Family heirlooms take many forms. Perhaps jewellery, antiques or maybe old photos. More often than you’d think, though, it’s cars that are passed from one generation to the next.
The GX71 Toyota Mark II you see here has been in Ziyaad Rahman’s family since before he was even born. It was parked up in a shed in 2009, which could well have ended up being its final resting place - a few years on, the Mark II was in a sorry state, with an interior eaten by rats being one of many issues.
That didn’t deter Ziyaad, who decided in 2015 it was time to rescue the languishing Mark II. The key to bringing it back from the brink was a knocked-down donor car imported from Japan, which lent much of its fantastically brown interior. The dashboard, instrument cluster, headlining and those gorgeous quilted fabric seats were all carried over.
Along with the cabin, the donor also sacrificed most of its body panels. So little of the original vehicle remains, that there’s an element of Theseus’ Ship to this restoration. It’s very much a continuation of the same car that took Ziyaad on family road trips all those years ago, though, and we can’t imagine it’ll ever leave the care of the Rahmans.
Ziyaad drove the car for a few years in its restored state, before yearning for more power. That was to come from a single-turbo VVT-i 1JZ GTE inline-six mated to an R154 five-speed manual gearbox, the fitting of which he describes as “almost impossible,” but ultimately achievable even with Ziyaad’s insistence that the swap was to avoid any cutting or welding. Custom mounts had to be made for the engine to sit on, and it wasn’t possible to use the stock 1JZ rear differential, since it wouldn’t fit.
With the power increased to 276bhp, the stock chassis simply wouldn’t do. A Kaaz limited-slip differential ensures power is effectively transferred to the tarmac, while Wilwood brakes are now on stopping duties. BC Racing coilovers replaced the stock suspension, enhanced with some custom-made strut bars.
On the outside, it’s been left fairly original, save for one very tasteful aesthetic alteration: BBS split rim wheels. The new rims plus the lower stance are all the Mark II need to look like something special, even before any passers-by hear the tune being belting out of the exhaust pipe.
Produced at Toyota’s Motomachi plant from 1984 to 1988, the GX71 Mark II was only ever sold in the Japanese market, although the related Cresta and Cressida did make it elsewhere. This JDM gem is an unusual car to see in any part of the world, then, and for Bangladesh, Ziyaad is pretty sure his is the only saloon example residing in the country.
Although this generation of Mark II did have straight-six engine options, none were anything like as powerful as the 1JZ in Ziyaad’s. It may yet get further poke too, with the car described as “a never-ending project but somehow a quite reliable one”.
The GX71 has already proven plenty, though. It shows that there’s potential in the least likely of places, even the old family car you grew up with.