Freestyle GT Build


New member
Hi All,

About time i started this really, so here goes...........

Well after a couple of weeks away and a little think i have decided to go ahead with the 4EFTE conversion into the Buggy   ;D

ToyotaGT will be doing all the work that i can't handle myself, or just cant be bothered to do myself   :eek:  So most of it!
and is going to be done in stages so that the dent on my wallet is gradual rather than all in one hit!

Stage 1: get Starlet stripped down and engine rebuilt.
Stage 2: get engine into chassis
Stage 3: get everything conected (engine/brakes/wiring etc)
Stage 4: Cosmetic work
Stage 5: IVA work and road registration
Stage 6: Post IVA work and fine tunning


Car was bought by me and a friend last February (2008) off of ebay for £1158. It was originally owned by Essex council and was part of a project to keep convicted chavs off the streets and give them something constructive to do. Needless to say it was a mess!

The car came with loads of bits, most of which we didn't need and everything had to be stripped down and started again as nothing was done properly. It has been given new brakes all round, new brake lines, rebuilt 998cc engine (now getting changed for 4EFTE) and so on.

About a month ago my friend decided that he doesn't want to do this project any more and i have bought him out and now own the car myself.

Its currently being built up for the new IVA inspection and will hopefully be on the road sometime later in the year, hopefully late summer!


Complete mess with all the extra bits that we got with the car!


It really is this small, i like this picture as you can see the tiny size of it compared to my mate!


With the old 998cc mini engine, very soon to be gone :harhar:


Uprated camber/toe adjusters with poly bush's all round.

Then this weekend i went and picked up my new Toy!!!  :whistling:

Sunday.... Drove all the way to Oxford to pick up my new little beast, this will be providing all the main parts i need. Engine, gearbox, turbo, ECU, wiring etc.... Got this little beast from Flrecebay for £600, still runs, just has a bent radiator and it looks like exhaust manifold may also be cracked but now i have all the main parts i need to get this mostly there!

will be breaking off bits i don't need soon!





Dropped this off with ToyotaGT and have collected my buggy to work on while things get put into motion, have to strip it all down and get the old mini engine out of it! Every time i see it again i just can't believe how small it is :)


fits in my garage with plenty of room all round, plus the trailer!!!


Now i can do little bits in the evening, or whenever i get free time!

Stage 1,2 and 3 should hopefully be done with Stage 4 underway by July/August   ;)  

Can't wait for this to get underway and just want to say a big thankyou to James and the team at ToyotaGT who have done so much for me already, i wouldn't be doing this conversion if it wasn't for them!  ;D

Jason :p


New member
*** Little Update ***

Weather held out slightly yesterday morning so got the buggy wheeled out of the garage and started stripping bits that are no longer needed. Pictures don't show much but i have added a few anyway.

Got the old pedal box removed and have ripped out all the old break lines and clutch line as i was not happy with how these where done.

Removed the exhaust system as this needs to be completely remade for the new engine, have kept the crabon fibre bike can though as it should sound great with the starlet engine. :p

Started looking at relocating the battery to make way for the front mounted radiator.

Ripped the rest of the stuff out that i could from the passenger compartment and gave the car a well deserved clean up.......before the rain started.

Next weekend the old mini engne will be out and i will begin modifying the rear light units and sorting out dash panels and some of the wiring.

Exhaust and engine pieces removed......

Back to start on the inside of the buggy.

Hopefully Stage 1 will be underway officially at the end of April, although im waiting to hear from James to confirm exact days   ::)

Thats ya lot for now!

Jason :p


New member
*** Update Time ***

Yesterday i ordered up the Aluminium composite sheet thats going to make up the main panels of the car (sides, rear firewall, front panels, engine cover parts etc). Got 1500x3000mm sheet in Matt black, stealth  :lol:

Today i got confirmation from James @ ToyotaGT that the stalet is now booked in for end of April to be dissmantled, seems like ages away but im broke until then so no choice really! Can't wait for this to start now!!!  

Also managed to get the buggy out of the garage and got the old mini engine out of her so now have a blank canvas.  :D



My bro was shocked at how light the car really is  :D


Blank canvas......not for long  ;D ;D ;D


Here is a few of me sat in the car, can't wait for it to be done.........long way off though!  :(


Got the old engine packaged up, now waiting to go to its new owner   ;D

Hopefully will be getting on with removing front bumper and getting templates made up for panels tomorrow :p

Jason :p


New member
Got a little more done today, Sarah is working the next 3 weekends in a row so have plenty of time to get few bits done here and there! :)

Firstly i got the front bumper bar removed as this is now getting sold as i will be making a new custom front piece.


