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'74 Toyota Celica / '90 Lexus V8


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Kitbash of the Aoshima Toyota Celica LB 2000GT Liftback and the Tamiya Toyota Celsior (USA market Lexus LS400).   Been thinking of this project for some time.  Have a couple of photos found on the web of a Celica with a turbocharged Lexus V8, so that is where I started.

Assembled the chassis and engine, mostly with Tacky glue.

Cut off the hood, using the Tamiya scriber.

I knew there might need to be flares, design pending.  Chassis pan will be shortened in the middle, cut off the back, and much of the front overhang removed.

Looked at my choice of wheels.  This is my first choice, has two widths of tires, and Brembo brakes.
I like the look, but same width tires.
Maybe, but no brakes.
Only because the box shows the Lexus.

Interior tub width is a very close fit.  Planning to chop off the back seat, and fabricate a simple back area.  Lexus seats are really nice.

The dashboard is the challenge, sort of.  The Aoshima kit came via Satco, which made the resin LHD dashboard.

I couldn't let the dust settle after finishing the VW Microbus, so I'm off and ruining two perfectly good kits.


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On 4/22/2020 at 7:28 PM, Dann Tier said:

Love these cars!!!.....cant wait to follow this evolving!!!!

I know right?  No more than me.

5 hours ago, Italianhorses said:

Interesting! What a bout stock Celsior wheels?

They are nice, and the tires are nice too, have not ruled out.

4 hours ago, afx said:

Always liked this Celica body style - great resto-mod project.

Good looking car, it should be.

3 hours ago, Adecoste said:

WOW! This is awesome!!! Let me know if you need any pics of a 1st gen Celica for any detail things. Mines a coupe not a liftback so there are some differences.

Oh cool, I see your icon picture.  One area is the cowl under the windshield.  How about hood hinge?  Appreciate the offer.

29 minutes ago, gman said:

That looks like it will be a mean little beast. I'll stay tuned.

LOL I would be fun.

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11 hours ago, Adecoste said:

There ya go. My Celica has the same facelift front clip as your model so this is all accurate to what you're building. If you want any other photos let me know.


Very nice of you to do this!  Knowing how I've become obsessed about hinges, that design *could* be workable.  No way the battery is going to fit, but can go in the back easily.  Guess I should do the hood bracing.  Sorry for not being accurate, what I need is under the hood at the cowl (you will see in the pictures ).

Jumped off the cliff tonight, really wrecked the kits. ?  First was to measure, and draw the basic dimensions, the wheelbase, width of floor, wheel wells (which are almost exactly the same), how much of each end to whack off.

Hot-wire used for most of the cuts.

Superglued together.  Removed the molded on driveshaft, the Celica unit almost fits perfect.

Shortened the exhaust, the tunnel needed to be widened.  Obviously need to reconfigure the last mufflers, but might just ditch them.  Front shield still needs to be cut back.  Trunk area will get a new floor, the mount on the body will need to move, and the gas tank may need tweaking.  Anti sway bar sure need links.

For some reason the wheelbase looks wrong, but it's all the same measurements, just need to shove the chassis forward.  The wheels don't have the ideal offset, modern cars have the mounting surface to the outside much more.

I need to shave the radiator support area to get this to work.   Removed the Celica molded in radiator which helped about 1 MM, but need about 2 MM more to be safe.  Really should assemble the whole grill with the headlights before commencing.  Damaged the thin part of the body across the front, will just remove the whole thing after seeing the real car.  The Lexus chassis hangs down at the front, could cut off, but really want to make an airdam.  The hood just clears the engine, but expecting to either thin it later or add a slight bulge.  Firewall area needs a brake booster or something.

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On 4/25/2020 at 6:11 AM, Adecoste said:

Looking good! Here an under hood picture of a local 72 Celica that has a 1UZ swap. There are some engine bay differences with this being an earlier car.


EXCELLENT!  I see the radiator is between the headlights and in front of the radiator support, battery is on the other side.  I see the brake booster, and shape of the firewall.  Thank you, this helps immensely.

I removed much of the front body, radiator should be mounted to the body instead of the chassis now.  I'm thinking the black headlight part needs to be opened up, and the grill part too with photo-etch mesh put in place.  I'm chopping up cut-off pieces to fill in here and there.

The back of the chassis needed relocation of mounts, used parts from the Celica.

Now the chassis won't fit up into the front, need to remove the body fenders next, but needed to work on the new wheels.  Since I'm not concerned about the wheels being able to rotate (nothing like a finished model rolling off a table and crashing), modified the Fujimi design, such as removing the long axle part inside the wheel.   Took off the Tamiya brakes, the Brembo brakes will look so much better.  Wheels are barely hanging in place for the photo (tread direction not important now), I measured with the calipers to see about 4 MM wider fenders are needed.  I might dig through the parts box, have Countach flares for sure, maybe something else, but really thinking of cutting the fender faces off, running strips in the gap, and make something like an IMSA style wide body.  I'm designing in the roll, have the finish design in my head, not drawn out.

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Round and round I'm going.... one side got the fenders roughed out.
Cut the front:

After superglue and baking soda, cut the rear fender off:

I thinned the back where the surface curves.  Made styrene strips 4 MM, tapered at the end(s).  Dremel rough smoothed the joints.

Will have to work on the hood for clearance since I got the chassis a little more forward.  The rear axle is not in line with the wheel arch, but no problem with making that bigger for the new tires.

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I don't post for only two days, got bumped into page two?  Great to see so many are building and contributing to this forum.

Got the other side flares done.  Next step is cutting the wheel openings, since I have lowered the body a bit (channeled is the hot rod term?), need to modify accordingly.

