At this point, you’ve seen the Mk4 Toyota Supra dressed up in every conceivable manner, be it with carefully selected carbon bits and questionable aero additions or widebody, almost unrecognizable attire. If you happen to spot a JZA80 Supra such as these black and white examples, those in the know realize what their smaller rear wheels wrapped in husky, strip-worthy rubber, and their whining and snarling engines mean. That’s right, it all spells trouble—in the best way possible. But just what are these two modded Mk4 Supras all about?
Minor Outside, Major Inside
Ray Rod, owner of this black ’95 model never bothered with trying to redesign what Toyota created, at least aesthetically. Other than the front lip addition, which provides more downforce and brings the front of the car down a few inches, aiding stability at high speeds, and the vented hood to help move heat out of the bay, the car’s body is entirely stock. Clearly not factory-issue Weld Racing wheels, therefore, stand out a bit more; the rears are wrapped in sticky Hoosiers. Those come in handy when the wick is turned up and Ray feels the tension of 800 wheel hp on pump gas or, if things get really serious, over 1,200 violent horsepower on tap when corn-fed.
Those sorts of power numbers, often tossed around haphazardly on the web, are serious. They don’t come easy, and they aren’t the result of just tossing on an oversized single turbo conversion and shooting for the moon like some would have you believe.
There is a process involved, and Ray is all too familiar, having tinkered with this car endlessly over the last few decades and having his finger on the pulse of what works and what doesn’t. Well-known in the Supra community and a bit of a celebrity in New York City, even if potential drag race losers don’t get a glimpse of the mass of rubber stacked under the rear wheel wells, his notorious “Spoolin” license plate offers fair warning.
A Long-Term Relationship
Back in the early 2000s, Ray picked up this exact car and has held it close ever since, with no plans to ever let it go. He adds, “I knew I wanted a Supra the first time I saw it. I went and bought a house first, then about a year later I purchased this, my dream car. I bought it from a lawyer and it was bone stock.”
As it sits now, the original 2JZGTE engine has been extensively reworked, including with a 3.4L stroker kit and Wiseco pistons backed by Eagle rods. The top end was thoroughly massaged as well, sporting a ported and polished head, built valvetrain, Titan GSC S2 cams, and—the star of the show—a Precision GT42 7675 Gen. 2 turbo. Pro EFI management was brought on board to fine tune the laundry list of upgrades and find those quadruple-digit numbers on the dyno.
Ray adds, “The car gives modern, high horsepower cars a run for their money and still feels like I can drive it around town, no problem.” And drive he does, having stacked street and competition miles on the fully built affair that, up until a few years ago, felt like a never-ending work in progress. “Perfection takes patience. Mike at M&S Performance was the person that really straightened out my car,” Ray notes. “He was a beloved figure in the tri-state area, and he really knew his stuff.” Unfortunately, Mike passed away three years ago and Ray credits him, along with Bruce and Goku (also with M&S Performance), for seeing this build all the way through, as well as Alpha from Induction Performance for the tuning expertise.
A Likely Scenario …
As you might imagine, having a competitive spirit combined with a giant killer in this Supra could get you into a bit of trouble. Imagine yourself at Texas 2K, for example, surrounded by lightning-fast cars, all itching to prove their worth on local streets. Things might get interesting and maybe, just maybe, you get in the thick of things and are later pulled over by an undercover cop. Fortunately, a ticket for the slicks is all you’re given – a small price to pay for the “spirited testing” that allegedly took place. In terms of organized events, Ray reports that on low boost, pushing around 800 hp, he had no problems hitting the traps at the same speeds as 1,000-hp-plus cars.
The dollars invested along with the waiting, not to mention the potential for breaking parts at such intense power levels are all things Ray has become accustomed to. He’s long served as the “go-to” guy for information on the cult classic MkIV and he’s long-lived by the phrase “stay honest, and things last.”
Demi Tavarez 1994 Toyota Supra
While he doesn’t have as many years as Ray invested into his Supra project, Demi Tavarez has equally as many dollars and dedication involved. His white ’94 model was actually found by Ray, who had convinced him to pick it up and build it.
Prior to that fateful interference, Demi’s car obsession began years ago with a ’95 Supra, before he found his way to Hondas of all things, the first being a ’91 Civic followed by a long list of Civic Si turbo projects that he ran through. “Ray was the one that influenced me to buy this car. It was good, but not up to my standards, so at 20,000 miles I decided to take it apart.”
The Highest of Expectations
Running a detail business means Demi’s standards are lofty, and in order to find the perfection he was after, his Supra quickly turned into a deep restoration performed by Pristine Autobody in Astoria. This included stripping the car completely down to its skeleton and setting it up on a rotisserie. From there, things went even further as anything deemed less than stellar was replaced. “I thought the bay was ugly, so I decided we should cut up the front end and make it all new. After that I got new OEM fenders, new factory moldings – basically everything is new.”
