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Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

A few weeks ago, we let you in on the conversation that Car and Driver had with executives from Subaru and Toyota about the possibility of a turbocharger on the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S. It was a flat out “No” on the FR-S and an “Eh, maybe, but not now” on the BRZ and GT 86. Well, first off we think that’s a load of corporate horse manure, as Subaru and Toyota would be out of their engine control modules not to force at least 8 psi into that new jointly built 2.0-liter engine.

Apparently, Subaru is taking a nibble of the bait that us turbo junkies are tossing in the water, as it has just completed development on a turbocharged version of the FA20 engine used in the BRZ, GT 86, and FR-S family. This engine is not an identical twin to the FA20, so don’t go getting your hopes up yet, but it is its fraternal twin at least. The only real difference is that Subaru scrapped the Toyota fuel injection system in favor of its own direct-injection system.

So what kind of power are we talking about? We are hearing that it cranks out a whopping 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque! Now for the bad news… As of now, this engine is only slated to be dropped into the JDM-spec Legacy. To make things worse, Subaru is linking this awesome engine to a CVT. What a gigantic waste.

Don’t go getting all sad on us now, this is a good start that Subaru is willing to slap some boost on this puppy and get nearly 300 ponies and 300 twisting power. Now just imagine that in a BRZ…

So we will reiterate what we said before. Regardless of what smoke and mirrors Subaru and Toyota throw up there, we will see boost in at least the BRZ and GT 86, and we would be willing to bet a penny that we see the FR-S whistling down the road one day too.

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Testing of the TS030 Hybrid Resumes

Testing of the TS030 Hybrid Resumes

Last month, the black cloud over Toyota Racing’s head reared up again in the form of one of its drivers crashing the TS030 Hybrid at Paul Ricard circuit bad enough to render it useless. This forced Toyota Racing to cancel the T030’s debut at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

It appears as if the black clouds have cleared up again, as Toyota Racing has announced that a new monocoque is complete and testing will resume almost immediately. This also puts the team on pace to hold true to its promise of debuting on June 16th for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

We’ll be honest in saying that we had our doubts that Toyota could get a monocoque built in time to test before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Toyota Racing certainly stepped up to the task and pumped out a replacement vehicle. The issue now is that the monocoque the team is testing was slated to be a spare, and now there is no spare. We’re willing to bet that the brass at TR are telling the drivers to mind their Ps and Qs while testing. According to Toyota’s press release, however, TR will be entering two T030s into 24 Hours of Le Mans, so a second monocoque must be in the works.

With only a little more than a month of testing and tinkering to do, this really leaves Toyota with very little time to really adjust the car and allow the drivers to get a feel for it. Yes, it is the same build as the original TS030, built as with all cars, there is a little variance between each build.

We’re all pulling for Toyota to make a clean return to Le Mans from here on out.

Click past the jump to read Toyota’s press release.

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Possible Turbo for the BRZ, but No Love for the Scion

Possible Turbo for the BRZ, but No Love for the Scion

Ever since the Toyota-Subaru joint venture that netted three different models – Subaru BRZ, Toyota GT 86, and Scion FR-S – there have been speculations, rumors, and whispers of potential forced induction for these triplets. Recently an unnamed “source” informed our colleagues over at Car and Driver that “for the time being” the BRZ and FR-S will remain naturally aspirated and pumping out 200 horsepower.

The report went on to say that a turbocharged BRZ is a possibility in the future, but there is no way the FR-S will ever receive forced induction. The source also mentioned that the GT 86 could potentially get some added PSI into the intake. The reason being, according to this “source,” is because the Scion is considered an entry-level sports car and a turbocharger would push its $24,930 base price to near $30,000. At that price, most Scion buyers may start dreaming of a BMW 1-series or something a little more upscale. The Subaru and Toyota, on the other hand, cater to higher-end customers.

Being the car buffs that we are and lovers of a little forced air, this is a depressing thing to hear. It also slightly confuses us a little, as we don’t quite see how adding a turbocharger can pump the base price up $6,000. Even if it did approach those higher cars, like the 1-Series, a boosted FR-S would certainly pump out more power than the base 1-Series and is definitely a more fun car to drive.

So here’s to hoping that the three automakers come together and find a way to make a turbocharged version of all three models. A boosted model would likely have a massive impact on Scion’s popularity too. Heck, it may even get that nasty taste out of people’s mouths that the xB and xD models left behind.

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Toyota Forced to Delay the Debut of TS030 Hybrid

Toyota Forced to Delay the Debut of TS030 Hybrid

Toyota’s road racing days pretty much grounded to a halt when corporate headquarters pulled the automaker from the F1 program after the 2009 racing season. Since 2009, Toyota Motor Company has shown improvements, as buyers began returning after the car-buying slump ended and the safety issues that plagued the automaker were rectified. This allowed Toyota to start to experiment with road racing again and develop the TS030 Hybrid.

