An All-Trac Legacy

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Re: An All-Trac Legac

Postby pero » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:49 am

I'm not sure why more All-Trackers aren't chiming in with words of encouragement or appreciation. Perhaps everyone is mezmerized by the quality of your written word or too many of these young fellas don't know enough about the history of Ferrari or ProDrive to appreciate that you've walked the halls with greatness. I, for one, continue to enjoy every installment and look forward to more. I also have a great amount of respect for your work ethic and that you weren't afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Thanks,
Pete
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2002 IS300 5-speed manual - not so stock
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby DeeCee » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:18 am

Nice story so far. The trip to Prodrive looked like it was a lot of fun :)
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby pero » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:00 pm

Know you're busy, but still looking forward to the rest of the story.
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:46 pm

Yes, I'm sorry about that. I know I'm late in posting. I'm in Georgia at the moment but working on the next installment. :)
1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac
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2003 Subaru WRX
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby pero » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:00 am

BTW, like your car collection list.
Kinda different, yet similar to mine.
-90 Celica All-trac
-94 Accord Coupe, VTEC 5spd
-00 Isuzu Rodeo 4WD
-13 Dodge Caravan (OK, I admit, this one really blows the whole comparison, but we love it. It reeks of practicality.)
-02 Lexus IS300 5-spd (no turbo, but still an absolute joy to drive)

The real fun is at the far end of the garage
-85 Kawasaki Eliminator 900
-07 Yamaha FZ1

Finish story when you can, no rush.
Please hurry though. :)
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Re: An All-Trac Legac

Postby underscore » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:52 am

pero wrote:I'm not sure why more All-Trackers aren't chiming in with words of encouragement or appreciation. Perhaps everyone is mezmerized by the quality of your written word or too many of these young fellas don't know enough about the history of Ferrari or ProDrive to appreciate that you've walked the halls with greatness. I, for one, continue to enjoy every installment and look forward to more. I also have a great amount of respect for your work ethic and that you weren't afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Thanks,
Pete


I've been staying quiet to keep this thread as clean as possible, because it is truly epic and the stuff of legend. Perhaps a mod could create a separate thread for comments to keep this one purely jwgt41's story?
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:52 am

One thing you may notice is my timeline jumps around a bit. I feel it is more important to complete a story in its entirety than to jump around for the sake of chronological order. While condensed for conversation, much of what I share will often take months or even a year from beginning to end. So I do apologize if you get confused. I’ll try to make it as clear as possible.

One of my partners-in-crime over the years has been my friend Sean. He and I first met when I began working on the crew at Ferrari. Though he’s a decade older, we mirror each other when it comes to motorsport interests. He’s a VERY eccentric person, often refraining from conversation unless the discussion somehow turns to his sexual conquests with “ladies of the night”. A close friend Chris and his girlfriend went to an off-road rally with us one year and he remarked that during their travels with Sean, he wouldn’t utter a word. For an hour and a half, Chris attempted to strike up conversation only to receive fragmented answers in return. We were in separate cars, mind you, and I tried to warn Chris ahead of time that Sean is a little “different”, but I don’t think he knew what to expect. So as we reached the stage, Chris and his girlfriend exited the car with smiles and chuckles! I was surprised! After an inquiry, Chris began explaining how reserve Sean was but when his girlfriend changed the conversation and randomly mentioned hookers, Sean blabbed like an adolescent girl at her first sleepover! This is one topic he freely shares and, apparently, celebrates! Historically, he blows his per diem for each race on prostitutes including one time in Italy where he arranged for two women at once! Rock on, man!

Sean is a person who, like me, adores rally. It has been a passion for us both since we first discovered it, though we each had our favorite teams. I was always a Toyota guy, following Sainz, Auriol, Kankkunen while he favored….something else. Around ’97, Sean started taking interest in Subaru. I will freely admit that I laughed when he said that! At the time, I viewed Subaru as I do Kia and Hyundai now (sorry owners). Not that they’re a bad car, but I personally felt that….they were a bad car. Even my stepdad said “You might own a Subaru one day” and my reply was something fairly derogatory. I concede….I ate my words. So when Sean paid cash for his first World Rally Blue GC-bodied RS with gold wheels when they hit the US, I knew he was serious. His heros became McRae, Burns, Solberg and we had a good old fashioned rivalry going! Sadly, I knew the writing was on the wall for Toyota as they announced intentions to leave the WRC at the end of the ’99 season to concentrate on F1, my other passion. But it was hard to take your eyes off this car. It made a wonderful sound with the lines simply melting off a stellar chassis. And so began a slow expansion of the heart, and an equal respect for another marque.

Sean called me one day while in Georgia for a race, saying there was something very special going on this weekend and wanted to see what I could find out. From an acquaintance at the race, he found out that a Subaru 22B was in Maryland. For those unfamiliar, this was a limited edition widebody WRX STI produced to commemorate Subaru’s 40th anniversary as well as their third consecutive WRC manufacturer’s title. 400 were produced for Japan and sold out in 30 minutes. There were an additional 24 cars made for export and zero of those were destined for the US. I believe all cars were right hand drive as well. Now the cars’ specs aren’t all that impressive by today’s standards, but keep in mind it predates the next would-be rally-inspired production car to come to the US by a solid 5 years. And this car can hold its own with STI’s of today.

