Why is it so hard to use a supra engine?
The Toyota Supra is powered by an inline six cylinder engine. This is one of the longer engines in the business. It is a little more than six inches longer than the 22R block. If you have looked in you Celica's engine compartment lately you might find it hard to find 6 inches of free space anywhere. But it is especially hard to come up with six inches extra between the block and radiator. You will notice a fan and belts filling the vital air space there.
Although the Toyota Supra looks like a sleeker nose on a Celica body it is sufficiently different at the frame level to make this a very difficult swap. The Supra has a longer wheelbase than the Celica. The difference in the overall length of the body/frame is obvious when viewing the two vehicles side by side.
Side by Side Comparison
Toyota Celica GT-S:
Toyota Supra P-Type:
Notice the difference in fender length between the front of the doors and the back of the wheels. From the firewall back these two vehicles are the same car. But in front of the firewall they are two very different beasts.
Another item to consider is that the inline six engines are quite a bit heavier than the stock four cylinder engines. This additional weight so far forward will impair the agility the car.
I don't care how hard it is, how do I do it?
Good question. There are a number of possible ways. But from what I know if you pull it off you will be one of the first. Baring that in mind, one option is to cut the firewall and position the engine inside the cab as much as possible. you will have to fabricate a lot of metal and reposition some important parts (Heater core being one difficult example). But theoretically you should be able to gain the six+ inches you need and keep the weight closer to centered.
The Celica engine bay is physicaly big enough to fit an inline 6. But you would have to move allot of bits an pieces. For instance you can mount the radiator in front of the A/C condenser. If you used an electric fan set on push, it should work fine. With a some drilling, cutting, welding and longer coolant hoses you should be able to clear out enough room to fit an I6 in there. You will still have to deal with the motor mounts, a horrible balance issue and many other issues but it should work.
Another commonly asked about option is installing a Supra front end on the Celica. It *should* be possible if you can cut everything from the radiator forward out and replace it with a custom fabricated assembly. You would then need to reposition the front crossmember to be centered with the Supra fenders. And of course you would need a Supra front end. All in all it would probably cost you more money to perform this mod and make it work than to go out and BUY a good MKII Supra.
Special thanks to Harvey Cheong and Greg Giacchi for providing me with these pics of their beautiful cars.
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