To most, Jesse Ortiz’s Toyota Celica is marvel of old school JDM legends revived in one of the most creative and original ways seen today. However, to myself it has always held a much deeper meaning. About two years ago I attended my first stance meet at Gelson’s Marketplace in Northridge, CA. Since then, every single Wednesday night has been spent sitting in a parking lot ogling at the cars belonging to Jesse and the rest of the Low N Slow crew. To myself, Jesse’s car represents the beginning of my journey in the stance universe. Without my friends dragging me to that first meet, and without me seeing this Celica, there is a strong possibility this blog would not exist today. My story began on that warm Wednesday night, but the story of Jesse and his Celica stretches much farther back than my own.
Answer: I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and everyone I know knows that I love cars. When I started building cars I didn’t even know what stance was, or if it was even around at that point. What I was into was making my cars fast, loud, and slammed to the floor. It was all about how much power I could squeeze out of my ride. After meeting and kicking it with the Low N Slow boys a few years back I began to like the stance scene, and it introduced me to the wheel fitment game!
Answer: I saved this car from the junk yard. My buddy Tony, and the Pham brothers had it in there backyard, they were being forced to get rid of it, so I told them I’ll take it and they gave it to me for free. Everything has worked out for the best, because it’s the best car I’ve ever owned.
Answer: I feel what sets me apart is that there are no other Celica’s that are the same generation as mine in the stance scene today. A lot of people still don’t even know what my car is, I get confused for an AE-86 all the time! When I built the car I wanted something that nobody else had nor looked twice at to even fix, the motor is something that’s not that common of a swap in the United States for my chassis type. There are quite a few in Australia, but only a small hand full here at home. It’s a very different look than what people are accustomed to seeing, not to mention how crazy the car sounds!
Question: Is there anyone you’d like to thank thats helped you on the road to getting your build to where it is today?
Answer: I would like to thank my pops and my tio Angel for supervising the build, and letting me use my dads backyard to do my 1JZ swap. My cousin Bobby for painting the car in the backyard with me, that piysa from East LA Rene Franco from RMS who welded all my intercooler piping. Andrew for helping me get my new wheels all set up, and my boys Edgar, Big Frank, Walter, and my girlfriend for supporting me along the way.
- Epsilon Mesh-Spoke Wheels (15″ x 9.5″ -30 Front)
- Epsilon Mesh-Spoke Wheels (15″ x 10″ -30 Rear)
- Toyota Supra Sub-Frame Swap
- Ground Control Front Coilovers
- S13 Retro-Fit Coilovers
- KYB AGX 4-Way Adjustable Crossbar
- Home Sprayed Sapphire Blue Paintjob
- Shortened Rear Bumper
- 1985 Nissan Sentra Front Bumper
- Restored Original Factory Interior
- 5-Pannel Broadway Mirror
- Pabst Blue Ribbion Beer Tap Shifter
- Momo Wood-Grain Steering Wheel
- Momo Aftermarket Steering Hub
- Apexi Exhaust Cut-Off
- 1991 JDM 1JZ-GTE Engine Swap
- Lengthened Engine Harness
- CX Racing 66mm Turbo
- CX Racing Intercooler
- CX Racing Radiator
- Custom Intercooler Piping by RMS
- Greddy Type-S Blow Off Valve
- Rear Battery Relocation
- Full Exhaust Delete
This was the first car that ever made me stop and say “Whoa. I need to know more about THAT.” In a sense, this car is my beginning, and with that, it has always been one of my favorite builds. So to finally have the honor to feature Jesse’s Celica was as surreal as a dream can be, especially with him letting us test our new rig at the expense of possibly scratching his car with the suction cups! I’m so thrilled to have had the chance to shoot this amazing build, and all the more excited to be have had an amazing staff to help me put it all together. I would like to thank Jesse, because surely, without Jesse, and without this Celica. This feature, nay, this blog would not be here today.
- Story by Alex Royt
- Photos by Jordan Anthony
- Edited by Alex Royt