"The 22re is a great engine and does fine, but it is never gonna win points for speed and power.
Oh yeah, I hear you. I've gone through about a dozen of them now and just have a thing for them despite the low power.
I guess I was looking at the engbldr rv street cam which would spread that torque out better than the crawler cam and since I want to drive this to the trails would be the way to go. I've actually never noticed a huge difference between stock and tri-y headers, and a decrease in performance with aftermarket non-thorley style headers. The stock headers are pretty open and compact - machining the surface flat and a good r value and putting 2" to the muffler and 2 1/4" out is about perfect in my opinion.
I had a 22rte for short time, someone made an offer I couldn't refuse after a week or so owning it, and even in its worn out state it was a lot more power. It would have been nice to see what it could do with a tune and turbo rebuild.
Since you brought it up... Crazy dream talk... I have a bit of 10year goal to build a car for the pikes peak international hill climb. ~ anyway I had been thinking an 80s celica gt/gts with a 22rte built up exactly as you described for around 300hp in such a light car would be a lot of fun. It only has to go for 13miles too
I'm pretty serious about it actually, there are better options but between my attraction to the 22re and them being original in the old celicas and stupid horse power from a 4cyl and small car... sounds like fun.