Oh the Alltrac. My 1992 Toyota Celica Turbo Alltrac. I’ve been fixated with this car ever since I saw a WRC rerun of the ’92 Safari Rally with Carlos Sainz on the helm of a GT-Four. Naturally in the beginning, I didn’t know too much about it (the GT-Four). All I knew was that it was bad ass. Well, as bad as a Celica can get I guess. So as I dug deeper for more information about the car, I discovered that it had a competition designed 3SGTE and rally bred all-wheel drive unit. I started to feel that need in the pit of my stomach. Kinda like how a fat kid feels when it needs cake. There was also something about the way the lines flowed on the bulbous, early-nineties design that just wasn’t letting me turn away. With it’s functional hood scoop and flared out fenders, this thing was a tad bit meaner than the more common, very-underpowered, Secretary driven Celicas. From there on forward, I was hooked. No, I was obsessed.
I was about 19 years old when I first took the car home from the dealer. I was with my sister as I gladly traded in my black 92 Celica GT for this far more exotic beauty. This was after a botched attempt at secretly owning a red Alltrac that completely broke down on me, after just a week. Luckily the dealer was more than willing to work with me because of the lemon laws. No wonder it was so cheap. Of course, one little lemon wouldn’t deter me from the car I’ve been wetting myself with for the last 3 years. Obsessing over HyperRev and Option Magazines (whichever had rare Celica GT-Four features) made me a little numb and kinda nutty. Finally I get to have it. Good lord was I panicking when I drove it for the first time. It felt surreal. It was fantastic.
But then I was young, somewhat wild, and fairly irresponsible. I was too caught up in my own issues of figuring out who the hell I was. I felt like the car never really got the attention it deserved. In ’01 it ran a 13.3 on what was basically a stock setup. It had a few bolt-ons like an HKS Intake, HKS Fuel Cut Defender, APEXi exhaust, manual boost controller (I think it was @ about 16psi), a TWM short shifter, and some decent Dunlop tires. I loved the damned thing. Launching an all-wheel drive turbo took a little bit of practice. Once I had it down, the sweet spool of the turbo, and the squat of the rear was all that some cars saw. I say “some” because this wasn’t fast by any means. I did get my ass handed to me several times. This was also the time when the Tuning industry was just about to pass it’s Infant stage. Growing into what would eventually be called the “JDM Yo” era. While everybody was going nuts with their Honda’s, Invader body kits, chrome wheels, and cross drilled rotors, I’m over here losing interest in the car. I actually sold most of the parts that were in it. Now I’m a man of little-to-no regrets, but not doing anything with the Alltrac when I was younger IS that little-to-no regret. This would bug me like a little prick in my ass for years to follow.
So as I “matured” my plans for the car was put on hold. Time and money were delegated to other, more “important” things like moving out, finding a career, buying a house, starting a family, and all that good stuff. Plus I was too cheap to blow it on the car. Perhaps the constant annoyance of discouragement got to me. But of course, my obsession for tuning and modifying Jap cars never faded. Through the years, I had helped friends on several builds, swapped one too many things, and in the process, envied each one of the owners for their dedication to their hobby. Hell, in 2006 I even started my own business selling parts online (shameless plug: http://www.mxpituning.com), just so I can satisfy my need to be around the industry. You can ask anyone I barely know, and they’ll say “oh yeah, he’s into those import car things.” So for a while the car deteriorated and was static, and so was my motivation.
Fast forward to 2010. I’m thinking to myself that I’ve had this f’ing thing long enough. Do something with it, or get rid of it completely! This car was just supposed to be on hold temporarily until I got my shit together! I didn’t mean for it to sit for a looooong time! When I say a looooong time, I don’t mean a few months or several years. I’m talking about a decade! And it was a shitty decade for me in terms of my obsession. Imagine having to constantly look at that damned thing as it sat there. It was nothing short of depressing. A constant reminder of my failure. I felt defeated. I think that this car definitely had something to do with my violent behavior. Lol. [It’s like wanting to become a pornstar, becoming a damned good pornstar, and have it all taken away without even a tube of lube. The only constant reminder you have of the glory days is a picture of a piece of ass, and the memory of how great that ass was!] I was determined to have a taste of that glorious derriere once more.
So I finally said Fck it! I dusted off my decade old plan for the car, and revised it into several stages. Of course being a family man at this point made it financially challenging. I needed to make sure that if I were to build the Alltrac, it would need to be within a certain budget. So the arduous task of parts searching, deciding, purchasing, hording, and scoring began. I also made sure to balance the build in order to avoid having too much show, and not enough go. Or vice versa. I carefully considered each step of the build in order to satisfy my function/form mentality. You also have to understand that the Alltrac is quite rare. The only pieces you will find for this car have either been discontinued, or are ridiculously over priced items sold in Japan only. Of course I had to fabricate a few things myself in order to save. Don’t get me wrong, I love quality pieces. But if there’s a cheaper part that may not be as pretty but works just as well, you bet I’m going for the one that makes more financial sense. Especially when I’m the one on a budget. Of course I can always just save up and wait, but after a decade, I’m not waiting for shit.
After about a year and a quarters worth of work, here is how she sits. Glorious as ever.
She’s not finished yet, but the moment I laid eyes on this finished stage, I felt like a large burden was lifted off of my shoulders. Words cannot express the emotion that I was feeling when I realized that I actually did it. Half my life I’ve been obsessing over building something for myself instead of drooling over other peoples’ creations, and it’s finally happened! With the help of some good people of course. And so I learned a valuable lesson here. That is to “never give up on your vision, regardless of the opposition.” Whether it be from yourself, or others. Does this fix my violent tendencies, now that this so-called burden has been lifted? You bet your sexy ass it doesn’t! That’s for a good reason too. Now she needs more power to go faster. And so the saga continues. Granted I don’t hold in as much anger because everytime I look back at it and smile, I swear to you that damned thing is smiling back. Much love, peace, and elbow grease.
Tune back to this section of MAO for more topics and updates on PROJECT:TURBO ALL-TRAC.