When Kiran Halsey set out to build a scene-defining GT86, he had his work cut out – because he hadn’t tried anything like this before. But what he’s achieved here is something mystical, defying the very laws of nature itself…
Some people just really get this modifying stuff, don’t they? Sure, the aftermarket is sufficiently massive and foolproof that anyone can buy a bunch of off-the-shelf parts and put together a decent car, but there’s a certain special something within the chosen few that delivers real results; an intangible, indefinable quality that imbues the modding elite with an inherent and uncanny ability to build jaw-dropping, show-stopping rides. Kiran Halsey is one such person. So when we learn that this is his first crack at modifying a car, it’s necessary to have a bit of a sit down and wipe the double-takes from our eyes. “I previously had an Audi TT TDI which I put some RS4 wheels on, but that was about the extent of it,” he grins, clearly amused by how much he’s shocked us. “This is my first modified car – but I set myself a goal to build the UK’s most outrageous GT86 and, yeah… here we are.”
But why an ’86? Well, the seed of the idea was planted a few years back on a family holiday to the States. Kiran had seen videos online of Ryan Tuerck drifting his 2JZ-powered Scion FRS through the streets of New York (the FRS, GT86 and Subaru BRZ being essentially the same car with different badges), and he was just blown away by the drama of it all. Couple this with the fact that the FRS scene in the US has blown up and gone insane, and before long our man’s fate was sealed. He knew unequivocally what he must do. There was no doubt in his mind.
“I noticed that at the time there was next to no ’86 scene in the UK, other than the older Levins and Truenos,” he recalls. “Not one to follow the crowd, I thought ‘Why not?’, and set about planning something that would define the platform in the UK.”
This car was found in the usual way, scrolling through Pistonheads for weeks on end until the right one presented itself; interestingly, this particular one was markedly more expensive than all the other examples of similar vintage, which piqued Kiran’s interest. On clicking through, he discovered that it was running a Stage 1 turbo conversion, pushing out over 300bhp instead of the factory 197bhp, and also had bucket seats, coilovers and a rollcage. He was immediately smitten and snapped it up. But of course, this would turn out to be more involved than a tale of someone browsing the classifieds and rolling someone else’s project…
“I’ve had it for four years now and at no stage has it ever been – or do I think it will ever be – finished,” he smiles. “My first modification was a set of Bola B1 wheels, which I actually bought before I picked up the car. And it just spiralled out of control from there.” One of the more noticeable elements, as you’ve probably spotted, is the Rocket Bunny V1 kit. This was an early addition, and Kiran was at pains to ensure it was markedly different from every other V1 on the global scene; rather than simply bolting it on, it’s been smoothed carefully into the original bodywork, an absence of skirts or splitters keeping it clean and really accentuating the aggressive girth of the arches. Naturally you can’t have massive wide arches without the right wheels to fill them, and he’s gone über-premium here with a set of full-fat WORK Meister S1 custom splits, 9-inch wide at the front and a whopping 12×18-inch out back. And it’d look a bit mad to be rocking this epic combo without the stance being absolutely on-point, which explains the presence of Air Lift Performance suspension with 3H management. This is a fella who insists on the best, after all, and there are no half-measures here.
“There were three or four different sets of wheels before these ones,” Kiran explains, “and the car’s been painted three different times as well as being wrapped twice. The new wrap is a custom 3M job by Fleet Livery Solutions Ltd, designed by Kyle Wassmer Design. At one point there was a huge custom chassis-mount wing that I designed myself; I swapped the bonnet and bootlid for Seibon carbon fibre items, there have been so many changes. But the biggest change was the engine swap: that totalled about eighteen months of downtime altogether, and I blew the 2JZ about a month after having it back so it had to go straight back into the shop to be forged!”
That’s right. Kiran’s not messing about here. That early glimpse of Ryan Tuerck hurtling sideways through NYC clearly left an impression, and the idea of fitting a 2JZ straight-six was always there in the back of his mind. This is, amusingly, anathema to the purists who insist that the whole point of a GT86 is to have the low-down weight package of the boxer engine, and when we recently told the boffins at Toyota UK HQ about this project, they shook their heads in disbelief. But that is really the point. The aim here was to build the UK’s most outrageous ’86, and whacking a 2JZ in there is a great way to do that.
As you might have deduced by now, this was never going to be a case of simply finding an old Supra motor and throwing it into the GT86 to say ‘Yeah, I’ve done that’. Kiran wanted to do this properly. And that meant not just fitting any old 2JZ, but one that would properly fulfil the overarching brief. When he tells us that it’s been built with 1,000bhp potential on pump fuel, it all starts to make sense.