The TS030 Hybrid had its debut race set for the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5th, 2012. Things were looking good for the 3.4-liter V-8-powered TS030 Hybrid until its most recent test run. An undisclosed driver was testing out the TS030 at Paul Ricard and must have had a fairly horrific crash, as Toyota Racing Team President announced that the team could not build a new monocoque – chassis for those that don’t speak race-a-nese – in time for the May 5th debut.

Most people would think “Why not just use a second body; they all have spares, right?" Well, when you are easing your toes back into the racing pool, like Toyota is, you can’t really afford to go blowing millions of dollars building and testing multiple cars. In the future, yes, they will have multiple monocoques, but for now there was only one.

According to the press release, a new monocoque will be ready in time for the June running at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

A few things come to mind here. First off, was Toyota planning on arriving at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with only one monocoque? Secondly, how much of a bum does the driver that thrashed their only vehicle feel right about now? Maybe that’s why they kept wraps on which driver it was that wrecked it.

Well, here’s to a speedy rebuild, Toyota, and we hope to see you in June, sans the black cloud floating over your head.

Hit the jump for the official presser from Toyota Racing and a cool video of the TS030 testing.

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$1.5 Million in Luxury Cars Seized by U.S. Customs

$1.5 Million in Luxury Cars Seized by U.S. Customs

There are a lot of new car scams in the world and most of them are initiated by the new car dealer, not the buyer. A group of buyers flipped the script on several Los Angeles dealerships, by using fake identities to purchase 20 cars and were shipping them to Hong Kong and Vietnam to sell them for two to three times their U.S. value.

It was a laundry list of luxury vehicles, such as a $280,000 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia, an Audi Quattro, 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, along with several Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, and BMW SUVs among others. For some reason, the thieves even threw in a Toyota Tundra.

The one that got these fraudsters busted was the Ferrari 458 Italia, as Ferrari fitted the supercar with a GPS system as standard, which Ferrari used to track the car once they found out they were defrauded. This led U.S. Customs and the California highway Patrol to conduct a full investigation and find the cars on a ship that had already pulled away from the port.

Needless to say, that ship was forced to come back and all but four of the cars were recovered. The four non-recovered cars are due to be shipped back by Vietnamese Customs.

According to the report, had the fraudsters not gone after the Ferrari, chances are they would have gotten away with this scam and made a ton of money in the process. The total amount of the vehicles seized by U.S. customs is estimated at $1.5 million, which would have pulled in around $3 million in Hong Kong and Vietnam.

We are still trying to figure out what in the world a Toyota Tundra was doing in the mix with all of these high-end luxury cars. We also wonder which thief drew the short straw and was stuck going to the Toyota dealership to pick this thing up?

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Toyota GT-86: Pre-Release and Already Modified for Drifting [Video]

Toyota GT-86: Pre-Release and Already Modified for Drifting [Video]

In my lifetime, I have performed several engine swaps. Most of which were from me or my friends being stupid and grenading a stock engine, so they were mostly just stock swaps. Only one time did I swap a different engine into a car and that was pulling a four-banger from a Mustang and dropping in a V-8. That is a straightforward swap and it still took many weeks.

So where am I going with this? Well, the Toyota GT-86 hasn’t even hit the market and someone has already gotten their greasy hands on it. Seemingly in hyper speed, out came its stock four-banger engine and in came a big V-8. Yup, Manabu “Max” Orido’s team pulled out the four cylinder and dropped a 5.0-liter V-8 farmed from a Lexus IS F. There are numerous other mods, obviously, but the only other ones that are clear is a widebody kit and wide rubbers on the backside.

Let’s put this in perspective. The GT-86’s stock 2.0-liter pumps out a respectable 200, but has received mixed reviews in terms of actual performance. The Lexus IS F’s 5.0-liter engine, on the other hand, pumps out 416 horsepower and launches its 3,780-pound body to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. The GT-86’s official weight hasn’t been released, but rest assured that it will barely tip the scales at 3,000 pounds, if that much. Add in the fact that Orido’s GT-86 is gutted and that the 5.0-liter engine is definitely modified, and you have one lightning fast car.

Why do all of this to a brand new car? They are preparing to run this monster in D1 Grand Prix drifting events. Recently it was caught on film testing and our initial response is summed up in one word… Wow!

Don’t believe us, check out the video above.

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TopSpeed's 50 Coolest Cars Ever

TopSpeed’s 50 Coolest Cars Ever

This is the ultimate bar room and barbecue debate that has been raging on for years and will no doubt persist for years to come. What makes a car cool? Is it cutting edge technology, timeless and sexy good looks, or ultra high performance?

We think it’s all of those features and then some. In addition to a combination of those factors, we’d like to think that a cool car can be defined as something that has influenced our attitude and thinking towards how we perceive what a car is and stands for. Some of them have an intangible quality that has captivated our hearts and minds.

Here then is our Top 50 coolest cars of all time. This is obviously a very subjective and contentious topic so feel free to leave your comments, criticisms, and additions at the bottom of the page.

