Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. Your first car is a Volvo (naturally), but you want to explore other aspects of car culture so buy multiple Japanese cars hoping to make your way to your ultimate road machine. But some do not seem right; You still need some Volvo magic in your life. What do you do
In the case of Nick Kurkey, after owning dozens of JDM legends, including an R32 Skyline, three MkIV Supras, a Honda S2000 and a Toyota KE70, he settled into two cars: a 1970 Toyota Crown, similar to a 1970 Toyota Crown. The old Volvo, and a 1977 Toyota Celica, now with the Volvo Twist. I’m going to show you these two builds, but let’s start with Nick’s great MS55 sedan.
I first saw this car in 2020 during the annual Japdays Meet in Mantorp Park, and knew then that I needed to get a closer look. Two years fast forward, and I find myself standing outside Nick’s garage in southern Sweden, five hours from where I live. It was a nice drive despite the black clouds above.
I arrived to find the crown behind a trailer. For Nick, it’s a never-ending story of problems, and just a few days before the shooting he wasn’t sure it would last. But by some miracle, Nick brings it to life and supports it from the trailer.
Compared to my GT86, the crown is Huge.
I feel like Nick is a pretty spontaneous kind of guy, and he tells me how he ended up with MS55. Nick saw an ad for Crown during a random Facebook Marketplace browsing session, and the next thing he knew he was driving to Junkoping to pick it up.
At first glance, the car looked amazing, something like a barn was found, but within a year or so, some suspicious ‘fixes’ began to show themselves. Their remedy is an ongoing process, but all part of the classic car ownership experience
Externally, Nick holds Toyota stock. Preserving the Crown’s body seems to be a good idea as the price of an old Japanese car rises, but looking at his celiac, I don’t think preservation was the main reason. It’s just the look he wanted for this particular build and it’s hard to argue with.
Where Nick made a change in the wheel and tire sections. The rare 17 × 10.5-inch Panasport C5C2s wrapped in 245-section Toyo Proxes T1Rs not only gives the car an aggressive look, but also serves a function based on the level of performance the powertrain offers. The road has plenty of rubber and space for modern supra brakes.
The opening of a heavy steel door to the crown reveals most of the car’s original interior, which is in good shape as it is 52 years old.
The only additions are a few new analog gauges and a new (old) steering wheel. Nick could have gone all digital, but sometimes it’s hard to lose simplicity.
Even under the hood, Nick’s approach is subtle. OK, a 3.0L 2JZ-GTE can be as fine as a large single Precision T62 with a turbo.
A 500hp 2JZ is definitely a big jump from the MS55’s original 110hp, six-cylinder 2M engine, but according to Nick it’s not too crazy. After all, the Crown is a bit of a cruiser for him.
Nick says the hardest part about building an engine is finding all the parts for it within a limited budget. Including eBay and Facebook Marketplace Secondhand Turbo which now sits in the Boostalgic manifold from the USA, and with the Sard Racing ECU. The latter is a rare JDM item, surprisingly owned by Nick before. He was only able to get his hands back on it when one of his old MkIV supras crashed and came online.
You may have noticed the Crown’s original 4-speed shifter knob in the interior photo, but don’t let that fool you – there’s a MkIII Supra R154 5-speed gearbox that backs up this 2J swap and has a Ford 8.8-inch rear end.
Mixing classic looks with modern performances is a build approach taken by many, and while some Gremlin still nurture their heads in Nick’s Crown, this slipper-esque creation is a testament to how great the idea can be.
Now, wait until you see her silica …