Every weekend, all around Australia, club-level motorsport events are happening.
At these events, there’s often all sorts of weird and wonderful homegrown creations competing, such as the mid-engine V8 Holden Rodeo we discovered at a Winton test ’n’ tune day.
Our latest find, however, puts even that in the shade. The Toyota Lexcen was born from the Holden-Toyota alliance in the late-’80s/early-’90s, for those who liked the idea of a Commodore but found the Holden badge a little too racy.
It wasn’t a hugely exciting package, but Victorian Ian Johnston has livened it up a bit. Describing himself as “a tinkerer”, he’s installed a 6.6-litre supercharged V8, all-wheel drive system and custom independent rear suspension to create the ultimate gravel-chewing autocross weapon.
The engine is a stroked 6.0-litre L98 crate motor with forged internals and topped by a Harrop supercharger. It feeds its power through a highly modified 4L70 automatic and the end result is around 450kW at the wheels according to Ian.
And that’s to all four wheels. The rear differential is a Harrop TrueTrac unit while power is distributed to the front via a Torsen T-3 transfer case from a Chevrolet Trailblazer. Handling front-end traction is the diff from a Holden Adventra, while custom-made driveshafts are the final piece of the puzzle.
Suspension is all custom, though the inserts were Koni once upon a time, and VZ Clubsport electronic architecture enables the car to run full ABS and traction control, though it’s not yet calibrated for loose surface work.
V8 Commodores are fairly common at autocross events, but Ian shooting off the line like a World Rally Car leaving a drag racing bellow in his wake soon gave the game away that this wasn’t your usual tweaked SS.
It’s an awesome bit of engineering, and while it had a couple of ECU hiccups on the day, so far it has been very reliable and incredibly fast. We look forward to seeing it in action in the future.