single frame: Speeding


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One of the cool features of my Toyota Matrix is how its gauges are invisible until you turn the car on. I think the display looks especially cool at night.

Astute readers may be curious as to why my car’s redline is so high, 7,800 RPM. It’s a feature of Toyota’s 2ZZ-GE four-cylinder engine, which was designed by Yamaha and built in Japan. It’s the go-fast engine in Toyota’s ZZ engine family. You’ll find versions of this engine in several Toyotas and, surprisingly, one Pontiac and two Lotuses.

Revving the engine past 6,200 RPM activates a second camshaft profile that boosts speed suddenly and considerably. It feels like turbo and is great fun. Unfortunately, my Matrix is hobbled with an automatic transmission, making it hard to reach the revs necessary to have this fun. If you ever buy a 2ZZ-GE-equipped Matrix (it will have the XRS badge on the hatch), go for the six-speed manual transmission.

I’m still talking about this car in the present tense because I haven’t disposed of it yet. It still has the front-end problems that aren’t worth fixing given the car’s market value. It’s days remain numbered. But with everything else going on I haven’t found time to deal with getting rid of it yet.


14 responses to “single frame: Speeding”

  1. DougD Avatar

    OOOHHH, I’ve never driven a Matrix at night. Like me, you are keeping the gas gauge below half for when you sell your car for peanuts.

    By the way, if anyone is put off by the automatic in Jim’s almost-free Matrix my Focus has a 5-speed and is similarly priced :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Matrix dash is cool at night. I do keep the brightness turned slightly down though. Still considering my options to say goodbye to this car!

      1. DougD Avatar

        Lemons Racing? We could do a two car team.

        We have everything required, except for a trailer, and a tow vehicle, and massive amounts of free time….

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          zOMG that would be so fun with this car! But I paid $9k for it in 2009 – how would I justify it under the max price paid limit? Free time considerations aside of course?

        2. DougD Avatar

          No problem Jim, we just sell each other our cars for $500 and we’re good to go. Cross border taxes and duties will be no problem, I’m sure :P

          I can only imagine the conversation our wives would have trackside…

  2. Bill Bussell Avatar
    Bill Bussell

    I would avoid getting anywhere close to full rev. Oil starvation could result.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That is a very real problem with this car. It leaks a tiny bit of oil anyway and unless it is topped off, reviving north of 6000 rpm lights the CEL. The code points at oil and the VVTi system.

  3. Jason Shafer Avatar
    Jason Shafer

    I was thinking “Dude, upshift!” until you said what it was.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Hardly breaking a sweat, she was.

  4. Desktop Backgrounds Avatar is wonderful..

  5. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    Nice shot! Considered advertising work? :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      heh. Nope!

  6. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    BTW, that’s not speeding, but do watch for radar the you’re north of 100 on I-865. Signed, Reckless SAAB driver.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I see cops on 865 all the time in the median trolling for speeders! It’s enough to keep me to reasonable speeds. Which is probably their point.

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