Team Rockport, Introduction and Day Zero
Rare sight of a rarer 2.4 Liter Turbo variant of a 90s Toyota Crown ripping the streets of an industrialist fictional town in the West Coast. Also no, not the I’ll be using
“21 days till the race begins” said Leo
“Considering the condition of the car, I think we got enough time to work on it and reach our destination,’’ said Zack, as he’s driving his 1990 Toyota Crown outside of Rockport City. Just another kilometer, and he and Leo would be out of this industrialist, rotten city.
“Ya sure about that? The car looked like a rust bucket to me, from the brief view I got of it. I’d be surprised if it even works”
“And why would you be surprised exactly?” Zack looks back at Leo with a hint of annoyance and confusion, which made Leo choose his next words carefully, as he realized that he must be missing a detail or two.
“Isn’t it a 14 year old road going version of a track car? It’s supposed to be quite unreliable, and not to mention how much the body is rusted now.”
“If you’re worried about the body, you should know that it’s all Aluminum just like its track brother and has almost identical features.”
“Looks nothing like the track car though… did they do that on purpose?” Leo said with a smirk.
“Seems like it, they made a factory sleeper to fool the cops and what not. I’m not too worried about the body. I’m sure we can work on the body in a workshop if there’s considerable damage and we have enough time.”
“Okay forget the body, how’s the engine? It should be pretty much beat to death!”, Leo looks genuinely concerned now. He has driven enough older cars in his life to understand that older performance cars have absolutely beat up engines that can die within minutes.
“Well after some extensive research and some asking here and there, I found out that the engine is apparently extremely reliable for a perf tuned engine. It also has Low friction cast iron pistons for some weird ass reasons, but since it doesn’t rev too high, that’s not an issue. The block is also made of Cast so it doesn’t die quicker like Alu blocks, but since the header is AlSi, it’s light enough.”
“I’ll have a look at the specs online as well… wait it’s a DI engine? Damn, a DIPC system from 2005, that too with performance tuned intakes and long tubular header setup. Also it’s straight piped… jeez!”
“Yeah I think we’d need some help with the fuel system, not gonna lie. I have no one known in the West Coast to help me with this kind of stuff though. And I wouldn’t trust anyone with this car either, it’s a hidden gem…”
“Well it looks kinda shit”, Leo stops Zack halfway. Zack restrains himself and sputters out,”We literally agreed to the fact that they probably made it look like shit on purpose, don’t be a twat and cut me off like that!”.
“Okay man, you’re the boss,” Leo rolls his eyes and looks away.
Leo trusts Zack more than anything else, even though he has only been questioning everything so far. Probably just his nature. Zack continues.”So, I don’t just wanna let any mechanic handle this car and work on it. Who knows if they might nick a part or completely ruin something.”
“Understandable. Speaking of which though, Hey Google! how much did the ‘05 Vector E3 GTS cost?” Leo asks to his smartphone.
“250,000 US Dollars”, ``replied his Google assistant, as Leo tries to restrain himself from having a heart attack.
“Dude chill, Google’s stupid. It probably looked up the price for the E3 GTR and not the GTS,” said Zack. Double checking the screen confirmed that indeed they were looking at the price of a GTR trim, the racing version. A new search result indicated that the E3 GTS trim cost about 60,000 US Dollars when it was new.
“Sheesh dude, that’s still a really hefty pricetag. I thought the race we’re getting in limits us to cars that are priced around $500 when buying used”
“So? What’s wrong?”
“The fuck do you mean by what’s wrong? Who’s gonna sell a 60 grand car for less than a grand?”, Leo bursts out.
“Let’s put everything into consideration. The car kinda looks like a wannabe toy race car. It has a yearly service cost of at least $2000. Most mechanics or buyers won’t dare touch it because it’s got really advanced parts, like Electronic LSD, DIPC and sequential gearbox, for its time. The whine it produces from the straight cut gears, the rumble coming out of the mufflerless exhausts and the 4.7 second 0-60 time can pretty much throw off most people. This car may sound like it’s built on exactly what a gearhead wants, reliable engine, safe and secure, noisy as hell, has proper interior and entertainment system, can drive sensibly or absolutely bonkers and also somehow manages to have great fuel econ. But all these come at several costs that most people won’t be willing to take.”
“Hence the stupidly low price your seller is asking… I see now. How far away are we from him?”
“32 more kilometers, so not too long,” said Zack as they finally reached the outskirts of Rockport. The 2.4 liter Turbo straight 4 howled mildly as he put his foot down on the accelerator.
About 20 minutes later, they reached the sellers designated location. It’s a junkyard, who would’ve thought. Zack takes a good while to process everything before looking at Leo and heading towards the entrance. Leo followed. Before Zack could ring the seller’s number, a guy from inside the junkyard started waving at them. Realizing he’s the seller and was anticipating them, they walked towards him. 5 mins of introduction and chit-chat revealed that this car used to be in possession of a filthy rich guy’s 16 year old son. The car drove perfectly fine when it came but due to the fact that the previous owner had no idea how to drive a performance car of this caliber, the fuel system was somewhat damaged.