Test fitted the Chequer plate front piece i have, really like the look of it but i have already sold it as will be having the radiator up front and this will be useless as it will stop the air getting to it.


Got the Mini pedal box dismantled as this will need some parts keeping for the new pendulum pedal box im making up :)


Had some trouble with the universal joints on the steering so spent a while sorting this out but got there in the end!

Then spent the remander of the day getting all the old mini parts together and they are now ready to go to there new owner :)

Also had a little look to see what two seats look like in the car using the two racings seats i just happen to have lying about :)


Hopefully during the week i will get the new side panels made up and rear firewall made. Then test fitting and dash board work will be next weekend. :)

Jason :p


New member
*** Update ***

Been one of those weekends, managed to snap the only M4 tap i had yesterday so had to go and buy a new tap and die set! Then kept snapping drill bits which kept anoying me, got there in the end though. Would have liked to get more done this weekend but at least i managed to get some things done i guess!

Im now working easter weekend, well im on call if anything goes wrong. My boss says i can work on the buggy at work and then just fix things if anything goes wrong but spend most of the day working on the car! They have mig welding gear at work so im going to start looking at welding up the pedal box and a few other bits that need doing soon!

Monday this turned up at work, Matt black Composite panel that im using to make most of the body panels from, nice and light but i may change the panels at a later date to carbon.


During the week i made up the rear firewall and side panels during my lunch breaks.
Got the rear firewall fitted first.


Then the right side.


Gromitted the hole for the wires to stop it rubbing on them, plus looks nicer...........

and left side fitted, along with tax disc holder............although thats a long way off, also added a small ToyotaGT sticker i had lying about :)


and here is a picture of the buggy next to her big sister, my Lexus :)

Spent a bit of time getting alot of the nuts and bolts covered with rubber covers as well to make the IVA go a bit smoother.
Im still unsure where i will be moving the battery to as im not certain where is the best place for it yet???

What do people think so far???

Jason :)


New member
**** Little Update ****

Not really worth doing an update really as i haven't done much but want to keep them regular so i can see how it all came together and keeps me motivated in continuing to build the buggy. Did get a few stickers on the car though :)


Also got the front calipers removed from the car as im going to clean them up, replace the bolts/bleed screws and paint them.

Weather was pretty gloomy saturday so didn't get the buggy out of the garage all weekend. The funds are really tight at the moment so can't really do much till i get paid and im also running out of stuff i can do while its here.

Easter weekend the buggy is getting moved to my work's workshop where i have LOOOOOOOOAAAAAAADDDDDDSSSSSSS of indoor room to work on the car as i please. This also means i can get on with welding and test fitting the front mount radiator.

I have limited myself to spend only £100 on parts during April and then the starlet work will start at the end of April.

Items i have on the list to buy next month are:

* Fiat Cinquenciento Rad £35
* Aluminium for rad pipes £20
* Steel for mounting Rad £5
* Master cylinders/brake components £25
* Powder coating powder £10
* Misc Parts £5

TOTAL: £100

Luckily my work recently invested in a powder coating machine so im going to be using that alot to coat alot of the parts so they don't corrode, what with the car sat under cover for about 5-6 months of the year!

Jobs for the following months before the car goes to ToyotaGT are:

* Weld up pedalbox
* sort out battery mounting
* Test fit/fit front mount Rad
* Make new side mirror mounts
* Rebuild front calipers
* Powdercoat/paint front end parts

Im really looking forward to getting this car up to ToyotaGT but need to do as much as i can myself as im trying to limit the spending on this car, what with saving for a house!

Jason :)


New member
*** Small Update ***

Haven't done anything this weekend as weather was so good and thought i would have a break from it all. Luckily becasue i don't have a date set for IVA i don't have to rush anything so everything can be done properly and i can take my time over it :)

Have been working on it during the week though, before and after work and during my lunch break. Aprils budget has been completely spent on the day i got paid and although i originally posted up a list of items i would be buying, this has since completely changed.

The front calipers where looking a bit tired so decided that this month i would be concentrating on these and working on the front end and getting everthing powdercoated/painted/rebuilt.

I toyed with the idea of buying alloy 4 pot front calipers but decided against it for several reasons, 1: they will provide too much power and will lock up way to easily 2: They are alot lighter, and although this seems like a good thing it will lighten the front even more and i need more weight at this end.

