A blown Tundra truck engine in a steel-bodied Camry funny car that runs close to 9.90 and 150 mph?
You gotta love it on so many levels.
Toyota unveiled this “sleeper” project at the recent SEMA show, but when EngineLabs asked for more details about the powerplant, the beautiful show models surrounding the display weren’t that up to date on nitrous controllers and blower speed. Fortunately the car resurfaced at the LA Auto Show where plenty of folks familiar with the build could fill in the details.
“It started with the sleeper concept,” says project spokesperson Dan Gardner. “The kind of car where you never saw it coming. So, how do you take that concept to the Nth degree?”
Toyota leveraged its partnership with NHRA and Don Schumacher Racing to develop a drivable steel-bodied Camry funny car that would “take everyone by surprise.” Built by Chuck Wade and his team at the Toyota Motorsports Technical Center, the car features a full tube-frame chassis that was certified by NHRA tech inspectors. The body a 2015 Camry with operating doors but welded and fastened to appear as one piece. It’s also hinged at the rear and can raised and lowered with an electric servo motor.
For power, the team bypassed the 358ci race-only NASCAR architecture for a 5.7-liter 3UR-FE DOHC V8 out of a Tundra pickup.
“We wanted Toyota production pieces in the car,” says Gardner. “It’s got a Tundra transmission and rear end.”
Blueprinting the engine
The only internal changes to the engine were aftermarket pistons and connecting rods, though the final compression ratio was not revealed. Otherwise the long-block came together with a thorough blueprinting. On top sits a TRD supercharger package developed for the Tundra but is overdriven slightly to provide up to 14 pounds of boost. The intake manifold is enhanced with a 300-shot of direct-port nitrous plumbing from Nitrous Supply, and the squeeze is managed with an aftermarket nitrous controller.
“The car even has a Toyota ECU,” says Gardner. “It would have been easier to program an aftermarket unit, but the team wanted all Toyota product.”
Custom tubular headers accent each side of the engine and lead to a full-length exhaust system, although there are electric valves at the collector that allow an open exhaust to thrill unsuspecting onlookers.
The engine pulled 620 horsepower without nitrous on a chassis dyno, so a healthy shot of juice should get it over 900 horsepower. The car is designed to run Super Gas times but not over 150 mph.
“That would mean installing a parachute,” adds Gardner, noting that a laundry sack on the back of an otherwise stock-looking car would dilute the “sleeper” image.
The car has been shaken down at Irwindale drag strip but times haven’t been released. Plans call for the car to make exhibition passes in the near future.