has been a long time overdue and for that I apologize as things can tend to get a bit crazy around here this time of year…. customers will always be priority over blogging :)

I was ecstatic to have the ability to purchase this 1975 Toyota Celica GT coupe (TA22) a couple of months ago from Tokyo. Let me just explain a couple of things that attracted me to this car in particular. First off, I love old Celicas… coupes and liftbacks alike but since we already had a liftback here it made more sense for us to pick up another coupe. Next up is what I feel to be the absolute most important factor when selecting a car is a clean, rust free chassis. The previous owner had garage kept this car since the early 90′s which isn’t very common to find due to the limited amount of garage space in Japan.

At this point I was already pretty much sold but to put the cherry on top this Celica also had a mod list that would fill the needs of any true toyotaku. Let’s see, where do I start?   How about with the TRD specific parts: 1,750cc motor with TRD pistons,272/288 cams, reinforced valve springs, clutch, LSD, and short stroke shocks.   And aside from all the tasty TRD parts we also have a full AE86 front spindle/hub/vented rotor/caliper conversion with coil-overs, RCA’s, braided SS brake lines, Cusco camber plates and strut brace. In the motor department we also have a ported head with HKS metal head gasket, Trust header, 44mm Solex carbs, adjustable cam sprocket, and light weight flywheel. Yes please! :)  Here’s how it looked straight off the boat after a quick wash.

The interior is great as well, perfect dash, decent carpet and it’s hard to go wrong with a Nardi steering wheel.

Or Bride seats…

I’ve always loves the look of the interior on first generation Celica’s…  so much style.

And check out the cool shape of the headliner as well as that primitive ”information center”.

Even though the engine was full of great parts on the inside it’s appearance in the bay needed a little love.  That’s pretty typical though as you may recall from out TA27 we imported a while back.

Eeeek!  I’m all for the functionality of an aftermarket grounding kit but yellow?!  I have to chuckle when people treat these things as “dress up”  items…  do you really think that looks better?  Obviously this engine bay will get a serious cleanup but right now the most important thing is to make sure the motor itself is in good shape.

Pshweeew!  That’s always a relief.  Compression numbers are great too.  Here’s the front suspension setup I mentioned earlier.

I love the old TRD “adjustable” font on the rear shocks.

And I’ve never seen a TRD muffler like this before…  maybe someone else has a little info on it.  It’s not a complete TRD system as the whole center section is custom mandrel bent piping.

So it was right around this point that I ended up getting an e-mail from a customer that we’ll just refer to as “Q” that was very interested in the car and not being one to let a good thing pass him by immediately placed a deposit.  At this point we started out simple, first with a cleanup of  the classic 14×7 Watanabes that had  seen quite a few years of abuse.

Much better.  You know a car is pretty serious when it comes with Advan AO32′s on it :)

We also decided the car would benefit from a little bit of a drop.  Because let’s face it, everything looks better a little lower.

Most people would have stopped there as this is one bad TA22 but Q is my kind of guy and he knows why leave good enough alone when you can achieve greatness?  This is when things start to get interesting….   the new parts started coming in starting with these TRD-style over-fenders.

Time for a quick little test fit.

Ummm… yea, that’s not going to work.  If there’s anything I hate more than yellow grounding kits, it’s over-fenders  on cars without the wheel setup to match.  You know, the cars with wheel so sunk they look like a hovercraft from the back?   So what would go well with all those TRD parts?

Mmmmm…  Toscos.  Easily in my top 5 wheels of all time.  13×8′s up front and 13×9′s in the back.  Q has good taste right?

There aren’t a whole lot of cars that can pull off 13′s easily but I believe the TA22 is one of them.  Especially if the fitment and drop are right.  When done correctly the overall smaller rolling diameter brings the entire car down and looks oh so right.  The only problem is that 13″ tires are becoming harder and harder to find but Q was able to track down some awesome 245/45/13 Avon’s that as some of you know are based out of the UK.

Let’s give that a try…

We’re getting closer but still not exactly where I want them to be.  Before I can modify the fenders to accept  the wider wheel setup and over-fenders I need to first determine the exact fitment so I know what needs to be modified where.  This is about what we want the final ride height to be at.  Still maybe a little too much rake but we’ll see.

And although it may seem like a lot on a 9″ wide wheel I finally determined after playing with a bunch of spacers that 25mm seemed to get everything where I wanted it and Q agreed.  Nothing crazy,  just flush.

Meatyflush, just like I like it.  Not only does it look brutal, but this thing will rip the track just as hard as it parks with no problem whatsoever.  That has always been my philosophy when building cars since day one.

With a full re-spray, re-upholster and a bunch of other stuff this car is shaping up to be one of the finest creations to ever come out of our shop so stay tuned as I’ll be doing some pretty serious body modifications next time.

Find the rest of the build in the following updates: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.