So i decided to rebuild the front mini calipers :) They started off like this.....

Got a wirewheel kit and cleaned them up some what


Then Tuesday these arrived :) New stainless steel caliper pistons, new seals all round, new bleed screws and new brake clevis's (£54 delivered, god i love mini prices :) )

While i have them off the car now is the time to give them about 5 coats of Hammerite to stop them rusting up again, these are not finished but starting to get there!

I also ordered a new clutch master cylinder with built in reserviour bottle (£13 delivered) and got this test fitted to the pedal box



Also ordered the fiat reserviour bottle for the brake master cylinder, black hammerite paint, black powder coat and brake master cylinder seal kit.

Im welding up the pedal box during the week ahead and will be sorting out pedals etc next weekend.

Im working next weekend but have cut a deal with my boss, he is happy for me to work on the buggy the whole weekend and keep an eye on things to make sure they are working fine. If anything is broken then get it fixed and then back to the buggy :)

Will update again at end of next weekend :)



New member
*** Update ***

Going to be a busy weekend so as i have a few minutes free i wanted to update a few things now while i can.

Got the buggy moved this morning to its new home for the next 1-2 months while i work on a few parts till its off to have the engine fitted.
It was hit or miss if the rain would hold out this morning but it did so i shot out and got the buggy to my work's workshop while i had the chance. I now have loads of tools at my disposal that i didn't have before and are so usefull :)

Can work on it when i want now as i have keys to the building and they are open daily anyway. so evenings, weekends, lunch breaks etc

Here is a few of it in the workshop, you can see how much room i have.........




Got the pedal box welded up first, not the best weld i know but its my first ever bit of welding....this has improved dramatically!



I have been toying with the idea of removing the battery tray and moving it somewhere else but thought it made more sense keeping it at the front. I cut the front off and grinded it back and rewelded the front piece back on. I have a strap that will be used to hold it down in place. I would use a smaller battery but weight at the front is a good thing :) Radiator will be mounted just in front of this, when i get a radiator anyway.


I then fitted the pedals to the box and have drilled the holes for the mastercylinders, im currently in the process of rebuilding the brake cylinder with new internals. This was then roughly placed and tacked in place and will be fully welded in place tomorrow.




Will update again later this weekend. :)



New member
*** Small Update ***

Well yesterday i went back to the workshop and managed to get a little more done as it wasn't too busy.

Firstly started with getting the pedalbox fully welded in, was a bit tricky but got it done in the end. A little messy but its in the correct position and will get cleaned up later when it goes up to toyotaGT next month. :)


As im keeping the battery right at the front of the car i can now fit the kill switch, this has been put in the passenger footwell.


and then finally to meet the IVA regs i have had to fit some spacers to the frame to space the mirrors out so they can actually be of any use. Just welded them up and drilled the holes, they will be sprayed up Tomorrow if i get the chance.
I have put a hole in the rollcage padding and slid it over the end mounting point. This covers up the end so will help out at IVA stage as its covering the so called 'sharpe edges'.





Frame is starting to look a bit messy with all these bare metal, primer parts but when the car is all done and i don't need to do any more welding etc then it will be sand blasted and resprayed.

I also had some great news from ToyotaGT, they had a few hours spare last week so they have already removed the engine form the starlet and are starting to look it over! I have been told that on first impressions its in great condition and they will soon be doing a compression test and inspecting it further. I think they are as excited as me about getting this on the road! :)

As always i will keep you all updated when i can.



New member
*** another small update ***

Well went back to the workshop today  and managed to do a few small things. Had to actually do some work today so didn't have time to do too much. I also didn't know where my boss was going to let me keep the buggy so didn't want to completely strip it down only to be told to move it out of the workshop. Luckily my boss has said i can keep it in the workshop and it has been moved out of the way. Now i can start fully breaking down the front end and painting the hubs/arms/etc.

Did get the battery strap fitted to the car so now this ain't going anywhere :)


Then started work on the front discs and hub parts. Cleaned the the rust off the discs, they are brand new but becasue the car has been sat in the wet for a bit they looked bad. Painted the parts i could black.


Then got the adjustable tie rods off the car, sprayed black and then back on the car. I added some bits of clear shrink wrap that will be shrunk over the lock nut when the camber/steering is all finally set up.
These will be coming off again when i do the camber arms and the rest of the hub parts now i know that the car is out of the way i can remove all these parts.


