Tuning Developments builds some of the wilder track cars in England, one of which is their ST205 Celica GT4. Not as well known to our American audience, the turbocharged, all-wheel drive Celica GT4 is a rally-inspired street car could ever hope to be.
Rally-inspired isn’t a fair descriptor. The 2500 homologation cars built to allow Toyota to enter the GT-4 as a Group A car in the World Rally Championship also sported extras such as all of the plumbing required to activate an anti-lag system, a water spray bar and pump for the front intercooler, a basic water-injection system, a small hood-mounted spoiler aft of the windshield washers, and an extender rear spoiler mounted on risers. It was the real deal.
Tuning Developments took this technologically advanced car, powered by a 3S-GTE, and fettled with the motor. The hybrid unit in this particular car uses a 3S-GTE head and the stronger block and crank from a 5SFE, the engine which powered the later model Camry and MR2. This resilient package not only displaces more — 2.2 liters — but when fitted with CP Custom Piston Kit, an Eagle Forged Conrod Kit with ARP 2000 Bolts, a Fidanza Flywheel, a Cometic Uprated Metal Headgasket, ARP studs, and a few other goodies, it’s capable of taking lots of boost happily.
The turbocharger used in this car is designed for a broad powerband and great transient response. A custom GT35 spools quickly, and while it’s capable of 513 horsepower with this built motor and the fuel supplied by the ID200 injectors, they keep the boost down so it runs closer to the 400-mark while on track. It’s still enough to outrun a 997 GT3 RS (1:28). In a straight line, even with relatively tall gears, the car is a force to be reckoned with.
Its real appeal is in slower corners. With a short wheelbase and four-wheel drive deploying the power, the car is as effective and accurate as anything. Putting the car on a stringent diet didn’t hurt in this department, either. Truly, it is a shame we never enjoyed this rally machine stateside, and if we had, the WRX owners would think twice before snickering at the Celica rolling up to the car meet.