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dang... this thread really makes me miss the old days...

still looks amazing as always!

It’s been way too long old friend. We’re long overdue for a get together. Let’s make it happen.
 

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Wow, just wow. I'm overwhelmed by these comments and can't keep up. Give me a bit to collect my thoughts and respond accordingly. I cherry picked below, because it was the easiest post to respond to.


Ken,

One thing I completely forgot and wanted to ask is if you could post up Blackie's complete mod list? I know we've talked about this a bit over the years and I think the time may be right to just put it all out there. I'm sure the entire Supra community would appreciate that great reference set for our cumulative knowledge. Thank you my friend, as always.
Steve,

I added my mod list to my OP near the very end. I had been asked to post this many times over the years, but just never did for reasons with which you are familiar. My wife suggested I do this as well, given that this is retrospective thread.

Years ago, when I was dealing with various magazines, the writers, not particularly proficient in the attention to detail category, seemed to always get key parts of my mod program wrong. So, I started a Vehicle Specifications document which included all of my then current mods. I would provide this document to various writers and magazines rather than slog through their forms requesting similar information. I later added additional information (media, awards, etc.) because I found myself answering the same questions again and again. This document cut down on most of that and turned out to be quite useful when I first applied for collector car/agreed value insurance (that document includes the MSRP for all the various mod entries).

Hope this is responsive to your request.


Ken.
 

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Ken,

thank you for putting this thread together. This was the most enjoyable read in the last couple months. I can´t appreciate enough, that you are the first owner of this car and how you evolved it technically and visually. It´s almost kind of strange, that I live on the other side of the world and know most of those pictures of Blackie. Funnily, I even knew the first Turbo Magazine Cover picture, but didn´t know that this also is Blackie. A legendary picture it is, for sure.

I also appreciate all the looks she went through, from stock body with the Manarays to Do-Luck widebody today.

Seeing all those old pictures in this thread makes me feel like my inner 14 - 16 year old me, strolling around sf.com and t04r.com and how I was blown away by the incredible cars and whp numbers at that time. I mean, I was a teenager and all those guys and cars, including you, were nothing short but legends for me. Now, several years later, I can call you a friend, which I´m really proud of.

There´s just one thing I don´t like about Blackie: I´ve not seen her in person yet. :D I truly hope, that this will happen in the next few years and that I will get the chance to meet this legendary car, owned by a legendary man in the Supra community.

Andy

PS: Casper really needs to visit SIV, that´s for sure!

PPS: T66Dawg, I saw your avatar pictures. Did you attend SIV 2017? I believe it was your car, where @Anonymous01 and I were sitting in front of and admiring, how unbelievably beautiful it is from every angle. Wheel setup, cleanliness and all - the perfect Supra!
 

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Hey Ken, I know I’m late to the party but, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add my comments to this thread. Like many others have said, although I haven’t met you in person, our virtual relationship and the support you’ve provided over the years has been great. Both here and through Club Lexus. I’ve got to get to Vegas or out to Cali before these events dry up or I’m too old!! I didn’t realize you were the original owner of Blackie. I guess that’s another thing we have in common. I still have the magazine (the title escapes me, I don’t think it was turbo) that has an article with Blackie in the early days and your MKIII together. I think both were on the cover. I remember wanting those Manarays so bad (and then almost everything else you did subsequently :D ). Anyway, great write up and here’s to another 25 years. Thanks for constantly giving me something to aspire to.

Westley
 

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It feels like ancient history now - and I hope to see Blackie again in person soon!
You will, my friend. Count on it.

I finally stumbled on this thread but I'm at a loss for words that can capture the significance of Ken and what he's done for the Supra community. Ken and Blackie are icons and the community is forever indebted to you.

I was personally inspired when I first saw pics of Blackie in her pre-body kit days and then the Turbo magazine spread. When I first got my pure stock never moded black/black Supra I was not really aware of the potential until I started reading what Ken and others were achieving.

Thanks for all the great memories and inspiration, Ken. I'm sorry to say that I've not managed to attend any of the national meets to meet you in person but I'm not giving up on that goal. I'll be 70yo in a few months but my mom lived past 95 so that's another 25 years I have to figure out how to get that done. I'm looking forward to your 50 year retrospective!
Nick, Nick, bo bick, banana fana fo fick fe, fi mo mick, Niiiicccckkkk!!!! Drinks on me for anyone old enough to remember the song and the artist.

