Nothing stirs up a car debate quite like a good ol’ engine swap. We even posed the question of ultimate motor transplant on the Hagerty Forums last week, receiving a wide range of responses. No one, however, dreamed up the unpredictable combination within the 1994 Mustang GT featured on Matt Farah’s channel The Smoking Tire. Lurking beneath the battleship-gray hood isn’t an American V-8, but Toyota’s legendary 2JZ inline-six. And with all the questions around the new 2020 Toyota Supra being more or less a BMW underneath, this wild build is a visceral reminder of why the twin-turbo Toyota straight-six is considered such a beast.
Why go through the trouble of not only replacing the old 5.0, but making the entire thing California-legal? Like the swap itself, the reasoning isn’t straightforward. After the original V-8 bit the dust, the owner, Stephen, decided a heart transplant was in order. And his time spent working at a performance shop specializing in Toyota Supras made the choice in donor vehicle pretty clear.
This Mustang is more than just a cobbled-together project—it’s truly a cohesive and well laid out build. The engine itself is 2JZ-GTE twin-turbo inline-six, complete with fully-functional stock emissions equipment. The inclusion of these items means that this car is California smog legal, no small task for a new car, let alone a 25-year-old Mustang with a Japanese engine. A few bolt-on modifications boost power from the stock 320 horsepower, to around 350.
The rest of the car follows the same attention to detail. Power is sent through a Supra’s Getrag V160 six-speed manual gearbox, and distributed to the rear tires via a 2003 Mustang SVT Cobra independent rear suspension (replacing the stock live axle). A suite of Maximum Motorsports suspension components keep the ’Stang planted and a 2000 Mustang Cobra R steering rack removes slack and adds feedback to the steering wheel. The interior is surprisingly untouched, with functioning stock gauges, cloth bucket seats, and tan wheel all looking straight out of 1994—only a keen eye would notice the revised shifter for the new transmission.
From what we see in the video, all of these parts appear to have completely transformed the car into a quick and well-sorted canyon-carving machine. And while a bit surprising at first, the turbo-six noises coming from the Mustang don’t actually seem out of character for the car, bringing some import flavor to an average Mustang.
What are your thoughts on this Japanese engine transplant? Was it the right choice or a missed swapportunity? Let us know in the Hagerty Forums below.