The reinvigorated chassis, sporting fresh Audi white paint inside and out, was delivered to Petrol Autoworks in Farmingdale, about an hour away, where all the custom fabrication would take place, along with the engine build up, and so much more. As you might expect, both the top and bottom ends of Demi’s 2JZ are fully built, and hanging from an old-school HKS turbo manifold is a tried-and-true Precision 7675 turbo. Taking cues from AEM’s Infinity management, peak power touches 1,280 ho at full song while burning E85.
Fresh air is led toward the turbo via an LOZ Customs carbon fiber headlight duct and the bay is highly organized, to an almost obsessive level. Every aftermarket piece and custom fabricated component has been treated to a coating and assigned a specific space around the engine to avoid looking cluttered – a result of doing things right the first time, rather than doubling back and trying to force items to work with another.
Open the door and you won’t find rigid bucket seats to climb into but instead, factory Toyota-issued seats that have been thoroughly reworked by Safraz Interiors. Deep red Alcantara laid over leather-trimmed seats complete with red stitch work and a steering wheel to match give the almost 30-year cabin a whole new look and feel, while retaining that original Mk4 aura.
On the exterior, like Ray, this Supra remains close to stock in terms of body additions with no more than a front lip and vented hood added to the equation. Of course, if you spot the rake and the avalanche of rear rubber under the car’s quarter panels, you should realize it’s far more than just a pretty face.
When I asked him about any potential future plans, Demi explained that his car is right where he wants it. “She’s got all the power and a working A/C and power steering—I’m going to enjoy it the way it is.”
Photos Courtesy of Alec Coutinho
Car: 1995 Toyota Supra (Black)
Owner: Ray Rod
Engine: Brian Crower 3.4-liter stroker kit; Wiseco pistons; Eagle rods; Titan GSC S2 cams; ported and polished head; Manley valvetrain built by @John_wre; Precision GT42 7675 Gen 2 ball-bearing turbo; Goku custom intake, intercooler and piping 4-in. downpipe; Vibrant muffler; HKS turbo manifold; Ross throttle body; ATI super damper; ID2000 injectors; Walbro 255 lph fuel pump x3; PHR triple fuel pump hanger; custom steel braided fuel lines; Koyorad radiator; TiAL blow-off valve; Pro EFI management, I Boost settings 1-5; BT1 CAN gauge; AEM wideband
Power: 800 hp on pump gas; 1,280 hp on high boost w/E85
Drivetrain: V160 transmission; Titan carbon fiber driveshaft; OS Giken triple plate clutch, flywheel; TRD differential; DDS rear axles
Suspension: HKS IV coilovers; R2 bushing by MVP Performance; Jamo Power alignment kit; Cusco sway bars, shock tower bars
Brakes: StopTech six-piston front, Evo 9 rear calipers, rotors, 309 pads
Wheels and Tires: Weld Wheels 15×10 rear, 18×11 front; Hoosier 275/50-15 rear; Toyo Tires 225/40-18 front
Exterior: Resprayed by Brooklyn Auto; Wings West front lip; Seibon carbon fiber hood
Interior: TRD steering wheel; Veilside shift knob; custom gauge cluster by Stu Hagen;
Thank you M&S Performance Mike, forever in our hearts; Empire Performance, John WRE; Alpha; Jamo Power; JC Performance; OG from Performance Factory
Car: 1994 Toyota Supra (White)
Owner: Demi Tavarez
Engine: M&S solid engine mounts; polished crank; 10:1 Wiseco pistons, I-beam rods; GSC 280s cams; Ferrea valves, valve springs, retainers; ported/polished head; Walbro 485lph fuel pump x3; PHR fuel pump hanger; Precision 7675 turbo; Sound Performance race intake manifold; RMR 90mm throttle body; HKS turbo manifold, blow-off valve; 60mm TurboSmart non-spring wastegate; GReddy 4-in. core intercooler; Petrolwerks Performance custom intercooler piping, 4-in. exhaust piping; Vibrant Vanjen clamps; Koyorad aluminum radiator; AEM Infinity management; Alpha logger from Inductive Performance; Electro boost controller
Power: 1,200 hp/986 lb-ft of torque
Drivetrain: Clutchmasters FX850 twin-disk clutch, flywheel; KAAZ 1.5 LSD
Suspension: HKS coilovers; Stance cup; PHR sway bars, solid bushings; M&S solid mount
Braking: SRT 6-pot front calipers; Brembo rear calipers, rotors, race pads; stainless steel lines
Wheels and Tires: Forgestar 18×9.5 front, 17×10 rear; Nitto 265/35-18 front; Mickey Thompson 305/45-17
Exterior: Audi White paint; TRD hood; custom front lip
Interior: Alcantara two-tone interior; red-stitched leather by Safraz Interiors; BTi gauge display
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