Nick, I'm right behind you at 68 and will be 69 at the end of this year. You, Larry (Silver Supra), sixpack and me are all in our 60s and charter members of the OFSOC (Old Farts Supra Owners Club). You have always been a REAL mainstay of SF and the Supra community. Always helpful, I remember when you provided me detailed insight regarding the OS Giken Super Lock LSD, which convinced me to install one in three of my cars. Plus, you are in a very, very exclusive club, that being the less than ten U.S. Supra owners who mastered the HKS triple :).

My friend, I've been blessed but, if I'm still around to celebrate a 50-year retrospective involving Blackie, I'm going to throw a big party somewhere in the middle of the country, so attendance won't be hampered by long distances. I can tell you that some way, somehow, we will meet. It's been ordained.

Many thanks for the kind words.

Wow, what a great trip down memory lane! Thank you so much Mr. Henderson for taking the time to put this great read together.
I do t know how you do it, but every damn time you post something awesome is either being done or has already happened. I have also though about changing up much of my set up but have just not pulled the trigger for many reasons(SP happenings being a main one). You truly are the pinnacle of Supra ownership and what it should look like! All of your attention to detail, on every single car you have is mind blowing, and bank account draining lol
Hope to see you soon my friend, it has been far too long.



PS. As Shant posted, (not a wide body, but it’s ok:p) I will try and get to so cal for this event!

P.
I was able to recover a couple pics from to4r.com from SupraHKSx's posting of the wayback machine link. A couple of those pics, when posted, will fill in the 2001-2003 and I think the OP of this retrospective will be complete.

You know, Preston, I was talking to someone who asked me what EMS I had in Blackie. When I told him it was V3.1 of the HKS F-CON V Pro, he snorted and told me I should get a "modern" EMS. So I took him for a ride; not any long highway pulls (would not have been possible in the afternoon traffic anyway), but just driving around residential neighborhoods, getting on the freeway and putt-putting for 10-miles in 5 mph bumper-to-bumper and returning home. We did not say one word to one another during the entire time we were in the car. When we pulled up in my driveway, he looked over and told me, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I see what you mean. I never expected this car, for what it is, to be so docile and tractable, your OSG clutch notwithstanding."

I said all that to tell you this. The set-up on your car is exquisite, so changing things up is a big decision. That said, and to make your thought process more difficult :), HKS is bringing back many of its old school parts, including the HKS stroker (check out the HKSUSA website). Plus, its got some new turbos.... We just need to find out if they can be adapted to the HKS twins set-up kit.

It's been more than a minute since I saw you last in Vegas, so you already know how much I am looking forward to seeing you at the SoCali meet Shant is working on and in Vegas later this year. Remember the days when you were actually contemplating selling (!!!) that beautiful RSP car? Shame! :)

Thanks buddy. I am indeed in Texas now, but don't plan to stay long past military retirement next year. Speaking of which, as another member said, i too was deployed when i was reacquainted with the Toyota Supra, joined SF's, and began to admire Blackie. Little did i know I'd end up getting that call for the Milanos, and then end up becoming friends with her owner - what a privilege that has been for me.

And did you say something about all metal widebody? Hmmm, what's that saying about great minds and thinking alike? ;)
Thank you for your service, my brother.

For those that don't know, Craig's original screen name was Crackanoon, and I purchased my tan Sparco Milano Prestige seats from him while he was stationed in Alaska sight unseen, except what [email protected] could tell me about their condition (250 miles on them). But, sometimes you just know when you're speaking with a real salt-of-the-earth guy, kinda like when I first spoke with Lagtime, Steve T., and others, so I made the deal, not knowing we would become fast friends. When Craig returned to the Lower 48 and was working and living in Maryland, we would meet annually in Washington, D.C., during the yearly visits I made with my City Council to beg for money and propose, support, amend or oppose certain Federal legislation. From then on, it's been all good, except for the fact, he's moved all over the country and our contact is not as frequent as we would like.

What say you about an all-metal wide body??!! I'm waiting for you to spill the beans in your own thread, but make sure you save me a set of molds!


Ken.
 

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I had the pleasure of meeting Ken and some of the other CA Supra forums members in 2011 while in CA for for business.

