The Honda K24 four cylinder is a hot ticket to bulk horsepower on the cheap, which is why Brendon De Ruyter has slung one into this 1983 Toyota Celica to make a killer small-tyre weapon.
Brendon will be bringing the Celica all the way down from Queensland to Victoria for our five-day Drag Challenge drag ‘n’ drive event that kicks off next week (31 January – 4 February), but this isn’t the first time he’s entered a quirky Japanese car.
He made an appearance at our 2020 Drag Challenge Weekend event in Queensland with his AWD, B18C turbocharged 800hp Honda Integra , driven on that weekend by mate Benny Wilkinson. It ran a best of 9.82@145mph, though Brendon eventually sold the car.
“I got sick of breaking gearboxes with it, and the AWD was getting too complicated,” he says. “So with the next car I wanted to go RWD with a ‘Glide and nine-inch so I’d stop breaking that stuff.”
The Celica before Brendon started tearing it apart
Brendon wasn’t necessarily interested in the Celica as it was; more so the potential it had. “They’d have to be one of the ugliest cars out there, but the wheelbase was right for what I wanted and the engine bay had enough room for the K24 and turbo gear,” he says. “So I got it from my mate and turned it into what it is now.”
As the owner of the Auto Perfection workshop on the Gold Coast, Brendon had all the tools and know-how to get the car done. He converted the rear end to a nine-inch, re-doing the floor to accommodate both the diff and Powerglide transmission.
The front of the car was also renovated to accept the north-south converted K24 Honda mill, which involved changing the original front end for an AE82 Corolla one. “The Celica one had all the garbage for the flip up headlights there, and I wanted the room for more important things,” says Brendon. Plus, we’d argue it makes the front far more presentable.
With a new turbo, aftermarket rods and a set of head studs, the Celica set of PB of 8.39@162mph.
Since then, Brendon has built a new K24 with a stock crank, Boostline rods, Wiseco pistons, Drag Cartel cams, Ferrea valvetrain and a CNC ported head. That, combined with eight 2000cc injectors, Haltech Nexus R5 management and a new G42 turbo saw the Celica make a peak of 1012rwhp at 8755rpm on 40psi.
“That new engine and turbo has given us a lot more headroom, so I’m keen to see how far we can go with it now,” says Brendon.
It’s been a last minute thrash to get the new engine in and tested before Drag Challenge next week, with tuning happening just two days after Christmas last year.
Brendon is having his mate Daniel Smith do the driving at this year’s DC, and with minimal testing on the new combo they’ve already managed to get the Celica comfortably into the eights with an 8.53@160mph during a session at Willowbank Raceway.
The boys have also undertaken critical testing people often overlook: on the street and fully loaded with the trailer on the back. That’s allowed Brendon to data-log any weak points of the car, and has already prompted him to make some set-up changes around cooling for both the engine and gearbox to handle the lengthy road miles they’ll be encountering at DC.
When we spoke to Brendon about his Celica, the car was already in transit from Queensland, and his goals for the event were similar to most combatants. “Honestly, with a car this fresh I’ll just be happy to finish it,” he says.
“I came back because I had such a ball with the Integra when we did it for the weekend event, so if we can make it through and have fun I’ll call that a big win.”
Brendon will be taking on the Tuff Mounts 235 Blown class, and says he’ll be uploading daily update videos from the event on his Auto Perfection YouTube channel, which is also where you can check out the rest of his build series on the Celica.
You can see the Celica, and every other other competitor, in person by following this link for Drag Challenge spectator info.
Keyword: Video: 1000hp, eight-second K24-powered Toyota Celica coming to Drag Challenge