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Hideously pointless and possibly insane.


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As long as everything goes to plan and there's no obvious reason why it shouldn't I'll be picking up a sweet little 01 Celica 190 on tuesday.


It has a one and a half months MOT and looks like a tidy motor although it's hit 186,000 miles on the clock. Funny enough, just a couple of thou more than my Avensis has right now. I will probably enjoy driving it until October, quite a bit I suspect.

That is when the horror show begins and it may well start next weekend because against every last bit of advice and opinion I've received this baby pocket rocket is in truth nothing more than a sacrifice being made to the greater glory of my Avensis.

As my next project and a massive one at that is to taking that magnificent 2ZZ-GE heart out and make it beat anew in the body of my 02 Vermont vvt-i.

Possibly it's my imagination or perhaps a degree of over sensitivity but I'm sure I can feel the bemusement, disbelief and even scorn of a number of purists and realists alike.

Do I have any appreciation at all of the potential complexities and pitfalls of such a mad idea, or that's what I'm sure most who read this will be thinking.

It's impossible, it's just plain pointless not to mention stupid beyond belief and at best why would you even want to do such a thing because if you did pullnit off you'll be left with basically what's still a well past 15 year old £600 mk1 Avensis.

All I can say is I've considered the arguments deeply and the complexity and practicalities aside I can't think of a single good reason not to forge ahead with it as if it all comes off I'll still be the owner of my faithful old Avensis but she'll be rather unique and quite trick indeed which to me is better than any expensive, fancy alternative.

As for the engineering, modification and most of all the  roadworthiness and safety side of things that is where the true satisfaction and sense of achievement lies. I have a long history of car modifying, of researching into my ideas and of being very realistic about what is both possible and impossible so have good solid grounds to feel confident in attempting the task plus seeing it through.


I fully intend to chart my progress and post updates along the way although once I have removed what I require from the Celica I'll be at least rebuilding it and mildly modifying it too before the actual transportation stage begins.

Even then I'll be not only strengthening and preparing my car for its new innards but taking a lot of time to size it all up before anything begins.

Wish me luck 👍👍


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Bob, that is a big and interesting project. I will link you to a post where a Celica 6 speed gearbox was fitting to a 1.8 Avensis -

I am trying to find another post where someone else (I think from Scotland), Also installed a gearbox into a Mk1 Avensis 1.8 vvti. 

What you should do is make a video of the Celica and how it drives with it engine, then Avensis before and after the running gear swap. Obviously the 2ZZ and gearbox combo will drive differently, especially in lift mode. In a way, it is like having a much more revvie engine and closer ratio gearbox, compared to my current Mk3 1.8 manual Tourer.   
Anyway Bob, this has to be the most unusual project.   

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Ok thanks Konrad, yes I certainly intend to document it with videos and photos etc as it's a mammoth task and a lot more involved on a whole different level that fitting a 2.8V6 Cologne into a Cortina or a rally spec Redtop into a 1.6 Cavalier which I've both done.


My post was a little tongue in cheek being more about what to 99.9% of people would be a complete waste of time with just an olf Avensis still to show for it but it's actually the difficulty and the complexity that makes me want to do it.


For a lifelong car nut who left college 6 months before getting my engineering degree this would be it's equal.

I don't mind admitting that it'll be great to shock a few Honda vtec andnTypeR drivers lol

The question of the transmission is one area I'm anticipating being troublesome, even more. than the electronics, ecu's etc. I can see me. having to make or adapt some form of hybrid Avensis/Celica mounts or perhaps even use a 5spd trans if it comes to it.

I've spent countless hours pouring over and digesting everything thing I could find about the 2ZZ-GE aswell as the Celica itself working out if it is possible, viable and looking for that one thing that proves it to impossible which I haven't found.

With some mild tuning to get it over the 200bhp mark it will take the Avensis into the territory of the likes of the Sapphire Cosworth or similar which is  potentially quite scary as when new it was designed for about 125 bhp. A 75-80 bhp increase or over 50% more power effectively would probably make the standard body/chassis of a T22 near undriveable but with the fully uprated adjustable suspension I've already fitted it's already a different driving experience with the original motor. It'll corner, hold the road yet is incredible controllable at speed.

It handles unlike any other T22 I've driven so with some strategic strengthening of the frame and Shell aswell replacing all the existing bushes, ball joints,tie rods etc to make it should have the ability to cope far better with the extra power.

I've no doubt there will be challenges I've not even contemplated ahead but that's kind of the point 😊😊

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The T22 Avensis has used 8 engines - 6 petrol from 1.6 to 2.0, and  two diesels. Hopefully the mounting solution will not be a problem. The electronic side (ECU and wiring) is for the experts, like yourself. 
I have years back been in a 3.0l Mk4 Cortina and a 3.0l Landrover with a rams head on the front bumper. That Landrover is still running and my friend will never part with it.
Bob your car will be unique.


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