2003 Toyota Altezza (SXE10)

NZ Performance Car: Hi, Caleb. How did you get into the car scene, and what was the first car you bought?
Caleb: Hey, guys. Like most people, it was because of family and friends. When I started working, a lot of the people I worked with had Evos and WRXs, so I knew where all my pay cheques were going from then on — the first car I ever bought, an Altezza. I had a vision for that one, but it just wasn’t a great base to start with, being auto and not as tidy as the current one, so I flicked it. First car I could say I ‘built’ would have been this Altezza. 

Not a bad first car. What was it about the Altezza(s) that you liked?
It started when I purchased the first one. I wasn’t exactly looking for anything specifically, but I found one for a good price, and it was a huge upgrade from what I would have otherwise bought. I wasn’t sold on them at first, but it didn’t take long, and after seeing the potential they had from ones in the US, I wanted to build my own. 

Nice — international flavour on our soil. How often do you get out and about in it?
Hardly ever, sadly. It was once my daily-driver, [for] three years, in fact — I’ve even driven up and down the country in it. But since it got the full freshen-up, she’s been locked away in the garage.

And what do you think of other Altezzas that have been built locally?
There are a few Altezzas built here that I have really liked. My favourite has to be Kim’s 20B-powered example. With more and more people getting into them now, I’m sure there will be more builds to follow in the future. 

Lastly, would you build another Altezza?
Definitely. If I had it my way, this one wouldn’t be finished, and I’d still be going. Hopefully the next one isn’t too far away, as I already know what I want to do, and what it will be powered by …

Cheers for the yarn, Caleb. We look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

Caleb Thorne
Age: 24
Location: Auckland
Occupation: Waterbender

Engine: Toyota 3S-GE, 1998cc, straight-four; GReddy TD04, custom manifold, Caldina 3S-GTE fuel injectors, GReddy e-Manage ECU, three-inch exhaust system, dual electric fans
Drivetrain: Factory six-speed, twin-plate clutch, TRD lightened flywheel
Interior: Bride Low Max reclinable seats, Grip Royal Chameleon steering wheel, NRG quick-release hub; Defi water temp, oil temp, and boost gauges
Exterior: Resprayed in Altezza blue with purple pearl
Wheels/tyres: 18x10-inch (+5) Work Meister S1 3P, 215/40R18 Jingu
Suspension: BC Gold coilovers, front and rear adjustable camber and toe arms
Power: 220kW on 7psi


This article originally appeared in NZ Performance Car issue No. 248 — to get your grubby mitts on a print copy, click the cover below: