Very Early March, 2005 - The endeavor begins...
March has been an interesting month for me.
It's been one year since I left the management track at
my current job and returned to the technical realm.
Reinvention is never easy and retraining myself in order
to get back to being able to develop systems
architectures has been quite a task. The ol' brain
just doesn't remember things as well as it use to.
Going through this transition, I found myself burning
out again and losing interest in pretty much anything
technical. The constant traveling and being away
from my family didn't help either. My current employer also seems to do a
good job at taking something that can be fun and
challenging and turning it into a grind and making you a
slave of it. The constant reorg-ing, lack of clear
leadership and direction within my business group
doesn't help the situation either.
So I decided to discuss my dilemma with a former
co-worker who has since left our company a number of
years ago and retired before his hair even turned grey.
He gave me some good advice. He told me that I
need to find something to "take me away from the
drudgery of work. Reinvigorate that passion in
something that will drive you away from work and help
you focus on things more fun, because life should be
fun." Pretty insightful for a guy who gets to play
It took some time for me to figure out something that
I could get into, but I came to the conclusion
that it would be kinda fun to restore an old car or
buildup something(with the approval of my wife of
course). After about a couple of weeks I decided I
wanted to build an old Celica. Something from back
n' the day and I wanted all the mods to match the era
which it came from. Since I already owned one
before though, I didn't want to build the same thing again(even though now I wish I never sold my 77' Celica
coupe). Finding a car that's over 30 years old and
in half way decent condition is also a big challenge.
Old Celica's are pretty hard to come by.
What I've found is that 76'-77' liftback Celica's are
a bit easier to come by and can still be found in
somewhat good condition. Cool deal.
Something old, something I still like and can still get
parts for, and a growing community of enthusiasts
interested in the same car. Not quite the same
cult following as the Datsun 510 or Z, but definitely
gaining interest and momentum.
Currently I have the radar on two liftback Celica's
and hoping to make a purchase in the next two weeks.
In the mean time though, I have been collecting and
sorting parts that I plan on using on the car. My
intent is to document the entire project on this
March 19, 2005
Won an eBay bid for an early set of Tom's amber
lenses for a Celica(RA22). Unfortunately these
won't fit the liftback but they're so hard to come by I
had to buy them anyways. Hey, maybe my next
project will be an older Celica coupe. Bought
these off a guy in Australia actually. Australia
is a good place to get Celica parts for some reason.
I love the exchange rates too. Way better than
buying from Japan.
Sometime Mid March 2005
Went to the Toyota Owner's and Restorer's Club mtg in
Torrance. Bad move. Saw a few old school
Celica's and really got me going. I HAVE to do
this project. Also decided that I want to get a
set of smiley bumpers for the liftback that I have
yet to buy. Hooked up with some people from the club
who are currently trying to locate a set for me.
Bummer is that they aren't exactly cheap. I have a
set budget of $10k that I'm going to spend on this
project. But that has to include the tools I need
to get also. Junk like a compressor, cherry
picker, misc hand tools, etc. It also has to
include all the bodywork and paint AND the car itself.
Did I mention my wife is cool with all this? Man,
I need to take better care of her. :-) The
deal is I get an old car, she gets a new kitchen next
year. Hmmm... I don't think I negotiated
that deal right.
Sometime early March 2005
The Hayashi Racing Command 700 rims would look pretty
cool on the Celica but the ones I have are 13" x 7".
These look pretty cool on a coupe but I think they're a
bit small for the liftback. So I started looking
for a set of 15" wheels. I went through a lot of
tuner mags, wheel websites, and eBay but couldn't find
anything that fit the late 70's early 80's era at a
reasonable price. But then by sheer luck, someone
on eBay listed a set of 15" Hayashi Racing 503 rims for
a Toyota or Datsun(4 x 114 lugs)!!! Man, the odds
of this happening are like me winning the Lotto.
Surprisingly, I won the bid and got the rims for around
400 bucks. Pretty killer deal being that anything
old, JDM, and used can run up to a grand easily.
The guy was even local so I didn't have to pay shipping.
The rims badly need some cleanup and polishing but are
complete, straight, and even have the centercaps with
the Hayashi Racing logo. Killer.
