Everyone knows I'm a Altezza fanboy and that I think that Altezzas are Gods greatest gift to mankind. This particular dark, smooth-lined, Japanese thug of a car is no exception. Adian has had his car since 2008 and they have been inseparable. The car was his confidant and his support mechanism providing comfort (not the seat) when Adian was at his lowest. Some when depressed resort to alcohol or substance abuse, he chose to blow it all on a car. Not any car though, it had to be RWD (for them skids), 4 doors for the practicality, reliable with all-round build quality and an automatic for comfort. Kuala Lumpur’s bumper to bumper traffic can literally kill your left leg so for those driving manuals - everyday is leg day (note the gym reference).
Adian started small, with Tein Superstreet suspension, an aftermarket exhaust and a TRD 1.5way LSD 4.3 final drive (that came with the car). All was fine and dandy for 2 years until he decided that the engine needed more low end grunt, so *pop* went in a HKS Turbo kit with GT-SS turbine. Interestingly the automatic transmission survived the 220whp dyno run! The extra grunt made it easier for the 1.3 ton car to hang with the 'big boys'.
Given his automotive experience, he never wanted it to be hardcore. He has a few ‘kereta perang’ (missile cars) at his disposal, so it didn’t make sense to make his everyday drive one of them. The turbo introduced heaps of heat to the 3S-GE, even on highway drives it was still alarmingly hot with all the heat exchangers. The transmission didn’t like to be taken out of its comfort zone comitted seppuku after being replaced - twice. The auto-Tezza's ECU is smarter than the manual one’s too, it will fight back if something is messing with its fuel trim. After going through a E-Manage and F-CON V-Pro, only the Apexi Power FC reprogrammed by Brash Boys worked out.
(Ps: Don’t Google Brash Boys on Google. NSFW.)
I first saw 'Darth Tezza' (as Adian calls it) during one of the Ignition.my open track days. He did a small burnout right when I was walking back to the pit from turn 1, that triggered a memory of a 1UZ-FE fitted Altezza photo that I saw in the Altezza Malaysias Facebook page. I was utterly amazed by how much the 1UZ feels at home in the Altezza.
Perhaps he was too preoccupied during the trackday, but he never did get around to responding to my question that I posted to him. Don't get me wrong, Adian is a pretty approachable all-round nice guy - perhaps I sounded too noob back then and didn't ask the right question.
Anyway, Adian had enough of what the turbo was doing to the car and reverted everything back to stock! He thought of selling Darth Tezza but with how the secondhand car market is right now, he decided to keep it and had a few wild ideas on what to do with the car.
Having lived in Australia for a while, Adian has been brain washed by the growl of the V8 and being a huge fan of NASCAR, he's not particularly amused by the power delivery of turbos. He wanted a V8 for his Altezza, citing that the 1JZ is very much heavier than the 1UZ even though it’s common in Malaysia. V8s generally are lighter than most engines with similar power with less cylinders but in the case of the 1UZ, it makes less power than the 1JZ. The aluminium 1UZ V8 engine is from the luxury line-up of Toyota sedans and are relatively cheap to buy in Malaysia. How cheap? The 3S-GE with the 6 speed half cut costs twice as much as the 1UZ bundled with the automatic transmission, ECU and wiring loom!
Interestingly, the Altezza can swap any kind of engine with relative ease, there are even a few with Wankel Rotaries! Without the usual fanfare, a 1UZ was dropped into Adians car, massaged in by Athur 250km away in Sri Manja, Kuantan. No crazy custom fabrication was needed but for the exact formula, you'll need to contact the maestro Athur himself. One distinct modification was the exhaust manifold on the driver side, that took 1 week to get done! Other than that, the long shaft needed to be cut, welded and balanced. Also, this is the only 1UZ powered Altezza on Malaysian roads that we’ve heard of.
However, the front weight increased slightly with the build, so Adian went to consult one of the best ride and handling engineers, Malaysian Prince of Drift - Tengku Djan. He's the head and the grip driver of Proton R3 Motorsport. Due to the weight increase, the front spring rate was brought up to help manage the 350nm of torque at the rear wheels.
Even in its automatic form, Adian still grins whenever he gets behind the wheel, a good way to release some stress after work. The increased power however, means the 4.3 final drive is crazy on fuel and acceleration making highway driving a little bit narly. A 4.1 went in to tone things down a little.
In the near future, the exceedingly affordable Toyota Supra W58 transmission will go in as Adian misses drifting and he admitted that Zamil the drifter has already sowed the ‘W58 seeds of temptation'. Instead of getting frustrated with the 4 speed auto kicking up another gear whenever he tries to drift, he just might water those seeds and proceed with the swap. For now, most of the car including the drivetrain is relatively stock apart from the wheels.
Here's hoping Darth Tezza in the near future uses a twin prong light saber and kicks some Jedi butt.