Ryan Tuerck Turns a Humble Toyota Stout Pickup Into a Drift Monster

The smartest guy in the sport just can’t keep busy enough.

toyota stout ryan tuerck
Mark Vaughn

No one’s ever actually calibrated the brain power in the Formula Drift paddock, and there are certainly a lot of very smart guys setting up those 1000-hp rear-drive cars to go sideways very smoothly and very quickly. But if they ever did rank them in order, Ryan Tuerck would certainly be up there among the top. He’s like The Professor on Gilligan’s Island, with a little Father Mulcahy from MASH, and maybe some of the Christopher Reeves Superman all rolled into a RWD drift cage going sideways making tire smoke.

Tuerck is a professional driver in Formula Drift, the nationwide touring show where drivers try to get a car sideways and hold it there, door-to-door with a competitor, making tire smoke and sliding through a prescribed course before a live audience that is itself usually a little over 10,000-strong (with hundreds of thousands watching on formulad.com). Tuerck’s been on the Formula Drift tour since his first drift competition in 2005, placing as high as second in the championship. He currently drives a Toyota Corolla drift car for four-time championship-winning team Papadakis Racing.

toyota stout ryan tuerck
Tuerck at work at his day job in Formula Drift.
FormulaD.com Photo by Larry Chen

But Tuerck may be better known for his off-season hijinks. He is the guy who stuffed a Ferrari 458 V8 into a Toyota 86 just because it seemed like a good idea, creating the crazy 4586. That car has generated nearly 70 million impressions on social media since its inception in 2016. Recently he put a Judd V8 Formula 1 engine into a Toyota Supra for similar reasons. Both cars worked splendidly.

And now he has done this, perhaps somewhat tame by Tuerck standards, but no less intricately engineered. It’s a 1966 Toyota Stout pickup truck, a vehicle that started out as a body-on-frame compact parts hauler. It was even intended to tow a trailer, using all 86 of its stock horsepower and all 100 lb-ft of its stock torque, though the trailer certainly couldn’t have been very heavy, could it?

“So I was in the middle of another build project with my friend Dominic (Biro) building what is now the Formula Supra, and I was approached by TRD and Mobil 1 to do another build project,” Tuerck said at the SEMA show where the car made its debut. “They told me to come up with a project, present them with something.”

There was no shortage of ideation going on in the heads of Tuerck and friends.

“So my friend Dominic was doing some research and he found this really old pickup truck from Toyota. We found the actual truck in San Diego. So that was really close. I was like, ‘This is a match made in heaven.”

The team swung into action. “We scooped that truck up quick, presented the idea to TRD and Mobil 1, and they signed off on it. So then we went ahead and just started coming up with the actual game plan on how we wanted to build the car and with what parts and what engine and drivetrain and so on, and so on and so on.”

toyota stout ryan tuerck
The Stout in CAD.
Ryan Tuerck

By the time they were done there wasn’t much left of the original Stout. First, the team @chairslayer did a 3D scan of the body, then removed the body and did a 3D scan of the chassis. With the entire truck now in digital form, the team started designing the build based on a CAD model created on a computer using the scanned data.

The truck was rebuilt at Kibbetech with a complete 1 ½-inch chromoly tubeframe chassis so complex it makes the Birdcage Maserati look like a Tinker Toy. Fabricators fabbed sheet metal to fit in and around the tubeframe, while still more talented builders at ADV Fiberglass assembled the body you see in the photo above, based on more CAD scans.

The engine is a 3SGTE that once went into MR2s and Celica GT-Fours. Tuerck expects it’ll make between 600 and 650 hp when it’s all done. It’s attached to a six-speed sequential transmission. It’s built around a PoweredByMax Corvette suspension kit, albeit with a very sophisticated pushrod setup.

“So pretty standard drivetrain setup for a pro-level drift car here in the US,” Tuerck said.

And thus far into the build it was ready for display at the Mobil 1 stand next to the Hoonipigasus Porsche. Once the Stout is fully tuned, Tuerck would like to do demo runs at Formula Drift events, if co-sponsor Toyota can come up with enough money to trailer the Stout around (come on Toyota!). Here’s hoping the demo-Stout has a passenger seat bolted into it and Tuerck is giving rides.

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