The rest of this month will be me cleaning and painting up parts and rebuilding them back on the car as i am trying to stick to a tight budget and not spend anything else on the car this month.

Jason :)


New member
*** Little Update ***

Been working on the car before work as i have been pretty busy this week.

Got the dual brake master cylinder rebuilt with new seals and internals and even gave it a coat of black hammerite to keep it from rusting.

Got one of the front brake calipers overhauled with new seals throughout and brand new stainless steel calipers, now just have to do the other one :(

here is what it looked like before..........


and here is what it looks like after......... :)



Needs a bit of the paint retouching up but mainly there. Now just have to start the other one.

I know its not much of a update but peoples posative comments usually keep me motivated :)

I will be at the workshop on Sunday as Girlfriend is going to a Ace Cafe bike meet so have some free time :) Hopefully update again then with more done!



New member
*** More pictures :) ***

Was back at the workshop today to get some more things on the go, bit of a pain as its a 20 mile drive each way but at least i have lots of room to work on the buggy and loads of tools.

Got both the front hubs removed and managed to get one stripped down, painted with several coats of hammerite and all back together. Got the brake caliper back on as well so looks all good now.

Have added several pieces of heatshrink to the adjustable arms so that when the camber/tracking is all done it can be shrunk around the nuts to help prevent them rusting and keep it all in place a bit better.

Before i started.......


and after being reasembled.....



Will be getting the brake pads and clips in tomorrow when everything is all dried. :)

Jason :)


New member
*** Little update ****

Well today i thought it was time to turn a little bit of my attention towards the GT, about time i actually looked over it i guess. All i have done with this car is pick it up drop it off with ToyotaGT and take a few pictures.  ::)

Well when i got there the car looked like this............


Im sure there is meant to be something here but couldn't work out what it should be?????

Mess................  :eek:

Decided to have the car is the outcome  :D

They took the engine out over 2 weeks ago! They said they had a little look at it and on first impressions it seemed to be in a pretty good state. Its currently sat in the workshop waiting a good clean down next week before the real fun begins.



He said it took about 2 and a half hours to get the thing out of the car as the smashed front was in the way.

While i was there we both had a good look over the engine and it all looks good, there is a small crack in the manifold but this will be sorted later. There is a real small bit of play on the turbo but nothing im worried about. He did a leakage test on each cylinder and they all came out with around a 33% leak. This involved connecting a gauge up to a compressor and checking each cylinder in turn. any thing up to a 40% leak is acceptable and within the green part of the gauge so all is fine for the moment. When the car is running this will equate to about a 0.005% leak so will be fine.

Going to get the engine in the car pretty much as it is and not worry about changing clutch etc at the moment as there is alot of work ahead of us getting the thing in the car.

As always i will keep people updated when i can.

Jason :p


New member
*** Rims and Rubber ***

Well as i have been working on the front end recently i decided to buy the wheels for the front so i can start looking at making the arch mounts. The existing ones i have are buggered so i need to get some new ones made.

Decided to get some slicks on the car for the moment for a few reasons, going to be doing some track days before the car is road legal and these are so much cheaper than the road tyres i will be using. Picked up 2 part worn michelin racing slicks from ebay for £40 delivered (bargain!!!!!!!). Toyo R888's are roughly £60 each but no point in buying them yet if the car is going to be sat about doing nothing!



Then friday the 2 front wheels turned up :) Would have got a full set but im not 100% sure if i will be using the mini hubs on the front. The wheels i got are the Superlight deep dish 13x7 inch with -7 offset £140 for 2 wheels delivered :) also got a set of chrome wheel nuts from the bay.





Have been trying to get my mate to fit the tyres but he has been too busy so haven't had a chance yet :( But hopefully get them done soon and on the car.

Saturday i managed to get over to TGT and look at the engine, looks mint and im going up there next weekend to rip a few bits off the car and get them sand blasted/powdercoated/painted/polished etc.

What you guys think of the wheels???

Jason :)


New member
*** Small Update ***

Dropped the wheels and tyres off with a mate last night and then he dropped them off fitted this morning at 6:30am, legend! So on my lunch break i got them fitted, what a difference!!!!!!!  :whistling:




one done.........



and both on.........


Completely changes the look of the car now, looks so mean! Just a shame i have to put arch's over them :(

Jason :)


New member
*** Update ***

Got up to ToyotaGT yesterday and spent the day stripping bits off the engine to clean up and paint/powdercoat etc while i have some time. Got the rocker cover, inlet manifold and fuel rail, along with some other bits and bobs.