Dis ain’t no junkyard tho, chief
“No shit, it’s damaged. Such a complex fuel system was used in the engine, and it had to deliver all this massive amount of power. All at the disposal of a 16 year old fuckboy,” thought Leo. He looked at Zack, who was discussing about paperworks and what not with the seller.
“How did this car even end up in the junkyard if all it had was a mildly damaged fuel system?” asked Zack. Turns out, the previous owner had a strong belief that a car should never fail to run properly if it’s a good car. If it’s good, no matter how much you throw at it, it should run just fine.
Zack and Leo looked at each other as cringe and annoyance became their prime facial expressions. The seller started laughing at their reaction,”Oh you two are glad that you didn’t have to see that twat complaining about his ride. He was mumbling and ranting that Vector cars are cheaply made bad cars worth pennies and no more. Especially this one. I even told him that it’s easily fixable, but no, he won’t comply. He just left it here and never looked back. In fact, he didn’t even come asking for any money,”
“Wow, and the reason why you’re selling it at only $550 is because you haven’t been able to sell it to anyone in all these years?”
“Pretty much, I’ve taken good care of the car. I didn’t restore it and let it stay as it came, but I made sure none of the parts deteriorated. Drove it every weekend to ensure it was fine.”
“You never thought of turning it into a project car?” Leo interjected.
“I’m a busy guy with a family to feed and loads of logistics to take care of all by myself, man. So no. No project cars for me and I’m not interested to do one either”
“Fair enough, I’d say we take it, eh Leo?”, quickly said Zack.
“Wait what?”, Leo was left speechless. Zack is never hasty with anything and is rather skeptic in nature. This is the first time he’s seeing Zack this much excited.
“Why do you wanna buy it right away dude! Let’s have a test drive, check all the parts out, maybe take one or two days to decide or something?”
“The man’s just said he’s been taking care of it for years. And besides instead of letting it rust here for no reason, let’s take it. I like it, `` Zack said in a weird manner.
“That is so not like Zack, he’s talking all weird and shit. I wonder why.” thought Leo silently in his head.
“Look Leo, I don’t think we’re gonna get a better car that can push 400 horses and cost this less while having proper parts inside it,” this time Zack is impatient.
Leo suddenly understands that Zack is up to something or probably noticed something important. After a few seconds, he agrees with Zack and decides to buy the car off.
“Congratulations guys! Now you two are the proud owners of an ‘05 E3 GTS. Have fun with the ride!”
Zack rings his little brother up, who doesn’t live too far away from here, to take his Toyota Crown. After a few mins of chatter, Zack heads towards the parked E3, Leo follows his lead. After getting inside the car, they realized a few things:
- The seats are sport seats but are somehow comfortable.
- The AC is working but only up to a certain point, and sometimes it just coughs up cold air, like older Lamborhinis. “Yeah the AC would require some DIY fixing,” said Zack.
- The stock electronics are somehow still working very fine, although there are some voltage spurts which they noticed. Probably the battery needs changing. Some rewiring also wouldn’t hurt. They’ve both worked on cars for more than a decade and know just enough to fix most of the issues this car might have.
- The rear seats need to be stripped off for weight reduction and more space to carry spare parts. The ride is also quite low so they need to be careful about how much weight they’re carrying.
- The sequential gearbox shifter is quite different to conventional manual shifters, as they expected, obviously. Zack has driven cars with sequential shifters before, and so has Leo, but they all had flappy pedal shifters and not old school stick shift style shifters like the one in this car. So he’d need some adjustments.
“Can you fucking believe, that we got this for $550 bucks? And even if we’d have to pour some money or man hours in it, it would definitely be worth it.” said Zack, excited to the brim.
“Totally dude, we got it for basically no money at all. Even if it wasn’t for the race, I think we’d still be pretty lucky with it,” even Leo can’t help keeping his excitement.
“So what are we waiting for then? The starting point’s about 200 kilometers away. Let’s stay at a cheap hotel somewhere close to it. Oh, and let’s make sure we’re close to a workshop as well. This car needs some servicing for sure, no matter how much pristine condition it is at,” said Zack.
“I’ll plan our commute then, give me a few mins as I find a decent place to stay with everything in mind. Let’s keep an eye on how the car behaves while you drive it though.”
“Definitely,” said Zack as he put his put down gently on the accelerator. The big 4 Liter V8 came to life and growled gently, like a caged lion, ready to attack.
“I think I just had an eargasm, dude” said Leo, unable to restrain himself from sounding like a 4 year old who just found a new toy.
“You’re not alone buddy,” replied Zack with a huge grin, as he left the junkyard and came down on the main road. “Man I can feel it, it just wants to go!” exclaimed Zack, in a calm but somewhat unsteady voice. Soon they would be on the main road, and Zack would be able to put his foot down hard.
TO BE CONTINUED……
[Reserved for Day Zero]