March 25, 2005
I really gotta sell my 95' Integra GSR coupe.
Not only is it taking up precious space in my garage, I
need the cash to pay for my Celica project. Here's
the specs on the car. If anyone's interested, send
95 Integra GSR cpe, Black w/ black leather
Jackson Racing Supercharger
Jackson Racing Fuel Map Controller and Boost
Jackson Racing Fuel Pump and Regulator
Jackson Racing Under Pulley(smaller pulley
for increased boost)
HKS Intake kit
HKS Super Dragger Exhaust
DC Sports 4-2-1 Header(cracked)
Exedy Clutch(less than 3k miles on it)
Tokico Blue shocks
17" SSR GPO's w/ missing center caps
205 40 17 Yokohama Parada's
Ingalls front and rear Camber Adjusters
G-Tech timed the car at 13.7 in the 1/4 mile
Also have for the Integra:
Stock rims and tires(5 spoke alloys)
Stock exhaust and manifold, intake manifold,
all stock pulleys
Brand new Greddy EVO II Stainless Steel
exhaust(still in box)
Brand new AEM intake(blue powdercoat)
Brand new AEM Air Bypass Valve(still in box)
Brand new Short Throw Shifter
Brand new DC Sports 4-1 Header(still in box)
Brand new DC Sports JDM Type R 4-1
Header(not smog legal)
March 26, 2005 - Inventory, so what do I have so far?
A home remodel project at mother's house this past
year gave me the unique opportunity to go through all
that junk I left at her house when I moved out years
ago. Sorry about that Mom... :-)
Rummaging through the junk, I was able to come up
with two incomplete pairs of Mikuni 40mm and 44mm
sidedrafts. Whoa, now that's something you don't find
nowadays. Carburetors. I also found some old
Tom's amber lenses, various manuals, posters, calendars,
and an assortment of Toyota nuts and bolts. Hey,
one can never have enough nuts and bolts. I also
came across some old 20r parts which I ended up getting
rid of because at the time, I wasn't planning on
rebuilding a car. Lost opportunity on that one,
Some parts I actually have kept with me all these
years. This is one of those rare moments where I'm
really happy I kept all that old junk, even though it
takes up a whole heck of a lot of space in my garage.
Waiting for reincarnation are a complete set of 44mm
Mikuni's, a brand new 20r Mikuni intake manifold and
linkage kit, a set of 3" velocity stacks, a 20/22r
Tilton aluminum flywheel, a brand new Isky 20r cam, a
4.3 limited slip rear-end, a new but slightly rusty 20r
Doug Thorley chrome Tri-Y header, a new 13" leather wrap
steering wheel, a set of 13" Hayashi Racing Command 700
rims, a full gasket kit for a 20r motor, and a brand new
set of TRD 22r high-dome pistons. Gee, all I need
is the car!
April 5, 2005
Still haven't purchased a car yet. But I still
have a lock on two RA29 Liftbacks. Just waiting
for the owners to get back with me.
April 7, 2005
Bought a pair of clear cornering lenses for a RA29.
Lenses also came with the chrome lamp assembly.
Really good condition and a sweet deal at 30 bucks for
Found another pair of RA29 clear cornering lenses in
my garage. Quite dusty but after being cleaned up,
they look new. I don't think these were ever
mounted actually. I remember buying these like 20
years ago when I had my 77 Celica Coupe but never
Glad I kept them. I also
sorted through my pile of Mikuni sidedraft parts.
In addition to the complete set of 44mm ones I'm going
to use on my project Celica, I also think I have enough
spare parts to build a second complete set of 44mm
Mikuni's. I have three old factory 18rg Mikuni
carburetors that I'm cannibalizing from for parts.
Be great to find one more, cause I could probably build
another pair of 40mm Mikuni's also. These 44's are
sitting on an 18rg manifold that I have.
Found two sets of RA29 tail lights. Waiting to
hear back from seller.
Also scored an electronic distributor, coil, and
igniter assembly from a 1980 Celica. Not bad for
30 bucks. The igniter alone usually costs an arm
and a leg.
A good contact in Australia has located a RA28 front
smiley bumper. It's a bit bent with a crease and
needs to be rechromed. Waiting to hear back from
my body guy to see if it's repairable.