The Other Guys: 5 budget Toyotas to build epic projects from

The Other Guys: 5 budget Toyotas to build epic projects from

By now you’ve may well have seen our Budget Toyota Showdown where we put two very different $4000 Toyotas up against each other. One is a late model 1.6-litre Corolla, and the other is a V8 Majesta. If you haven’t seen it you can CLICK THIS LINK HERE to watch.


However, if neither of those examples of Toyota Motor Corporation engineering blow your candles out, froth your coffee, or perm your hairdo, then there are stacks of other left-of-field project car choices from one of the world’s biggest car companies! Here are three left-of-field options if you want to build a different Toyota.

 Toyota Paseo

While the Starlet GT is a ripper little performance car, if you’re after something with the same underpinnings but a slinkier coupe body Toyota actually made the Paseo two-door coupe off the same platform. Only offered in a wheezy naturally aspirated combo, plenty of people have swapped Starlet GT drivetrains into these wedgy 90s coupes for not much coin. Add wheels and maybe a bodykit and you’ll have a front-drive wedge-shaped rig that could pass for a cut-price Ferrari.

 Toyota Corona

Toyota’s three-box suburban sedan offers old school cool on a budget price. With the prices for pretty much anything with chrome bumpers and rear-drive layout skyrocketing these days, Toyota’s Corona stands as a bargain option.

Slammed on cool wheels these cars make awesome cruisers for not much outlay, giving old school chrome bumper flair with Toyota reliability. Plenty have copped engine swaps, from 1JZs, LS and UZ V8s, rotors, SR20s, and others. Check out this killer Corona from NZ Performance Car magazine [CLICK LINK HERE] for a sweet example of how good they can look.


Toyota Corolla Wagon 4x4

In the late 80s Toyota brought out a 4x4 wagon variant of thr Corolla, pairing the Corolla’s handy small size with off-road mild capabilities. Lifted or lowered these long-roof variants of the evergreen 90s Corolla platform never fail to draw attention and provide good times. With the Corolla’s epic aftermarket there are a world of options for making one in your own style, from pavement-scraping stance lord to bush doofin’ beach master.

 Lexus IS200/IS300

This one will ruffle some feathers because A) it's technically not a "Toyota" and B) prices are actually starting to rise, but the Lexus IS200 and IS300 are an epic platform to build a killer car out of. Drifters are already snagging these things up as they're a well-built rear-drive platform that can swallow a crazy number of different engines. They're not as cheap as other cars on this list, but if you're looking for a well-built, safe and reliable car that could double as a daily and turn laps on a weekend, the baby Lexus is tough to beat. Our mate Mechanical Stig has built one on his channel, first with a supercharger on the two-litre six-cylinder engine, then with a cammed V8 swap!


Toyota Aristo (JZS147 & JZS161)

Finally, the big-boned Aristo sedan shares its bodywork and interior with the GS300 Lexus but while the luxury GS didn't come with a turbo the JZS-variant Aristos scored sweet 2JZ-GTE power, baby! Some people will laugh that I've suggested these cars on a "budget" list, but compared to other 2JZ-powered, rear-drive options from Toyota, they're deadset bargains and way more practical to boot. The big four-doors have a long, proud history in drifting and can look ridiculously cool when lowered on JDM wheels. 


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