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Bajan bombshell

Bajan bombshell

By Rory Daley

Friday, April 07, 2017    

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To say this 1998 Toyota Starlet Glanza V is one of the most important vehicles of its kind would be an understatement. The achievement that grants it such status is rooted in the acronym ACIS, instantly recognisable by Toyota-philes as Acoustic Control Induction System. This factory-developed mechanism has been adapted from other Toyota models and implemented in the Glanza to near perfection by the owner.

ACIS was developed by Toyota to solve the issue of low- and high-speed performance in several of its motors. On the physical side of things, an ACIS intake manifold boasts two sets of runners of different lengths. The longer runners promote low-end torque and drivability, and the shorter set helps increase horsepower. The runners are operated by a valve controlled by the car’s computer, which operates based on a set of variables, throttle angle, and engine RPM. This system was available on the 5E-FHE series of engines, but never the turbocharged version on the 4E-FTE found in the Glanza.

The owner of this particular Glanza V sought more performance and opted to exploit the larger displacement 5E-FHE motor, 1497cc verses the 1331cc of the OEM 4E-FTE, swapping it in along with a larger turbocharger. He however was not willing to give up on the better response of the smaller engine. This led to intense research on the various methods to delete the dreaded turbo lag. Eventually he realised the solution was right there in his own engine bay, the deactivated ACIS on the 5E engine.

As the Glanza was never sold with ACIS, there was no way for the factory ECU to operate it, thus the need for an after-market solution. As the owner had already added a Greddy e-Manage Ultimate to supplement the fuel and ignition needs for the larger turbocharger, the option for it to operate the Acoustic Control Induction System crossed his mind. That in itself was not new.


There have been a small number of Starlet enthusiasts who have managed to use ACIS on a single trigger basis, usually just RPM. This Bajan owner wanted to have his cake and be able to eat it too. With the aid of friends Ezra Maynard, Andre Brice and his tuner Jason King, he achieved what many had never even bothered attempting — ACIS fully functioning as close to factory as possible.

The engine specification of this Glanza would have been enough for many. Running stock-connecting rods and pistons, a custom trim turbocharger from a Subaru STi with an external wastegate, a Greddy front-mounted intercooler, larger 460cc fuel injectors, and a SARD fuel pressure regulator. Run by the aforementioned e-Manage Ultimate, it generates over 200 wheel horsepower at a modest 10lbs of boost pressure.

What the figures don’t show is the absolute lack of lag when one steps on the accelerator, as ACIS, using boost and RPM parameters all programmed via the e-Manage Ultimate, works its magic, building plenty of low-end torque for off and part-throttle driving. Floor it, and the Glanza takes off, screaming to its 7200-rpm redline with no loss in top-end performance.

Toyota Racing Development (TRD) engine mounts keep the torquey motor in check, while a TRD clutch and pressure plate helps control power delivery to the stock five-speed gearbox.

With engine and drivability concerns out of the way, the owner turned his attention to aesthetics and handling. The Glanza sits squat on 15-inch OZ F1 rims wrapped in Kuhmo tyres due to Meister R height adjustable suspension. Front and rear strut braces keep chassis rigidity high and a rear 20mm anti-roll help the nimble Japanese hatchback handle the narrow Bajan lanes.

A Turbosmart e-boost controller pulls double duty as a boost gauge, while an Innovative MTX wideband gives a live update of engine health through its air/fuel ratio. Brakes were borrowed from another sporty Toyota, the Celica GT-4.

“The car is complete. The ACIS is an invaluable piece of equipment that has enhanced the whole driver experience as both low- and mid-range power increased,” were the few words the owner was willing share with Auto.

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