Going back a few years now, I can still remember when Toyota released the FT86 concept. This was not only a car, but proof that the big names in the auto industry hadn’t forgotten about us, the enthusiasts. Focusing on Toyota, there was a time in the 80s when they offered the MR2, Supra, and the iconic AE86 Corolla at the same time. Before the FT86, the last “sporty” car offered by Toyota was the Celica in 2006. It had seemed that the passion that once fueled Toyota to develop such iconic vehicles was gone. This was all about to change.
Toyota announced the FT86 would be a joint project with Subaru and would be powered by a naturally aspirated Subaru Boxer engine and available in both Subaru and Toyota variants. More importantly, the car would be rear-wheel drive. When the car finally hit the market, the Toyota variant received different model names all around the world while the Subaru called theirs the BRZ globally. Here in North America, Toyota sold the car as the Scion FR-S, Asia received the Toyota 86, and in Europe it’s called the Toyota GT86. Fast forward a couple years to present day and we have arguably one of the most popular tuner cars in recent years with aftermarket support from almost every company out there.
Alex and I shared a similar interest in the concept. We both followed the FT86 concept from its inception to its official release. With its launch, Alex knew that he wanted to own one and in September of 2013, he purchased his brand new Subaru BRZ. Alex’s adventure with the BRZ had begun. Now, Alex is no stranger to modifying cars. Having owned and modified multiple cars in the past including a 300ZX, a couple MR2s, an SCoupe turbo, Protege 5 and a couple 4Runners, Alex knew exactly what he was getting into with the BRZ.
Those that have followed Alex’s build on our forums know that where the car is today wasn’t really something that was planned. I remember checking his build one day to see that he had installed a Borla unequal length header only to sell it shortly after to go the turbo route. Alex says, “After I decided on going the turbo route I started to think that if it’s turbo charged, I’ll also need to upgrade some other stuff.” From there the build snowballed.
This isn’t just a build that was thrown together aimlessly. It wasn’t built to be a dyno queen, full out show car, or to be an 11 second car. No, the car was built with one thing in mind: balance. “I really wanted to enhance every aspect of the car somewhat equally.”
The exterior remains subtle. For wheels Alex went with 17×9 Gramlights 57DR in Gun Blue wrapped in 245/40 Continental ExtremeContact DW. The car is stiffened up and lowered with a set of HKS coilovers.
Of course the tacky stock tail lights had to go. In their place are the all red tails from TOM’S.
Alex’s strive for uniqueness really shows in the interior, and may only be noticed by fellow BRZ owners. He has converted the black & silver interior to be all black, sourcing parts from Toyota Australia. The arm rest is another unique piece that Alex ordered overseas from London. The stock push button start was replaced with an STI button from Japan.
This is the first turbo BRZ in Manitoba. Alex went with the Stage 1 turbo kit from AVO along with many custom parts to support the increased power. In its current state, the car made just under 270rwhp @ 10psi of boost. The car was tuned remotely by Bill Knose @ Delicious Tuning in California. Alex is hoping to break 300rwhp soon.
Alex has driven the car in multiple motorsports events now including autocross at St. Andrews, road racing at Gimli, and he also shredded a few tires at Manitoba’s first open drift day.
“A lot of time and effort has gone into making this car 100% unique but still maintaining a somewhat “OEM” look and drivability to it, and I think it’s just about there.”
“I spent a lot of time on small details that I appreciate, but a lot of people don’t realize because they look factory.”
Wheels & Suspension:
17×9″ +35 GramLights 57DR Gun Blue
Project Kics R40 Black Lugs
245/40/17 Continental Extreme Contact DW
HKS Hipermax Max IV GT Coilovers
Buddy Club front control arms with racing ball joints
Buddy Club rear lower control arms
Hotchkis Front and Rear Sway Bars
Whiteline camber bolts
Whiteline rear subframe bushings
StopTech front/rear brake pads
StopTech front/rear stainless steel brake lines
Motul 600 brake fluid
Motul 300v 0w20 oil
Motul Gear 300 75w90 for Transmission and Differential
Engine & Drivetrain:
AVO Stage 1 Turbo Kit (Ceramic Coated)
AVO 50/50 Blowoff Valve
AVO Crossover Pipe (Ceramic Coated)
Perrin Light Weight Crank Pulley
Perrin Light Weight Waterpump and Alternator Pulleys
Perrin Master Cylinder Brace
Whiteline Transmission bushings
MTEC Shifter Springs
Kartboy Short shifter + Positive shift Bushings
ECUTEK Cable + License
GrimmSpeed hood struts
AEM Boost/AFR Failsafe Gauge
Innovate MTX-L Oil Pressure/Temp Gauge
Block8Head Custom defrost vent gauge mount
ATI Vent Pod gauge mount
Blitz EU GT86 specific Oil Sandwich plate with spacer
Grimmspeed black engine cover
T1R Front Pipe with custom welded o2 bung
Vibrant T-Bolt Clamps
Vibrant Vacuum Manifold
Vibrant Hose Clamps
Spencer Fabrication custom vent hard lines
Treadstone turbo blanket
ProSport remote oil pressure line
Cusco Air/Oil Separator
Custom dual catch can setup made by Saikou Michi
Spencer Fabrication custom 3″ Front Pipe with high flow cat and 02 bung
Perrin 3″ Catback Exhaust
Perrin Cold Air Intake
Delicious Tuning ECBS
Delicious Tuning 11psi MAP Sensor
Delicious Tuning Speed Density Tune (3 maps)
Full Blown Motorsports Oil Cooler
Exedy Stage 1 Clutch and Flywheel
Exterior, Interior & Audio:
LED Conversion for all bulbs in the car (plate, interior, trunk)
Yellow tinted fog light lenses
Clear side markers with amber LED bulbs
Amber LED front signal indicators
Toms JDM red tail lights
Perrin aluminum shorty antenna
Grimmspeed front license plate bracket
STi JDM rear wing gurney flap
STi JDM Push Button Start
Cusco aluminum E-Brake knob
Eur Toyota OEM arm rest
Aus Toyota OEM Black interior conversion
Rexspeed convex and polarized rear mirrors
Subaru Autodimming Homelink Mirror
I would like to thank the guys @ Speed Factor for being such a big help. Most of these mods were done over the course of 4 months. It was a lot, but they were always quick to get me what I needed, and very fair on pricing.
Photos by: Ken Au/Shaun Jeroski
Words and video by: Shaun Jeroski
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