The car was in Maryland, my home state, for a very specific reason: filming for the television show Motorweek. However, getting access to the car is another matter. The show usually takes their cars to nearby Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia for footage and track time, as well as Roebeling Road in Savannah, GA where Sean initially found out about the car. What else to do but call. You never know unless you ask, right? Well I called the Motorweek studios, based just outside Baltimore, and got the front desk. I began talking with the receptionist, striking up a cordial conversation to earn her trust. Then I asked her about the 22B. She admitted there are so many cars that come through there, it’s hard to keep track of which is which. But she agreed to patch me through to the producer of the show, Dave Durso for some more information. When I was able to talk to Dave personally, I explained who I was and where I worked. I’ll admit you gain some credibility and leverage when you mention Ferrari, and it has helped me in the past. We talked about Ferrari and other sports cars for awhile until the conversation turned to the 22B. Dave paused for a moment. He then said that in all his years at Motorweek, there has been no other car drawing more attention than this one! He had received multiple phone calls from car clubs and individuals alike asking about the car, and he has no idea how they found out it was there. He was truly amazed and then he asked why it was so special. He didn’t know how rare the car was but, more importantly, how it would act as a catalyst for things to come. Between Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Bentley….nobody cared as much as they had about this car.
I asked Dave bluntly “Can we come and see it?” We wouldn’t be able to come until Saturday, as Sean wasn’t back from the race yet and I had to be at the shop all week. He said he’d be more than happy to show me the car but unfortunately he would be out of town on Saturday and the car departs for NJ on Sunday. But what he said next would continue to surprise me even to this day. “I’ll leave the keys with the receptionist and you guys can get them when you arrive.” I was delighted, having a swarm of butterflies erupt inside of me! He followed by saying that the clutch was thrashed from all the journalists that had driven it. When it arrived at Motorweek, it was very nearly gone. Being a rare car, finding a replacement on this continent is impossible. But we are welcome to start it up.

The day arrived and we headed to Owings Mills early. The studio was only open from 8-12 so we wanted as much time as possible. As expected, I drove my All-Trac, just in case there would be a photo opportunity. Upon arrival, the friendly receptionist greeted us and handed over the keys as if it were a rental car, not knowing what precious gem she held in her hand! We exited stage left and found the car in the parking lot, positioned so that the transporter could collect her the following day.

She was magnificent, representing all that we could hope to get back on U.S. soil one day! Sadly, America would have to wait another half-decade to get something close to it. This car now resides in Subaru’s museum in New Jersey, and it is rumored to be one of two in the country. I was fortunate enough to have seen two of these, the other belonging to David Lapworth at Prodrive during my visit in 2000. Below is a link to the episode as well as another more current review of the car. I've also thrown in one I've found about car 000! Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv-IJpTXh1U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rKsC3y3v00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIsEcPGdMZk
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:55 am

goodness!
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:57 am

...
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:59 am

:shock:
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:02 am

superb!
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby grimmythereaper » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:57 am

i vote to make this a sticky so this story can be easly seen by anyone looking for some kind of insperation on their car or in life :)
They call me HADOKEN bc im DOWN RIGHT FIERCE
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby jwgt41 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:12 am

The beauty in owning a vehicle is personalization, and being able to make it just the way you want it. From wheels and exhausts to engines and suspensions, whatever your taste… you can make it an extension of yourself. Your car says something about who you are, and I needed mine to say something about me. In my ongoing quest to find parts, I came to the grim realization that there simply wasn’t much to be had. Each new hope brought disappointment in its wake, and the problem each and every time was recognition. The All-Trac by no means left an impression on the motoring community. There are better, more interesting things to play with, and the All-Trac had been largely forgotten. I read an article once in Car and Driver that brutalized the car. It was condemned for being too heavy and having the handling prowess of an elephant on a slip-n-slide. With little reason to invest the time and effort, it’s no wonder there was very little in the aftermarket world.

My first hunt was for an exhaust. HKS made a standard cat-back sport exhaust, as well as Greddy and Pacesetter. I wanted something else. I traveled down the HKS road, picking up what they called an “Aluminized” steel exhaust for my GTS. These were just too plain and, in my mind, a small shift away from a stock exhaust. It was not what I’d call a “performance” exhaust. As any kid, I wanted a stainless steel 3” exhaust! That would give me the performance and durability I was looking for. Then I learned about backpressure and the ongoing debate of “How big is TOO big?!?” Personally, I‘m of the opinion that there is such a thing as “TOO big” and suddenly 3” wasn’t necessarily the target anymore. But it still left me in the same spot. So what to do? I rang up my friends at Demon Tweeks and asked what they could acquire. Their suggestion was to try the OMP line, a manufacturer of race parts including seats and roll cages. There were two inherent problems though….price and availability. And I still wouldn’t get what I wanted out of the exhaust. I’ve had enough, and realized I need to go directly to the source….Toyota Team Europe.

