The Red Gemstone (Toyota Caldina GT)

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A Japanese turbocharged, four wheel drive wagon. What does that remind you of? Yes, the latest Levorg , followed by distant names like Lancer Evolution, Impreza WRX and the Stagea. That makes you wonder why the biggest name in Japanese cars, Toyota, hasn’t had anything to compete for the past few years.

Look up Toyota turbo wagon on google and chances are, you’ll end up looking at the “Corolla Wagon”, a.k.a “Corolla Fielder” on local shores. Forget that majestic looking 1JZ powered Toyota Crown Athlete Wagon but one car attracted our interest. In fact, we first saw it nearly 7 years ago, parked at a warehouse complex. And then it vanished without a trace for years, until it suddenly reappeared at a shopping mall’s parking lot.

If anything, meeting this car again is like meeting a friend whom you have not met in years – a friend who turned out to be the new owner of this elusive Japanese monster. Only a handful ever made it into Singapore, it is not known of how many have survived to this date. It’s also easy to mistake this for the less powerful FWD variant since they look identical on the outside..

For you JDM appreciators, this car shares the very same engine as the Celica ST185 – just mated to a four-speed automatic because Toyota deems this car to be family oriented, which kind of family though, we will never know…

Surprisingly for a car that was never marketed as a performance model, nor a icon of Japanese engineering, there are plenty of aftermarket options to spruce the original car up. While some are purely for modification reasons, there is another valid reason for going aftermarket. Toyota ceased production as well as the entire model line almost ten years ago, now, where are you going to find parts for an old car that isn’t a Honda Civic?

Being heavier than the Celica GT-Four (duh!), the rebuild-resto-mod process included brake upgrades as well as a full engine rebuild with the addition of an UnichipQ for a custom tune. Running on a purely stock setup, a boost controller was added to provide a snappier response and a more stable boost – an addition that the “turbolag” ten year old engine will appreciate.

Making this car driveable yet enjoyable are the Tein Superstreet Coilovers – which are easier to service and part-source than the original suspension components. Now, you would imagine that a Celica with one hundred more kilos will be a handful to stop? That was the reason behind the matching combination of custom Brembo/J-hook brake upgrades, in customized gold finishes.

The modding process is still in the works, as the Wedsports SA-60M and Dunlop SportMaxx 050+ were fitted days before the photoshoot. Just in time were the interior components as well, with the seats re-conditioned and the steering wheel freshly rewrapped with red/black leather to match the original seats.

Being the sporty wagon, performance upgrades would not go down well with other family members – but to please them is the sweet sounding audio system upgrade for every passenger. This made this Caldina GT-Four one extremely capable super cruiser, with the engine purring away lazily as it feeds the all-wheel drive system while doing the Malaysian cruise effortlessly.

Like we said before, Toyota has focused on making money instead of making cars, and this Celica, uh, Caldina and the 86, no matter how good it is today, hardly impacts the brand image of being boring. That might change with the upcoming “Supra”… hopefully.

Toyota Caldina GT

Engine:
Rebuilt 3SGTE
UnichipQ by BMS Tuning
Greddy Profec B-SpecII Boost controller

Undercarriage:
Tein Superstreet Coilovers
Brembo F50 Candy Gold
J Hook 330mm Rotor w/ Candy Gold Hat
Wedsports SA-60M
Dunlop SportMaxx 050+

Interior:
Greddy iColour Monitor
HKS Meters
HKS Turbo Timer Type 1
Recaro GT4 Seats
WheelSkinz Custom Steering Wheel
Momo Gear Knob
iRoad V9
Viper Alarm System
Pioneer 295BT
Pioneer GM-A6704 Amp
Pioneer TS-WX120A Sub
Pioneer TS-G1645R 2 Way Speakers

Exterior:
GT4 Bodykit
CF Bonnet
Spoiler
Eyelids

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About Author

Always finding ways to keep his hands full, Krado loves to tinker with his car whenever he has the free time. Usually ends in tears or a multiple fluid facial.

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