The buggy is going up to have the engine fitted in two weeks time (can't wait, its finally hapening ) so i have till then to get the bits done and when i drop the buggy off i will refit them to the engine then.

I also have one caliper to finish off and the rear adjustable toe arms to make for the back of the car and look at front arch mounts if i get time before it goes up to TGT.

Anyway today i started work on the fuel rail.

Yesterday i gave it a quick sand blast to clean the majority of the muck off and it ended up something like this........


Completely broke it down to pieces and powdercoated some of the parts in candy red, as thats one of the few colours we have at work.....


Powdercoated some of the brackets i have as well as one of the turbo pipes in the same colour..........





I think the colour on the fuel rail parts will be fine but i don't know about the other parts, i have ordered some hi chrome and gun metal powders so i will probably redo the brackets and turbo pipe and then do the rocker cover and inlet with the gun metal powder.

Started polishing the fuel rail but because of its shape its extremely fiddly so may just powdercoat it with the chrome :)

Jason :)


New member
*** Update ***

Other day i managed to get Alan's fully adjustable rear arms on the car (thanks again mate) . Look loads better and now means i have a greater amount of adjustment available, plus they are rose jointed so loads better than the original ones.



Well the buggy is now with ToyotaGT awaiiting fitment of the 4EFTE  
While i was there i got the engine rebuilt, didn't bother cleaning up too many bits as paint/powdercoat will enevitablly get chipped etc when the engine is being fitted/moved etc.

Anyway here are a few more pictures..................

picking up the car


Turning up at ToyotaGT


Rebuilt engine with candy red bits



The GT isn't scrapped yet so now the buggy is parked up next to it, soon there will only be 1 car here



Not really much i can do while the buggy is at ToyotaGT so im going to spend the next month or 2 reading through the IVA manual and working on a bit here and there. Will be up at ToyotaGT every other saturday seeing whats going on and helping out!

I have left them with a digital camera so hopefully they may take a few pictures as they get the engine in the car, as always i will keep you all updated

Jason :p


New member
*** Another Update ***

Can't believe this but i have just got an email from ToyotaGT.

They have just informed me that they have reached the previously agreed money that i am willing to spend this month. Although this sounds bad, its not! and im over the moon!

They have completely exceeded my expectations and have done what would have taken me 6 months to do in only 3 days!!!!!

They have cut the rear of the frame off and removed the rear subframe, this has been cut in half and rebuilt another 6 inch's wider and painted. They have done some welding that i asked them to do at the front of the buggy and have prep'd the frame ready for the extension. They are now waiting on the steel i ordered a few days ago to continue the build and are keen to get it back to a rolling chassis within the next week or so!

Im going up there on Saturday to pay what i owe so far and will take a few snaps while im there, can't wait for the weekend. Also going to talk with them about how i want the rear made up, i have a good idea that will incorporate some HUGE side intakes to vent air to the radiator/intercooler.  8)

Jason :)


New member
Went up to ToyotaGT today and spoke to James.

Things are going well with the buggy and its all prep'd waiting the steel i ordered last week to extend the frame. I got mixed up the other day and when i thought the frame was going to get extended by 6 inch's i was wrong, its getting extended 6 inch's either side, so its going to be 12 inch's wider!!!!

going to be slightly longer than 12 inch's as well. Front's not getting extended yet as James thinks the handling will be ok, but if needed will get extended later! will still be converting the front to coilovers though  :D

Going to look well mean now!

here are a few little pics i took.


the rear is all ready waiting for the steel so it can get PHAT!!!!!



Im going up there next weekend to work on the front brakes and a few other bits. Money's going to be tight the next few months with paying for this extra work but its so worth it!!!!

Jason  ;D


New member
*** Small Update ***

Went up to TGT today and had a little look at state of play on the buggy.

Coming along nicely and now has the extra 12 Inch's added to the rear that will house the fuel cell, intercooler and radiator. Im going to be pretty broke for the next few months while i pay for all this extra work but will be up at TGT doing a few bits where and when i can.

Here are a few pics of the extension work.





I currently owe them for 3 days work and will be a couple of more days on top to get the thing back to a rolling chassis with maybe engine in :)

TGT are on holiday for 2 weeks from 19th of this month and the car will be remaining there during as not much point moving it about. Going to spend the next few weeks doing as little here and there and reading through the 280 pages of the IVA manual :(