Finding them was no easy business. But eventually, I tracked them in Cologne, Germany where they still reside today under the moniker Toyota Motorsports GMBH. On display are some of their beautiful creations, including the mighty GT-4. I eventually located a phone number and rang them up. As expected…a German guy answered. I tried conveying my message but to no avail. Despite the English language being widely taught throughout Germany, this guy had none. Eventually, he passed me along to someone that spoke English and at last, progress!

My phone manners have developed over the years, with the most successful approach beginning with an introduction, followed by explaining what I’m after. Cutting through all the bullshit is much better than leaving the person on the other end waiting for you to get to the point. Takes the stress out of the situation. Ovё was a polite fellow, well-versed in broken English. And for a moment, I thought I might be talking to Ovё Andersson, father of TTE. But it ended up being another “Ovё”.

Ovё helped clear up a few things up and explained that much of their Celica parts were available for purchase. Some time had passed and the car was no longer needed for WRC competition, meaning there were no “secrets” left to divulge. And race teams fiercely guard their secrets. But, there was a problem. He had no one to spare for the inevitable questions, pricing, and transaction details. Therefore, he suggested I contact Fraser in the UK, a former engine builder for TTE and still a very active figure in motorsports. He admitted it sounded unusual but it will make the transaction much smoother since he knows what parts are available. And there wouldn’t be a language barrier.
Fraser is the person I alluded to in an earlier post about my trip to England. He was located only a short drive from Prodrive HQ in Banbury, making it an ideal stop while touring. Fraser would become my “key to the kingdom”, allowing me access to most any part I would like. Race parts, however, come at a price and some simply shouldn’t or won’t be suited for a street car. But the timing couldn’t be better, as TTE was looking to liquidate much of their rally parts to make room for F1.

First order of business….an exhaust. Fraser was very helpful in the process, advising which parts were better suited for the US version road car. There were several exhausts to choose from, but it was imperative to get the right one. Some exhausts were fashioned for a specific rally, having the muffler on the opposite side of the car. So it became clear how crucial his expertise was. Ultimately, a Group A exhaust wasn’t in the cards, simply because the nature of the power plant and because its requirements were so different than a Group N machine (which mimics more of the factory requirements). The antilag system in the WRC machine alone would cause fitment issues, and it just didn’t make sense. I opted for a Group N exhaust, coming in at a modest price. Because Germany was still using the Deutschemark, the exchange rate was very favorable! Suddenly a $4000 exhaust became affordable.

Fraser helped me through the process, including the payment transaction. He acted as a broker of sorts, taking all the grief out of the buying process. However, most parts would ship direct from Germany. The exhaust was ordered and I was anxious to see it in person! I remember the package came in on a Swiss Air flight and I had to go to the airline shipping office at Dulles to pay for the customs and duty. I was in there for so long. And it was a bit nerve-racking since I’d never done this before. After over an hour of waiting, I finally picked up my package. And it was huge! In fact, it’s still in my basement housing my factory exhaust. The first thing I noticed was there were no bolted flanges. Everything was slip-fit, with two welded tabs on each pipe. The exhaust was constructed of stainless steel, with the diameter falling in the 2-5/8” range. As expected, it’s completely open, without baffles or cats, though it does incorporate a muffler. As the GT-4 creates a tremendous amount of heat under hood, my intent was to cool things down as much as possible. I sent the downpipe out to get coated at Jet-Hot, which delayed installation another 2 weeks.

You’ll notice in the photos that there is a catalytic converter on the center pipe. It’s a cat from a junkyard 240Z that I hollowed out and wrapped around the pipe. It’s strictly an outer visual piece for emission inspections and doesn’t contribute to operation in any way.

On a side note, I’d like to extend my sincerest appreciation for all of your feedback! It makes my day when I read your comments, and keeps me on track for the next installment. I do apologize for the increased delays. Things have been so busy lately, but you’ve all been very gracious!
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1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac
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2011 BMW 335iX
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby underscore » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:09 pm

I have very few words to properly describe my jealousy over a genuine TTE exhaust. Thank you for sharing the info about how many different exhausts they had, I never would've imagined they had more than one setup.

Now of course I must request one thing - do you have any videos/sound clips with the TTE exhaust?
★ 1991 GTFour RC ~ "Rebel Scum" ★
It's for sale! http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=52181
Build thread http://www.alltrac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=44216
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Re: An All-Trac Legacy

Postby ALLensTRAC » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:55 pm

I love this thread!!! You have a way with words that only comes with true experience! Something the reader can feel not just read. I hate reading novels but I could read your story all day!

I am glad you still have the box because that TTE stamp with the 185 is awesome!!! That's like the icing on the cake for an authentic TTE anything lol! What's next did they provide a TRD front/center LSD set at the exchange rate?
Allen

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