In the late 80s, there was a surge in the demand for stylish, hardtop sedans in Japan. Fueled by rampant economic growth thanks to a booming consumer electronics industry, times were good and the Japs wanted sleek, pillar-less and sporty sedans since things were looking up. Cars like the Toyota Ceres, ED and EXIV flooded markets not just in Japan, but in places like Bangladesh. Now, two decades and just as many global financial meltdowns later, these cars are often cheap, severely abused and in urgent need of TLC.
Nafees Imtiaj Ahmed's 1994 ED is one of the last hardtop models to be released by Toyota. Based on the concurrent Celica ST2xx chassis, the ED was a bit of a weird mix – it had the looks of a sport sedan but not much power, it had the dimensions of a mid-size luxury sedan but not much space, it was originally highly priced but lacked equipment to justify it. The ST202 ED, then, was very much a sign of the times that birthed it – confused, not very potent and yet, with a boatload of potential in the right hands.
Nafees knows a thing or two about taking an underrated car and fully realising its potential. His original AE111 Sprinter GT has had its motor turned all the way up to eleven, and in some circles in Dhaka's automotive scene, he's called “The Professor” – not just for his profession as a university faculty member, but for his ability to wring the most out of his cars. When it came to the ED, a simple 3SFE would not do – he needed to go all out and give it some proper conversion therapy.
That came in the form of a halfcut – a ST205 Celica GT-Four World Rally Championship spec one, to be precise. Toyota had won a significant number of WRC events with the bug-eyed ST205 GT-Four, so there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the 2.0 litre turbo 3SGTE motor, AWD, differentials and homologated suspension components are a winning combo.
The swap was more straightforward than expected, says Nafees. The ED, since it shares major chassis design areas with the Celica, snugly accepted the 3SGTE, complete with WRC-spec anti-lag and a massive Japspeed aftermarket air-to-air front mount intercooler. The rear differential and AWD drivetrain went up without any hassle – the FWD ED already has mounting points marked, and the GT-Four exhaust route is different from the base model, making it a simple affair once you test-fit the various items. The fuel tank was an issue, however – the Celica GT-Four has a trunk mounted fuel tank while the ED has a floor mounted one; the issue was finally solved by fitting a Toyota Crown fuel tank in the trunk and routing the fuel lines from there.
The few additions made by Nafees make the ED stand out even further – the TOM's Tec ECU is ultra-rare, optimising the power-band so that the 3SGTE is responsive even when it's not on boost, aiding the anti-lag system in making sure the motor is always on power. On the road, the ED's violent acceleration even at low boost hints at the explosive power hiding inside its understated, almost boring body. Don't get us wrong – the ED is nice to look at, but it's a shock to find out that this car can almost give Mitsubishi Evos from the same decade a fair bit of challenge.
The rally spec suspension and AWD gives the GT-Four ED a sure-footedness that makes it useable on any road condition, with plenty of power put down on the ground. Over broken roads, dirt, rain soaked tarmac – the ED powers through it all with the kind of confidence that only rally-bred genes can afford it. It's a fantastic project car that has had its full potential realised. Nafees Imtiaj Ahmed loves his ED, loves driving it, and it shows.
1994/5 Carina ED Exciting Version GT4 AWD 2.0 turbo
Complete GT4 conversion from ST205 Celica GT4 WRC
3sgte WRC Group A rally spec engine with E154F 5MT LSD gearbox.
OEM ST205 Celica GT4 rally spec braking system, suspension and shocks/spring with front / rear strut/sway bars.
OEM ST205 Celica GT4 rally spec LSD rear differential and front full cross/hanger swap from Celica GT4 CKD.
OEM ST205 Celica GT4 clutch pressure plate.
Aftermarket additions -
TOM’S Tec Tuned ECU.
Japspeed free flow SS turbo downpipe.
Japspeed big Front Mount Intercooler with piping.
Greddy Profec OLED Electronic boost controller.
Zeitronix ZT3 AFR with wide-band O2 & ZR1 digital gauge.
Wallbro 255 lph fuel pump.
Aerospeed Fuel pressure regulator.
HKS SSQV4 Blow off Valve.
NGK Powercable spark plug wires and Denso Iridium VK22 Japan spark plugs.
Fujitsobo exhaust with full 3 inch SS turbo back.
Continental Sport Contact 3 tyres 225/45/R17 all 4, bought brand new and barely driven.
Custom made rear lower arm brace for chassis reinforcement.