I’m not what you would
call the average car modifier. I'm now in my mid 60s and
have been retired from work for a couple of years. A pair
of dodgy knees has prevented me from doing most work on the car
so I have to pay to get things done – doesn’t stop me from
trying on occasions.
Why did I do the
It was a combination of
- My previous car had been a AE92 Toyota
Corolla GTi with the 16v 4A-GE engine producing 129bhp but my
current car, an AE111 Corolla SR, only had 109bhp and I was
missing the extra power and torque.
- Adrian Smith at Fensport had put a 2
litre turbo 3S-GTE engine from a Celica GT4 into his Silver
AE111 Corolla but that had essentially been a one off job
requiring lots of fabrication and lots of man hours to get it
right. I didn’t want that level of complexity in a daily
driver so Adrian suggested the 4A-GZE instead.
- I had recently joined the Toyota Owners
Club (TOC) and have seen some posts there saying that good low
mileage 4A-GZE engines were getting difficult to locate.
- At the time my car insurance was due for
renewal. When I contacted the broker and asked how much
extra I would have to pay for a 4A-GZE conversion outputting
165bhp they said about £100 a year.
- A friend who I had worked with for 10 or
more years had been researching his family tree and found that
all the males on his side of the family had died from heart
problems before they were 60 years old. He had jokingly
said that he would be next to go and within two weeks he had
had a heart attack and passed away in March 2003. As he
had been only two years older than me it made me contemplate
my own future a bit………if I was going to do it, it was going to
So the die was
cast. I phoned Fensport and ordered a 4A-GZE AE101 Levin
front cut – they recommended Kevin Clarkson at S & M
Services in Droitwich to carry out the transplant. I
talked to him about the conversion – and the rest, as they say,
- The enthusiastic guys at Hinds Garage in Barry have been great
to deal with. I've known one of the mechanics there for
quite a few years, Steven has owned an E11 and an E12 Compressor
which he highly tuned. This is now my go-to place for work
on my Corolla.
- I’m very lucky to have been directed to
Kevin . He’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable about
Toyotas and has probably done most things on his own cars that
you might want to do on yours.
- Fensport supplied the front cut and lots
of other parts together with help and advice.
- Merlin Motorsport have supplied me with
parts and advice.
- John at Merlin directed me to Track
Developments who have sorted out my front suspension problems.
- Mark Harrison at Owen Developments
supplied and fitted the Aquamist water injection system and
also supplied, fitted and mapped the MoTeC M4 EMS.
- Mark pointed me to Stealth Systems in
Southampton who provided me with a proper exhaust system.
- I must also thank the parts department
of the Toyota main dealer in Newport who always want to know
what’s happening with my Corolla when I go there for parts and
never give me any hassle.
- But the biggest thanks have to go to my
wife who has been as enthusiastic as me when it comes to
“getting it right”.