You've been lectured by your girlfriend, abused by your boss, pushed around by customers and you spilled your daily iced, blended mocha on your favorite pants... All that before lunch! But you have made it. It's 5 p.m.-you hit the door and are greeted by a setting sun and the promise of sanctuary. If you are Jesse Hsiao, you can still easily save the day on your ride home. You see, Hsiao's ride is the first turbocharged 2000 Toyota Celica GT-S. This pressurized decompression chamber provides the adrenaline overload needed to wash away the bad taste of a long day.
We decided to try our taste buds on the Celica and wrestled the keys away from Hsiao for a few days. When it comes to taste, the ALT Celica is a Sour Bomb lolipop that zaps the taste buds so hard, your face almost caves in as you involuntarily pucker and squint. The turbo spools eagerly and seems to deliver thrust quite low in the rev range-and it keeps on giving the higher the rpm. The Celica accelerates enthusiastically with just the slightest hint of torque steer.
Since the Celica is ALT Wheels'...
Since the Celica is ALT Wheels' project car, the company was quick to bolt on a set of its latest creations-the X-Phile. The Toyota flexes 19x8 wheels and Toyo Proxes rubber. The six-spoke 19s fit perfectly with no rubbing even during lock-to-lock maneuvers.
At speed, right foot stomps bring about a surge of speed. When boost hits, the Celica was not as savage as some other turbo'd street cars we've driven- most notably Project Serious Sentra. But one must remember this car was rolling on 19s, which are considerably taller than the stockers and therefore harder to break loose. The power delivery of the Celica was more linear and the car was much more controllable when the power came on. We throttled the car pretty hard, but refrained from high-rpm launches. We are very curious what kind of number the Toyota would turn at the strip.
One of the cool things about a quickly spooling turbo is Pressure Flexing-spooling up the turbo and jumping off the throttle to sound the blow-off valve-in the presence of, say, an early '90s Camaro. It was fun; the Camaro lost. The car did everything well, the suspension was communicative, but not overbearingly rough, and the gearbox was a gem. The B&M short throw shifter and ACT clutch made a dynamic duo. The clutch provided proper clamping force without going overboard on pedal pressure and the shifter delivered quick access to all six forward gears.
Nestled in the upper portion...
Nestled in the upper portion of the console are A'PEXi boost and exhaust gas temperature gauges.
The door panels, headliner...
The door panels, headliner and sun visors were also wrapped in red.