Now this is a rarity, not often will you find a pretty much factory standard car appear on the pages of Garage Awesome, that’s right, not a single modification, no track battle wounds, no trips to the bodyshop, no fancy imported parts and no boot full of a sound system that a club in Ibiza would be proud of.
‘Why is it here then?’ I hear you ask. The answer is very simple, it’s ours, or more specifically our photographer; Coop’s. We read a lot of ‘blogs and other websites looking for inspiration, events or just general news that we think might be of interest to us, and you, but the same question rears its head all the time… what do the people behind this website drive themselves?
So, this is where we set out to give you an insight into our own lives, we’re not journalists and photographers by trade trying to make a quick buck out of the modified car scene, this is something we do and have done for, collectively, the best part of 20 years, so we feel it’s important to show you exactly what we do, how we do it and why we do it and the reason we’re all here, to check out the cars!
With that explanation in place we would like to introduce Coop’s new project for 2011; his 2001 Toyota Yaris T-Sport. Coop’s car history is probably the shortest and simplest of the 3 of us here at Garage Awesome, starting as many do at 18 with a fresh driving licence in hand, with a small-engined, very basic hatchback. Vauxhall’s Corsa seemed to fit the bill, and it didn’t get anymore simpler than Coop’s first one; a 1.0 litre, 12 valve, 3 cylinder Envoy model, finished in blue. It had electric nothing, and didn’t even have a rev counter, something that Coop did try to sort but managed to forget just how many cylinders his engine had… but that’s another story!
In late 2007 an upgrade was due and when a cheap Corsa 1600 Sport came up, he took it and began his modification process turning it into a more than capable little track car… I know this as he came bombing past me in my much more powerful car on the Craner curves round Donington Park during a track day session… but that’s also another story!
With a few niggling problems, and having a car with no interior through the harsh winter, as well as a young niece to think about, Coop again decided it was time to move on and this time away from Vauxhall’s popular hatchback. The brief was simple, he wanted to have a car with plenty of mods available, one that was reliable and comfy, with enough room for a 2 year old, and all the paraphernalia that goes with a 2 year old, but still have the looks and be able to switch into a track car easily when he next gets the opportunity.
A few cars were thrown about, a Clio 172 was a front runner for a while, along with a Civic Coupe and a Suzuki Ignis but eventually it was Toyota’s sporthatch that Coop plumped for. A trawl through Pistonheads and eBay threw up a few and Autotrader put some others into the mix and shortly after his search had begun, the tidy 51 plate ‘Super Red’ Yaris T-Sport was on his drive!
The Yaris seems to be fairly underrated in the modified car world, but with renowned Japanese reliability and a big following both Stateside and in Japan, parts are plenty and ideas are there to match, we have seen ones from Max Power, who made a FWD drift car, tyre supplier; Marangoni made a rear engined one and there are a few in the UK scene that have been turbo and even supercharged.
The standard 1.5 litre lump is very revvy, and the white, centre-mounted gauges see it easily rise through the range in all 5 gears. The bodywork is very tidy for the year, a good T-Cut and polish saw it brought back up to bright red, although one of the most common faults with modern Toyotas are the alloys, and these unfortunately haven’t escaped the corrosion, but a refurb is on the cards as a temporary measure while Coop is on the lookout for a replacement.
So there we have it, one of our very own staff cars for you to see, and with this being a nice, fresh, new project it’s prime for giving you updates as the year progresses, in fact since this shoot took place there have already been a few minor tweaks made to the Yaris and with Coop keen to get this ride capable of handling his track expeditions as well as attracting interest on the show scene, these ideas and modifications are set to continue throughout 2011!
The remainder of our cars will be seen on here at the end of February and March so keep it Garage Awesome to see how real enthusiasts get on in real life, with real day to day cars!
Pic Credits – Rich Cooper/Robbie G