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2 hours ago, Italianhorses said:

Lot of good work done here! Though, I think the bodywork makes it look like a Mustang way too much, its loosing that Celica identity :) Though, I guess after the V8 swap...

I was thinking Camaro.   This has always been the Japanese version of a Pony car, so not a mistake. ?

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13 hours ago, Belugawrx said:

Really liking the wide body approach Kurt !


Thanks, I was sort of forced into it with the track of the Lexus, the other choice was super wide flares like the Rocketbunny bolt-on style.

13 hours ago, Dann Tier said:

This is really looking the part of a little BEAST!!!

Glad you like it!

Got the flare lips on, wanted to keep the original shape.  Hot-wire cut out half circles, superglued and baking soda liberally applied.  I used the Dremel exclusively today, no sanding.

Rummaged through the parts box: found the front bumper from the Mercedes 190 Evo, this was the stock part, and the rear wing which will mimic the spoiler on the later Celicas.  The red parts are from a Countach, the sills.

Cut the upper bumper part off.  Gooped on lots of superglue, and baking soda.  Opened up the grill, the headlight part for sure, and the center grill part was removed.  Have some honeycomb photo-etch to put in there.

Trimmed down the corners a little, glued in some scrap flat plastic, more goober glue and soda.  Going to make a tuner air filter, and modify that part; also need to make some sort of body brace across the front.  Also thinking of an oil cooler under the bumper, not the crazy Japanese style with the wild hoses, the German in me cringes at that look. ?

Cut the front of the aero/skid plate to fit.

After getting all the outside roughly shaped, did the inside so the tires should clear, barely.

All this has been shaped with the Dremel tool, using my favorite spiral cutter.  Lots of filing and sanding to do, the tricky parts will be next to the turn signals, and door jamb.  I wanted all the modifications to blend in, not appear pop-riveted on.  Then a minimum of putty.

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I'm old school, in an Asian sort of way, with a mix of German.  The Lexus brand was a copy of Mercedes, so think I'm on the right track.

Started on the interior.  First was "torching" apart the interior of the Lexus, and started harvesting off the Celica chassis, using the hot-wire.  A pet peeve, is filling the wheel wells of some models that have a huge gap, I created it.  The Lexus interior is about 8 MM wider than the Celica body, so all I needed was the floor and console.  Filled the back hole with .1" sheet styrene.

The Celica has decent door panels, and they will fit.  Kept the back set, a little less cargo area to work on later.  Added sheet behind the front wheel well, because of the flare having an exhaust vent you can see that.  Now that I'm looking at the back seats, those humps can't be correct!

The Celica gas tank needed minor reduction to fit under the sway bar.  Changed the gas filler location to the left side, it will be what I use on almost all my projects, a copy of the Isuzu Vehicross gas cap.  Made the exhaust exits from Plastruct tube.

Interior fits just right.  The back seat might be a little high, but the combination of using the Lexus chassis and channeling a little pushed it up.  Maybe I should cut it so it can fold down. ?

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The rocker sills are fabricated.  Hot-wire cut the width, added scrap pieces at the ends.

I wasn't happy with the Celica back seat, the humps are too large, and one side is much more because of the motorized gear set.  The Lexus seat was hot-wire cut out, removed a substantial amount of top and bottom cushions.

Fabricated the cargo area, starting with the diamond plate floor.  Harvested from the Lexus door panel for the side parts.  The rear bulkhead was the Lexus window ledge, cut to size with the hot-wire.  Back of the seat is plain styrene sheet.  The firewall is more plain styrene, comes into the cabin enough to hold the resin LHD dashboard.  A strip is run along the back of the hood to fill the gap.

I should add a strut brace for the heck of it.


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7 hours ago, Mattilacken said:

Cool Project! Looks realy cool!

Glad you like it.  It's different. ?

Engine bay detailing.  First of all, knew a hood bulge was needed, but had no plan.  When I kit-bash, try to utilize as much of the two kits as possible, I like the detail on the chassis, Aoshima did more than the usual motorized variety, so studied general shapes and being able to capitalize on details.  Cut out the part with the hot-wire.  Used the Dremel to cut the hole in the hood.  Needed to fill a random recess, and extend another just a little.

Bulge is glued on the inside, debating whether to keep a seam, or blend in, and also body color or flat black, this sort of looks like American Muscle.
Cut apart the Celsior intake part, it simply didn't fit, separated individual parts, the battery top, reservoir, and the plenum was ditched.  The intake tube was cut in two spots so it would dive down, then made the cold air box, which led to deciding the removal of one headlight was better than cutting a hole in the fender.  The battery was just the top, made the lower part, and relocated at the firewall.  The Celica radiator was repurposed into an oil cooler, the chin had to be cut down so it fit under the grill; the hose/pipes could come up from below, much neater than the silly wild hose style the Japanese do.  Putting the brake booster at the other side was a cinch!  Picked the Model Car Garage photo-etch honeycomb grill because the original was honeycomb, also put in the missing headlight.  I have something bugging me, the air dam is not level, debating about cutting out and fixing.

Have an idea for the back spoiler, a morphing of door-slammer drag car and semi trailer aero extension, active for braking and high speed.  Not doing the giant Rocketbunny wing.

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My OCD couldn't handle it, cut apart the driver side of the airdam, removed some material, glued up higher to match, think this looks much better.

I scribed the door and hatchback lines.  Then worked on a working hood hinge.  It would have been simple, if the grill did not prow out.   If I used the JDM grill, it is straight across, could have done simple pivots.  Picked guitar string that fits inside the hypodermic needle tubing, fabricated the hinge out of coffee can steel.  Wire insulation holds the wire in place.

The hood slides back to close.  Took only two tries on a tube, and three tries with the wire.

To open, hood slides forward first.

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