What fun would a movie about cars be if there wasn't some sort of credulity-straining mechanical miracle at the end of the second act? In Tokyo Drift, that miracle occurs in one overnight wrenching session as hero "Shaun Boswell" yanks the transplanted 2.6-liter Nissan Skyline RB26DETT inline-six and five-speed transmission out of his wrecked S15 Silvia and swaps the combo into his father's restored '67 Mustang fastback, thus creating the "ultimate" drift machine with which to confront the Drift King in the climactic third act. Um, yeah, sure ... that's likely.
Dennis McCarthy's crew did in fact create a Mustang powered by an RB26DETT for the film. Tri-C Engineering and Sean Morris of RB Motoring mocked up the swap by using an engine from one of the R34 GT-Rs from 2 Fast 2 Furious. However, it took this team of experts far longer than one night to pull off this high-tech to paleo-tech swap and make it all work, but it runs pretty dang well-good enough for the drifting action shots you see here. In the movie, the Mustangs used in the heavy drifting stunts were actually powered by small-block Ford V-8s, since only one RB-powered 'Stang was built.
Except for the adoption of a hand-fabricated single-turbo system incorporating a Turbonetics T460-1 turbo and a Spearco intercooler, the Skyline engine is essentially stock. After traveling through the Nissan transmission the power goes to a Currie-built Ford 9-inch solid rear axle running a spool differential. On the chassis dyno it spun the rollers to the tune of 340.2 wheel-hp at 7300 rpm on low boost. When was the last time any engine in a '67 Mustang turned 7300 rpm without grenading? And that's a lot better than the 280 crank horsepower the engine was rated at when it was installed in some Skyline many years ago. In addition to the big engines, two calipers were employed on the rear brakes (one a hydraulically powered e-brake), to help the Mustangs get sideways.
Just as in the story, the Volk Racing 19-inch GT-7 wheels can be swapped over, as the Mustang and S15 share almost identical bolt patterns and offsets. Volks aren't usually musclecar wear, but they look okay on this car shod with Toyo Proxes T1R tires in 245/35R19 size up front and 285/35R19 in the rear. On low boost, the RB-powered Mustang hooked pretty well with those meats to hit 60 mph in 5.38 seconds and cream the quarter-mile in 13.36 seconds at 109.83 mph, faster than any of the pushrod V-8 powered copy cars.
Of course, wouldn't it better if all the world's RB26DETTs were left in Skylines?
1967 Ford Mustang
Engine Code: RB26DETT
Type: 2568cc inline-6, aluminum head and cast-iron block
External Mods: T460-1 turbo, modified GReddy exhaust manifold, custom engine mounts and turbo plumbing, Spearco intercooler, fake magnaflow exhaust canister, Be Cool aluminum radiotor and electric fans
Engine Management Mods: AEM EMS, Fuel Safe fuel cell, GT-R fuel system, Earl's custom plumbing
Layout: Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
Drivetrain Mods: ACT clutch, Skyline GTS transmission, Currie Enterprises Ford 9-in. rearend, custom driveshaft
Front: Global West upper and lower control arms, coil-over conversion, and subframe connectors
Rear: KYB shocks
Front: Wilwood 4-piston
Rear: Wilwood 2-piston with dual rear calipers
Wheels: Volk Racing GT-7, 19x9-in. (F), 19x10-in. (R)
Tires: Toyo Proxes T1R, 245/35ZR19 (F), 285/35ZR19 (R)
Body: Jack's Autobody custom paint
Auto Meter gauges, Flaming River steering wheel, Deist seat belts, Year One seats, Hurst shifter, custom rollcage