Hit the jump for the hallowed list.

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Toyota to launch new Supra and MR2

Toyota to launch new Supra and MR2

Toyota must have realized that their cars were pretty boring, so the Japanese company is set to release a few hybrid sports cars. There will be two coming with names that should sound pretty familiar to car lovers. The first will be the MR2 and the second will be the fabulous Supra.

The MR2 should be here around 2013 and it will feature a hybrid 1.5-liter petrol engine. The car was originally going to get a V6 hybrid, but after the strong sales of the Honda CR-Z, Toyota has decided a four pot was the better option.

The Supra was thought to be dead, but the strong sales of hybrid cars have brought it back again. The new Supra will be powered by a V6 hybrid motor, similar to the FT-HS concept on which the car is based. Of course this is not exactly a new piece of news considering we caught wind of this vision back in 2008, but now it seems that the vision has progressed to a full blown project in the new Supra.

Hit the jump for the full story including what may be interesting competition for the MR2 and Supra.

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Tommy Kaira tuned Toyota Prius

Tommy Kaira tuned Toyota Prius

Just the other day we were talking about just how happy we were to see tuners paying a bit of special attention to alternatively powered hybrid automobiles. While these types of gas/electric vehicles tend to go towards efficiency minded hyper milers, there are still a few enthusiasts out there looking to make these cars, like the 50 MPG Toyota Prius, truly their own. When it comes to the art of automotive aftermarket styling, there are few tuning firms that can compete with Tommy Kaira and this is the latest kit to roll out of their design studio.

The kit includes a reworked aero package consisting of a more aggressive front bumper with built in carbon fiber splitter, lower hanging side skirts and a new rear apron complete with vents on either side and a diffuser in the middle to finish off the ground effects package that actually improves the Toyota’s coefficient of drag. Tommy Kaira is also offering a host of other upgrade options like HID headlamps, hatch mounted spoilers, high performance suspension components and a sporty exhaust to finish off the body mods available in either carbon fiber or more traditional FRP. The Japanese tuner also offers more wheels then you can shake a stick at in order to satisfy every one of their customer’s wishes for a fun next generation green vehicle that unites ecology and sports to create a truly unique mode of personal transportation.

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JUN AKIRA Boneville Supra

JUN AKIRA Boneville Supra

Thanks to the wonderful world of Super Street, by way of our friends at Speed Hunters, we bring you yet another gem hidden amongst mountains of blinding white salt that shows up at Bonneville’s Speed Week straight from the dry lakebed. The bright yellow Toyota Supra turbo that you see before you is none other than the JUN Auto Akira Supra. According to the manufacturer’s website this is an “Ultra high speed specification JZA80 Supra” and it was built to compete in only one place in the world the dried up lakebeds of Utah, an entire ocean away from the Auto Mechanic shop where it was being built in Japan.

The JUN Akira Supra first arrived at the dry lake bed in August of 2001 to compete in the National Speed Trials, the Supra challenged the current record and walked away as the fastest Toyota vehicle ever with a top speed of 249.292 MPH and an average recorded time 240.192 MPH thanks to its unique streamlining bodywork and a 3.2 Liter 2JZGTE with two TRUST T78 turbochargers bolted to the side pumping enough air to make almost 1200 HP, but underneath all that racecar specification equipment is a Toyota Supra Twin Turbo that you could buy new from any dealership, boy 1996 was a good year.

Continued after the jump.

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Top Secret V12 Supra

Top Secret V12 Supra

Last week we brought you an innovative creation from the Japanese tuner and infamous speed junkie Mr. Kazuhiko Nagata. However you may know him better as Smokey due to his affinity for rapid fire chain smoking before conducting one of his highly publicized top speed runs in any of his signature gold colored Top Secret tuner cars. When Mr. Nagata chose to make his own replacement for the defunct Skyline GT-R, Nissan took notice and it is apparent just by looking at the Top Secret GT-R and the one you can buy in a dealership. Never one to rest on his laurels, Smokey decided that if putting a V8 in a GT-R was a bold move, then a V12 powered Toyota Supra would just be insane, and he was right.

In order to make the best you must first start with the best. So aside from the entirely redesigned aerodynamic front end this particular fifth generation gold Supra has the heart of a late model Toyota Century luxury limousine, a car that rivals the ultra luxurious Mercedes Benz S Class and is placed even above the automaker’s Lexus luxury brand. Smokey’s intention was to create one of the most extreme cars ever made by his tuning shop. The body kit that you are looking at on this very unique Toyota Supra is called "Final Evolution," and was a hint at what the Japanese design team at Toyota needed to create what we now know as the LF-L.

Continued with video after the jump.

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Video: Rod Millen’s record setting Toyota Tacoma at Goodwood

Just last week, classic racers were screaming up the hill outside Lord March’s estate at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Have a look back at a previous year’s festival when the Pikes Peak champion Rod Millen brought his record setting Toyota Tacoma race truck to England.

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