Let’s take a look at this astonishing two-jay-zed then, shall we? All of the engine conversion and build work, fabrication, wiring, and tuning was carried out by Tom Hudson at Fensport Performance, and he’s created something of a monster. The 3.0-litre straight-six, most commonly associated with running in twin-turbo guise in the Mk4 Supra, is here packing a huge single turbo – a BorgWarner S362 SXE T4 twin-scroll, with twin Turbosmart wastegates exiting their screamer pipes right through the bonnet.
The all-important internal strength is provided by forged Mahle pistons and Bridgeway conrods, and it’s all governed by a Link G4+ Fury ECU – the first ’86 in the UK to do so. This means that, along with the fully tucked engine and body wiring looms and fresh custom engine loom, the car has full CANBUS integration to retain all the factory functions and keep the instrument cluster working properly. It also offers anti-lag, launch control, switchable boost, on-board lambda, e-throttle, closed-loop boost control, closed-loop fuelling on idle and cruise, the full shebang. This is, frankly, bloody clever. Brains and brawn working as one.
“The Injector Dynamics 1050x injectors use an Otaku Garage billet fuel rail, retaining the factory returnless fuel system,” he continues, “which stunningly didn’t struggle at this power at all, using a fixed 4-bar of feed pressure.” And the ingenious solutions kept coming: a Mocal oil cooler modified to fit right up to the 2JZ, a GT86 alloy rad with the inlet and outlet modded to suit the six-shooter, ECU-controlled twin fans, a custom exhaust system made using awesome 3-inch oval tubing from Vibrant Performance… this Toyota is, without a doubt, one of the most extensively and intelligently modified cars we’ve featured.
“I have smashed arches, had huge problems with the car being painted for repairs in a different colour to what it was supposed to be, and lost my exhaust on a four-hour journey which did no favours for my ears,” says Kiran. “But regardless of the money it’s cost and the stress it’s caused me, I love this car and it has given me friends for life. I wouldn’t change a thing.
People’s reactions to it are just the best too – younger people get it, but the older generation? The look of absolute disgust is something very dear to my heart.” And that, in essence, is the purpose. This guy set out to be outrageous, and that’s exactly what he’s done. Furthermore, in the process of achieving this, he’s built a yardstick by which all cars on the GT86/BRZ/FRS platform will surely be judged. Not bad for a first-timer, huh? Some people just have a natural – or even supernatural – flair for this stuff.
TECH SPEC: TOYOTA GT86
Rocket Bunny V1 kit smoothed into body (minus skirts or splitters), full custom 3M wrap by Fleet Livery Solutions Ltd – designed by Kyle Wassmer Design (@designsbykw), Seibon carbon fibre bonnet and bootlid
2JZ-GTE VVTi 3.0-litre straight-six, BorgWarner S362 SXE T4 twin-scroll turbo, twin 38mm Turbosmart wastegates exiting through bonnet screamers, Mahle Motorsport 86.5mm forged pistons, Bridgeway conrods with CA625+ bolts, ARP mains and head studs, HKS multi-layer steel head gasket, 8.5:1 compression ratio, Link G4+ Fury with fully tucked engine and body wiring looms, custom engine loom, full CANBUS integration to keep factory functions and instrument cluster, anti-lag, launch control, switchable boost, onboard lambda, e-throttle, closed-loop boost control, closed-loop fuelling on idle and cruise, Otaku Garage billet inlet modified to accept 82mm Bosch Motorsport e-throttle, Injector Dynamics 1050x injectors – using Otaku Garage billet fuel rail retaining factory returnless fuel system, Mocal oil cooler, modified GT86 alloy radiator to move inlet and outlet to suit 2JZ, twin ECU-controlled Spal fans, custom alloy solid water piping, intercooler pipework and intercooler mounting, 3in stainless exhaust system using Vibrant Performance oval tubing, crackle black and mirror-polished detailing throughout, Excessive Manufacturing VVTi-to-BRZ conversion mounts with custom gearbox mount, all engine conversion, fabrication, wiring, engine build and tuning carried out by Tom Hudson at Fensport Performance, E46 M3 gearbox with CAE shifter, Xtreme twin-plate clutch, custom propshaft, uprated driveshafts, Kaaz 2-way LSD
9x18in (front) and 12x18in (rear) WORK Meister S1 wheels, Air Lift Performance suspension with 3H management, AP Racing 8-pot front callipers, 4-piston rears, J-hook discs all round, ABS system deleted, OBP hung billet pedal box, custom stainless braided brake hosing from pedal box to calipers and clutch slave cylinder
Cobra Suzuka seats, MOMO steering wheel, custom air install by Plush Automotive, Defi gauges