NO, the headline isn't wrong. Astute Toyota fans will quickly recognise the chassis code for the first-generation Altezza. Built from 1998 to 2005, its function was to challenge the dominance of the rear-wheel- drive German sports sedans. It took a while to do so, but in the meantime the Altezza has been getting a second wind, especially due to its liberal use of the Toyota parts bin. Roland Gooden's 2002 model is a perfect example of what can be achieved.
"I loved the shape of the car from the first time I saw it," Gooden told Auto.
Originally a pickup guy, he bought the Altezza after seeing an ad in the paper making it the first-ever car he'd owned. However, Gooden was unaware of the level of modifications done to the car from Japan.
"It came with the full HKS package," he said. HKS is one of the largest aftermarket tuning companies in Japan with a worldwide reputation for high-quality parts and vehicles.
From the outside they've stamped their name all over the car with badges and logos moulded into the subtle bodykit. The tuning expertise is mostly under the hood and suspension. In its home market the Altezza was available with an inline six-cylinder motor and a more powerful, naturally aspirated four-cylinder, the 3S-GE. In this Altezza, the 3S has returned to its turbocharged roots via HKS/Garrett ball-bearing turbocharger.
The turbo breathes through an HKS PowerFlow air filter and exhales through a large HKS Hi-per exhaust system. An HKS front-mounted intercooler along with transmission and oil coolers provide cooling. Power figures haven't been confirmed yet, as the HKS FCon-V that controls everything has yet to be accessed.
"It's fun to drive," said Gooden.