Archetype - Project

Quinn here! Welcome to project Archetype! Before we get into the meat of it, I'd like to share a little back story:

I've owned a lot of Corollas. 28 to be approximate? 13 of those AE86s, and many of them were E7's modded to be similar to AE86s. 16 years ago, Corollas were what I learned to drift on and to this day are still my favorite cars to drift in.

The Backstory:

Earlier this year I was given a 2017 Subaru BRZ for free. It seems wild, but free cars are a common part of my life and a big part of why I've owned so many cars in my life so far. I often like to make use of other peoples junk to make my life better. This BRZ had a problem.


The engine had dropped a valve, and the dealership refused the repair. Thomas a local driver had bought the car, cash outright in 2017, purely to learn performance driving in a RWD car. This was the cheapest RWD with the best reputation of motorsport versatility so he went to the dealership and purchased it.

For 3 years it spent every weekend at a different track day: Auto-X, Lapping days, drag racing, drift days, and all other events he could participate. In between it was a rolling office for his work. So within those 3 years it racked up nearly 80,000km. Much of it on limiter. It was inevitable that it would drop a valve, and inevitable that the dealership would reject the repair. It was well used and the owner wanted to move on rather than repair it.

It wasn't long, and really serendipitous that I received a facebook ad sent to me for a 2017 BRZ engine with only 17,000km on it. It seemed too good to be true, but after investigating thoroughly it seemed to exactly...I mean...exactly what I needed. We hopped on the next ferry immediately.

After leakdown testing it in the carport, we pulled the doors from Liams Corolla, fit it where the backseats should be and wandered it back home.

It wasn't long to get the motor in, bolted up, and running. It was also comical at the ease of it.


Understanding Archetype:

One stipulation of getting the car for free was I am expected to help others with their drifting. It was a request of the previous owner that I use this to improve drifting in whatever way I can.

After drifting so many cars in so many places of the world, and being poor for my whole life, my personal experience has led me to know what I like and dislike about drifting and how to improve vehicles on the cheap.

Archetype began with the idea that we'd take a stock BRZ and make it drift like an AE86 for as cheap as possible. To make the path for another owner just getting into drifting, on an extreme budget, able to follow an easy path to a great feeling car.

Feeling is the important part. It's not about numbers. It's not about bragging measurements, it's about feeling more in control and more connected to the car to ensure confidence and agility. It's about seat time at low costs with fun and confident results.

Part 1:

Our first step was to revert the car back to stock. I worked hard to find even the original tires for the car as best as I could as I wanted the car as showroom stock as possible.

It's important to drift the car as stock as possible, as we want to modify as little as possible, as minimally as possible to focus on the core of our Archetype goal. One complaint I have with current modifications of the car is their aimed at people with deep pockets and high resource pools.

After doing a few track days with our stock setup it gave me a good idea of what I liked about the car, and what I didn't. I can say, it doesn't drift like an AE86.

To sum up: Transitions, off throttle, and gentle initiations were tricky with the car compared to an AE86.

I spent some time doing a think about why these things just didn't feel quite right. I managed to sum this up in a pretty simple list:

You can find a large version here: Big Version

It's now a few months in and we've started on our biggest problem, locking the differential. The stock Torsen works great for snow or rain drifting, but isn't great for higher grip surfaces. Torsen is short for 'Torque Sensing' differential. Meaning, the diff only locks on throttle, while under load. This means that if you ever let off the throttle, or the wheel speed and road speed become very similar, the differential will unlock regardless of the drivers wishes. This is a problem with consistent and graceful drifting. You often have to drive the car really hard, high in RPM and always on throttle to maintain a slide.

This is a Spool. It's generally designed for offroading. However the BRZ is an exceptionally cheap car. Every part of it is manufactured to be as minimal as possible. This is a bonus for us as the 8" G-Code Toyota differential is extremely common and very bulky diff. This means the splines, ring gear and bearing shoulders are shared with the Toyota pickup trucks.

We spent a day measuring the diff to see if it would fit into the car.

To sum the video up. The diff almost fits perfectly. There is some small changes that need to happen to make it fit reliably. I've been speaking with the manufacturer to make these changes.

This is the biggest change. A spool locks the diff all the time. It's the same as a welded differential with the benefit of not destroying your stock differential, not needing a welder, and reduces the likelihood of broken diffs and axles. It also actually adds power slightly as it reduces driveline weight drastically.

The diff is the huge change. We're starting with this solution first. Trying to the modded diff and reassessing from this point. The differential is 80% of the problem with the car. So we want to isolate this change to truly get the impact of this change.

On top of this is changes to front lower control arms. Adding camber and caster to hopefully improve the leading tire contact patch during a drift, but also improve transitions and steering speed.

Ecu changes are already in the works, and we have special hardware and software tools arriving soon to help remove some of the torque dip and turn off some of the unhelpful features of the car. Again, the goal is modify as little as possible to make the car drift well.

Other changes are in the works as well, including changes to power steering, seat belts, and knuckles! But these are only there if they need to be. Until we drift with the modified differential, we can't assess what value these other changes will make.

If you like this project, feel free to contact me on instagram or email and we can chat more!