It’s never easy living in the shadow of a younger, overachieving sibling. The constant comparisons can often sting, and, in some cases, the older version is sometimes forgotten. Such is the case with Toyota’s third generation Supra. With so much praise and folklore surrounding the fourth-gen version of the Supra nameplate, the MkIII hasn’t been fully appreciated by the enthusiast masses over the years and as younger generations have come into the fold, not many of them are in search of Toyota’s third-gen flagship.
You can count Louis Rodriguez as someone that appreciates this chassis, having always had an affinity for the third gen, and as such, he picked this car up a decade ago. With over 20 years of service at the time, it wasn’t what you’d call a pristine example. Louis adds, “I began building this car in 2012 and it started out as a hooptie. I mean, it needed everything.”
Over time, getting the car up to a presentable standards was in the cards but making big power was always the main focus for Louis. “I had a vision and I stuck to it with nonstop building. I wanted a true 1,000-hp MkIII Supra.” That goal was originally supposed to be realized using the car’s native 1JZ engine, but issues just kept coming up. Having experienced blown engines and failure time and time again, it was time to make some changes.
No Replacement For Displacement
Contacting Lindenhurst, New York’s Petrolwerks, the idea of using a 2JZ bottom end was suggested to create a “1.5 JZ.” Combining the 3.0-liter short block with the car’s original head would not only net an increase in displacement but would maintain all of the original wiring and necessary componentry. It would also serve as an opportunity to use a tried-and-true formula to inch closer to that big power number Louis was after.
The original 2JZ rods and pistons were ditched for Carillo HD and Wiseco, respectively, and Real Street’s billet main cap was brought in for security. Up top, BC stage III cams and a complete Ferrea valvetrain makeover were brought in. Hanging from a Driftmotion turbo manifold is a PTE 7675 that feeds custom intercooler and downpipe/exhaust piping, while a custom intake manifold sits on the other side of the Frankenstein set up. With AEM’s versatile Infinity ECU, the car is currently able to make 1,041 whp, with 981 lb-ft of torque while gulping E85.
Under the hood, the look is remarkably subtle with a matte black finish applied to the valve cover, intake manifold, turbo, intake, and radiator. Other than the custom catch can tucked away near the firewall that maintains its original aluminum luster, everything else has been toned down and the engine bay itself was painted black as well.
The clean and purposeful look extends to the cars exterior with no signs of widened fenders or a sky-high wing. Instead, the factory MkIII body, after having been sprayed Suzuka Grey by First Choice Paint, has been slightly enhanced with a sleek front lip and hatch visor, along with some minor carbon fiber touches. Of course, Louis isn’t really sneaking by any predators with the massive Mickey Thompson meats wrapped around 15-inch D5 Forgestar wheels in the rear, which serve as fair warning that his ’80s-era Toyota is not to be tested.
Nailing quadruple digits on the dyno has become much more common these days and some of those examples being touted online don’t go far beyond the rollers. Louis, on the other hand, puts his Supra on the road every weekend to enjoy and has spent considerable time at race events that cater to his MkIII’s strengths in roll racing competition. He also notes that this isn’t over just yet, he plans to get back into the hunt for more power very soon.
Photos Courtesy of Alec Coutinho
Car 1989 Toyota Supra Turbo
Owner Louis Rodriguez
Engine 2JZGTE block, 1JZ head; Wiseco pistons; Carillo HD rods; Real Street billet main cap; Petrolwerks brackets, fuel pump relay, intercooler piping; BC stage III cams; Ferrea valves, springs, retainers, keepers; PTE 7675 Sportman turbo; custom intake and exhaust piping; HKS blow-off valve; Driftmotion turbo manifold; custom 4-in. downpipe; Vibrant muffler; TiAL 46mm wastegate; Walbro 485 fuel pump x2, billet dual pump hanger; ID1700 injectors, ID750 fuel filter; AEM Infinity 506, engine sensors
Power 1,041hp, 981 lb.-ft. of torque on E85
Drivetrain Grammas Racing T56 transmission kit; Clutchmasters FX1600 twin disk kit, flywheel
Suspension D2 coilovers; Fornari Racing sway bars, billet bushings, alignment kits, shock relocation kit
Braking D2 2-pc. slotted rotors, racing pads, 8 pot D2 calipers; Bridgestone brake lines
Wheels & Tires Rays 18-in. GramLights 57CR front; 15-in. D5 Forgestar beadlock rear; Michelin 235/40 front; Mickey Thompson 275/60 rear
Exterior Suzuka Grey paint by First Choice; Retro Spec carbon fiber pillar, hatch visor, windshield cowl; JDM taillights; Shine front lip
Interior Night Run TRD cluster; Momo 350mm steering wheel; BTI gauge
Thank You Petrolwerks builder; Ron; Alpha Tuner; my mother Amalia, First Choice Paint, Boosted Performance
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