Craig Thommes had always wanted a Merkur XR4Ti and found one in good condition in Arizona 10 years ago. The factory 2.3 L turbo Lima inline-four was worn out so he rebuilt one with more power. Eventually Craig grew to want more power and dependability as a daily driver.
Craig turned to Jake Reed to work on the solution. Jake has a lot of experience working with the Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 and once the team realized it would fit, it only took Craig one look at the 1UZ power band to decide. To get the engine to work Jake had to make a custom oil pan and custom mounts for the motor, transmission, radiator and fans. He was also able to get the Merkur automatic shifter to work with the Lexus A340E automatic transmission.
This car was intended to be daily driven so everything had to run with factory dependability. That required a lot of wiring by Craig to make sure everything works as it should. He also kept the air conditioning because no one wants to sweat on their drive into work in the summer. A Lexus SC400 cluster was installed which gave the dash a factory look and allowed all car’s vitals to be monitored by the driver.
Another goal was for the car to pass all California emission tests. Craig was happy to find it passed easily and now sports a window sticker by the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board.