There are so many theoretically crazy builds out there. I say theoretically because plenty of them still exist (and will always exist) in an unfinished state, waiting for those precious moments of effort to finish off that wiring loom, fabricate those engine mounts or even fit the bodywork. Many of these projects get passed around and are sold on in their respective unfinished states until someone either pulls their finger and gets the job done, or pulls everything apart to sell the individual components to live a more fruitful life elsewhere.
When the Driftworks guys have a series of mad ideas, you can usually expect an end product to come from them. It may take a few months or it may take years but, crucially, there is always an end product. Think the DW86, the ongoing E92-powered E30 M3 or, their latest brainstorm that has become a reality, this 1972 Toyota Hilux pickup with a boosted MX5 engine setup.
This particular Hilux belongs to Driftworks co-bossman James who is known for having a rather eclectic mix in cars (off the top of my head I can name an LS-powered RX8, a Tesla and a Nissan Rasheen as recent or current members of the Robinson garage) and it was actually an eBay session with him that led to me stumbling across my Y32 Cedric. As a result, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that such a weird and wonderful car has come to fruition.
I happened across it in the pits at the Drift Matsuri event at Anglesey the weekend before last where it was getting its first shakedown and I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.
Extensive chopping of the truck’s chassis, firewall and other relatively crucial structural areas was required in order to transplant the MX5 NB running gear into the retro Toyota but, crucially, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside. Perhaps this is what separates builds that you could label as complete and not a work-in-progress? Similarly, the avocado-esque green paint is entirely period correct and in keeping with the desired style.
I was told that a lot of work was required in order to get the little WORK Equip 40s to clear the brake calipers but it was definitely worth it; they finish off the exterior perfectly and, if you didn’t know better, you’d be hard pressed to tell that they are a wheel that has only been released in the last year or so.
Anyway, onto the more interesting stuff. A 1.8 VVT lump from the aforementioned MX5 NB has been mated to a small but potent TD04 turbo which, at the time, was mapped for a safe 225bhp. As has been found with other boosted MX5 lumps, you can pass the 280bhp mark pretty easily but, with this being a fresh build, I can appreciate the desire to keep things conservative for the time being.
With cheap and cheerful 15″ rubber, not a lot of mass and good weight distribution, the TD04 is suitable for the task at hand right now, especially when you consider that this truck hasn’t been built with the sole aim of going sideways. Daily usability and practicality is key.
It wasn’t just the MX5 drivetrain that was transplanted either; the front suspension is entirely Mazda. Dan off of Destroy or Die kindly supplied and fitted a set of his custom lower arms and knuckles to aid steering response and lock for those times that the Hilux does see some sideways track use.
The interior is a work in progress but will be receiving a whole host of changes to aid usability and driver friendliness in the near future. For a starters, I was told that the “organ pedal” style throttle will soon be replaced with a more traditional item to help with heel and toe (at the moment the brake and throttle pedals are at very different heights, making this a tad difficult).
The clocks were lifted straight from the MX5 donor car but these too will soon be replaced with the stock Hilux items, with the goal being to get them working as they should.
Due to the Hilux passenger compartment being considerably closer to the engine than it would be in an MX5, significant work was needed to make the shifter and hydraulic handbrake arrangement work. As you can see in the above photo, the shifter linkage runs under the seat bench towards the MX5 gearbox further behind.
As for the hydraulic handbrake, there wasn’t the necessary space required to mount it in a conventional fashion, so the master cylinder was mounted vertically underneath the dash which, in turn, allowed the handle to mounted in an ergonomically pleasing location. I did ask whether or not this made the hydro setup difficult to bleed but apparently it was absolutely no bother at all.
The truck bed remains in tact and ready for hauling! James told me has plenty of plans to load it up with an array of mountain bikes and drive out into the countryside which is the perfect way of emphasising how this isn’t an entirely drift-orientated build. While it’s definitely a benefit that the little Hilux is ready for hitting the track and having a good laugh, the overall balance and high standard of the build ensures that it’s perfectly fit and able for daily enjoyment on the regular.
If you want to see more detailed photos and info regarding the build, you can check out the build thread here.