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This page talks a little about who I am, where this information came from, where I am located, and acknowledges people who have helped over the years.
 
Page Contents:
Who Am I? Projects Website History Where Am I?
Japanese Imports Credits Copyright Rip Offs

Who Am I?

First off, I don’t think who I am is all that important - this website exists to pass on information, not to act as a monument to myself. Having said that, I feel it is important to establish a bit of credibility - predominantly because I know that when I read someone else's website I want to be sure that what they are talking about is based on actual experience. I get really tired of people who mouth off without actually having been there themselves, with the result that the advice they give is BS. 

So, it is probably a good idea for me to establish some credentials - not that I accept any liability... 

I am in my mid 30s and many moons ago completed half a Fitter/Turner Apprenticeship that included machining, sheet metal work, welding and generally turning big lumps of metal into smaller ones using a hacksaw and file. We used to say we made useless objects to very high precision. I did this training with the Royal New Zealand Navy, who I joined in January 1984, and who I still work for. 

I gained a commission as a Marine Engineer Officer in 1986 and subsequently left the apprenticeship and completed NZ Certificate in Engineering (Power and Plant) which is kinda an Engineering Diploma. This covered stuff like strength of materials, thermodynamics, mechanics, production processes etc.

A few years later after I got qualified in navy stuff I completed a Technology Degree majoring in Manufacturing and industrial Technology, where I covered such things as production management, organisational change, mechanical and electronic design, statistical analysis, reliability - all that sort of good stuff. An excellent degree actually - I honestly use it almost every day at work. Anyway, my final year project was a finite element analysis of a Lotus Seven Spaceframe. Interesting project but a bit hampered by lack of time and shitty software.

My present job is as the senior Marine Engineer onboard a Frigate, so I am in charge of the 'float and move' functions of the Ship, and have a team of 55 to get the job done.

So, if I say so myself, I have a fairly sound theoretical background backed up with some relevant practical experience. Do I know what I am talking about? Over to you. 

Projects

Aside from always doing my own mechanical work on the cars I have owned over the years (which have generally tended to be heaps of junk) I have personally (ie not paid someone else to do it) undertaken the following EFI engine installations, right through to on the road:
 
 
16 Valve 4AGE into a Lotus 7 Replica (Built whole car from a basic kit)
20 Valve 4AGE into a Lotus 7 Replica (done two of these now). My 7 has done over  120,000 km in the past 7 years...
2TGEU into KP 61 Starlet (and engine exchange when it died)
3TGTEU exchange in TA63 Celica (plus major rust removal)
16 Valve 4AGE into KE 70 Corolla Wagon
4AGZE into 105E Ford Anglia (stillborn project I sold off as parts after running out of time).

I have also helped to a degree with advice on a twin-charged 4AGZE KP 61 Starlet (Garret T03/04 Turbo plus 1GGZE Supercharger - still under construction). Plus looked really closely at all sorts of interesting cars others have done. 

My present project is a 1986 Ex-UK AE 86 4AGE Corolla GT (long story) that I bought at a damaged car auction in February 1999. My plan is to rebuild the body (needs most panels in front of the firewall replacing, including inner guards), and eventually fit a 3SGTE into it. I have the gearbox (close ratio W-57 Supra) and bell housing (much modified from a 2C diesel...) so far. Believe it or not, these are actually the hard bits to find. Car already has LSD, so that bit is sorted. 

Given my work commitments and the need to build a new house it will still be some time before I can complete it - but it will be featured here as I progress it when I do actually get the chance to start it. With any luck I might get it on the road by late 2000 - 3SGTE will go in later...much later!

My longer term project (post Corolla) will be a 1934/35 Ford Woodie Station Wagon Hot Rod. I was most impressed with Doug and Susie Carr's (as in Wood 'n' Carr, California) Woodie featured in the 1991 US Hot Rod Magazine Swimsuit Edition. I intend to scratch build something similar, but on my own semi-spaceframe chassis, most likely on full Lexus V8 running gear. If anyone has any info or drawings I would be most appreciative.

Enough about me.

Website History

To set the scene all this nonsense began when I built a Leitch Supersprint Lotus 7 replica back in late 1992, at the tender age of 26. The Leitch is made by Leitch Industries, who are located in Invercargill, New Zealand. As I originally built it the car was powered by a fuel injected Toyota 1600 16 valve 4AGE. 

I had bought a complete crashed 1983 RWD AE 86 Corolla Levin GT-V (effectively a Corolla GT) earlier in the year as a donor vehicle. The car had been slid sideways into a lamp-post by some idiots who were on the run from the Police. The car itself had been immaculate up until that point and was originally imported used from Japan.

The engine still ran fine and this made me decide to go with the EFI 4AGE as opposed to a push-rod UK Ford Escort 1600 motor, which ended up being the best thing I ever did. Prior to building the car my experience was limited to engine changes (ie out with the old dead one and in with the new reconditioned one) and the odd stereo installation, so building an EFI kit car was a bit of a steep learning curve, especially as I wired the whole car myself. I guess you could say I went in off the deep end. 

I built the Leitch to be a daily driver and to be my only car, so to an extent I did not spare any money on it. Now I am building a house so money is a lot tighter and I have had to adopt a low buck approach for my projects. Strangely enough, I have learnt more as a result and have got a lot more cost effective with what I do.

A friend calls the low buck approach ‘grin factor’ which is quantified by the amount of fun you get for the dollars invested. Low cost does not have to mean second rate solution if you are thorough in your planning. The Leitch has covered over 120,000 km in the past 7 years in everything from gravel roads to snow to surface flooding - why shouldn’t your car do the same?

What frustrated me the most when I built my car was the lack of information available on doing any of this sorta stuff. Sure, you could talk to people, but back in mid 1992 there was not a lot of information around, and much of it was conflicting. People were also a bit loathe to tell you to much when they were trying to do this sort of thing for a living. Magazines were a joke (and most still are, unless a man called Julian Edgar has had anything to do with it) and really provided no info of any real use.

So, when I finished, I wrote a Car Club Magazine Article about my experiences to hopefully assist other people finding themselves in a similar position. I know I certainly would have appreciated having some ‘good oil’ when I started my project. 

A couple of years later I upgraded from 16 to 20 Valve 4AGE and wrote another Magazine Article From there I have written numerous other articles and the internet seemed the next logical step.

I basically turned some magazine articles I had been writing into the first version of this site, which was published on a friend's website. There were a few errors that needed correcting (including one in the very first sentence...groan) and I have found out a lot more since then, so I decided it was well overdue for an upgrade, and so here we are.

Where Am I?

I live in New Zealand (NZ), which is an island nation in the South Pacific comprising three main Islands - North Island, South Island and Stewart Island. It is about the same overall physical size as the United Kingdom or California but is home to only about 3.5 million people. 

The truth of the matter is, the fact that I live in NZ is probably the single biggest reason for the website to exist - we are in a relatively unique position with regard to receiving used Japanese import cars from about 1987 onwards. 

Used Japanese Import Cars

In 1987 the government relaxed importation regulations and tariffs and it became financially viable to import used cars from Japan (we are both right hand drive countries). Today there are about 60,000 new cars sold here a year but also about 70,000 used imports come in from Japan.

It becomes cost effective to import used cars once they are about 3 years old. Because NZ has a lot of open road (but few motorways) and is populated with people who drive like lunatics many of the cars are performance models. Basically, if it is sold in Japan, then three years later it ends up here. The majority of Japanese imports in NZ are therefore 1980 model year or newer, with most current imports being less than 6 years old. 

Two factors contribute to a pretty awesome supply of Japanese performance car parts - tough laws on rust and accident rebuilds which result in older or badly damaged cars being scrapped (with virtually no value) and an extensive used parts importation industry to support the newer cars.

In a nutshell you can get virtually anything - at a cost. Toyota NZ parts outlets can get virtually ANYTHING provided you can supply the chassis number. They then can order the part (if it is not held in NZ) and it will arrive from Japan within about 23 weeks.

My aim is to spend as little as possible because I simply do not have a lot of money to spend on toys. This means I have to be very cunning in the way I do things. This Website hopefully reflects that, so don’t ask me if a XYZ gizmo is any good - I go for the cheap option every time, as that is all I can afford.

This website should be of use to you no matter where in the world you are - but even more so if you use a Japanese imported used engine.

Credits

I do not lay claim to discovering all this information myself, and I am very grateful for the contributions others have made. Some have provided specific information and I have tried to indicate their contributions in the text. Others have helped with general information. I have placed a list of credits below, however, I do not have the source details for some information. If you claim ownership of anything that is not acknowledged please let me know so credit can be given where it is due.

My thanks go to the following for their assistance and comments:

Matti Kalalahti - k124476@ee.tut.fi 

Ron Scanlan  - ronscan@voyager.co.nz

Adrian C. Black -  acblack@outwest.net

Grant J Mikosz  -  grant_j_mikosz@email.whirlpool.com

Liam Venter  - liam@lan1.co.nz

Dirk Apel  - dirk_apel@compuserve.com

Mo  - momosc@sasquatch.com

Stephen Gunter  - toyracer@kasnet.com

If you lay claim to any of the information here please let me know, so I can acknowledge your contributions.

Copyright

Some of this website has been gleaned from various official publications such as tech manuals etc. Many of these publications are no longer available, or are sourced from overseas, hence access is very limited.  It is not my intention to breach copyright, so if you have any issues with what is here, please contact me.

Rip Offs

This page is the result of some 7 years worth of effort spent accumulating information and gaining first hand practical experience. If you find chunks from this website used elsewhere without my contact details or links to this site please let me know. 

Please don’t be like the people who run a Sydney Speed Shop that have pirated a picture of my 20 Valve engine and a heap of other info from a friend’s Website onto their own. How many blue RWD converted 20 Valve engines do you think there are in the world...? 

Despite being asked to rectify the situation, they have refused. If you know who I am talking about I just ask that you take your business somewhere a bit more up front. Ask yourself this - if they have to pass my work off as their own, do you really think they have the knowledge to modify your car properly? Where are the photos of their own work? Perhaps it is junk too?

Having said that, please feel free to link to this page or use info from it - I would just appreciate an acknowledgement for the effort I have put in. Thanks. 

Next - Project Planning 

 
 


Copyright © 2000 SpeedTECH Last modified: January 23, 2000