When you think of a Toyota Prius, you probably don’t think of tire-shredding performance. Instead, you probably think about fuel economy, hypermiling, and the sunlight that reflects ever-so-perfectly from the rear window into your eyeballs while sitting in traffic. However, this particular 1JZ-swapped Toyota Prius will change the way you think about the efficient little hybrid—forever.
Meet Kasey Eastman’s second-generation Prius—a creation that shouldn’t exist, but thankfully it does anyway. Eastman reportedly purchased the economy car just over a year ago for $250 with the idea of turning it into a proper drift car. Thankfully, the plan unfolded as expected. He procured a Toyota 1JZ-GTE VVTi powerplant and managed to stuff the turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-six into the tiny econobox.
In order to fit the 1JZ motor into the same space that the Prius’ 1.5-liter four-cylinder once sat, Eastman took on the challenge of fabrication work, tubing the front end of the car and cutting a suitable transmission tunnel into the car’s undercarriage so it could send all the power exclusively to the rear wheels.
To make the car suitable for drifting, Eastman utilized front suspension components from the Toyota Cressida and AE86 Corolla, and even adapted a custom four-link rear suspension. Power delivery was also important, so to enable the car’s rear wheels to turn he coupled the car’s five-speed gearbox to a Ford 8.8-inch differential. The result is a turbo-spooling, tree-hugging, tire-slaying monster that you can’t help but love.
Despite the car missing its headlights, not being in great, err, physical shape, and its ignition switch flopping around while the car slides sideways, this Prius is exactly the type of creativity that makes being a car fanatic fun. It’s quick and it’s one of a kind—and that’s a very good thing—unlike this Liberty Walk Prius.
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