I painted a Acrylic Painting of Ken's Supra and he set up a Saturday Supra meet for me to meet other CA Supra Members. Great Day and I will never forget the hospitality that was shown to me.

Painting of Kens Blackie Supra

https://www.supraforums.com/forum/showthread.php?620124-Supra-artwork/page4&highlight=Artwork

Thanks again Ken!

Reid
Hey, Reid,

Thanks for dropping in. Many thanks for your wonderful painting of Blackie and many thanks for organizing the Northeast Supra meet. To have 120 cars in attendance during its first year was truly amazing, so I wish you the best of luck with this year's shindig. Also, best of luck with the respraying of your white, 250,000-mile wingless beauty. You have always represented the Supra community very well, so it was great to throw a Coffee Clatch in your honor when you presented me your painting of Blackie.



Sir Ken,

I'm just an echo to what our valuable memebers have said and then some. Truly an iconic piece of Supra history IMHO which is married to an avid loyalist in our community who continues to be the consummate ambassador. That, I dare not question. Thank you for sharing and inspiring the passion that myself & others truly appreciate. Blackie has journeyed through some very tasteful treats and making history along the way. Amazingly cool builds & uniqueness (on all rigs) to a point, I belive, you can go back into time & still cherish such engineering in today's world of automotive appreciation. Bravo Blackie. Therapist, can be an understatement at times but trust me, I get it as it has helped me many times !

I've rode with you in Crimson & Bauxite so I've got 3 to go with Blackie being the cherry ontop ! GREAT TIMES that I'll always hold dear to my gasoline brain matter. Well done my friend.

- Rik
Rik,

You, Steve T. and Wreckless have been my steady Scenic Drive partners. You know, we have all met people in person whose persona is not that of the same person on the internet. Rik is not one of those guys. There is no daylight between his internet presence and his in-the-flesh personality and demeanor. Kind, intelligent, humble, VERY knowledgeable, helpful to a fault, that's Rik. Thank you for the kind words, my brother, and thank you for your insight in helping me cope with the loss of a loved one. I can't repay you, but that won't stop me from trying.

I love it when plans come together and then stand the test of time. I appreciate so much about this car and this post Ken. What a great way to memorialize this black machine. Take care and see you again someday.
Patrick is the person I purchased Crimson Tide from. Was (and will be) a wonderful Supra owner and a real pleasure to do long distance business with (Patrick lives in Alabama). Thanks for taking the time to drop in and share your thoughts, my friend. Much appreciated.

dang... this thread really makes me miss the old days...

still looks amazing as always!

It’s been way too long old friend. We’re long overdue for a get together. Let’s make it happen.
Al, this thread SHOULD make you miss the old days! You were smack dab in the middle of them. I hope your most recent search bears fruit. I do plan on having a Coffee Clatch soon (you hear that, Chip?), so make sure you will be able to attend when the time comes. Thanks for the kind words.


Ken.
 

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Ken, thanks for sharing this retrospective! I've always felt this car represented the most inverse relationship between how awesome it is and how much it's shown off by its owner. Seriously, we don't see enough of Blackie - please don't let "subpar" pics stop you in the future! I'll take a flip-phone pic of a photocopy of a lithograph if it means seeing that gorgeous car.

I found your point interesting that, were it a decision made today, you'd probably opt to not go with the Do-Luck kit. I've also always felt that your car epitomizes how good a properly-kitted MKIV can look. A stock-bodied MKIV is a great looking car, and I get that with values being what they are these days, the current trend is to keep them that way, but that can get a little......boring.

I remember in the early/mid 00's, with so many MKIVs being body-kitted out there, I used to wish that more of them remained stock-body for purity's sake - but now I find myself getting almost excited at seeing well-done body enhancements. Perhaps it's a shock to the new MKIV world order that I appreciate as more and more of these cars become collector & speculator vessels instead of properly-cherished enthusiast playthings. I fear that we're past the point of seeing balls-to-the-wall builds anymore as more and more people get excited about how much money they could make in 5, 10, 20 years. If it's between clean stock-bodied cars sitting in bubbles never to be truly enjoyed as god intended again and clean stock-bodied cars getting turned into Do-Luck bodied, 3.4L, HKS Twin-Turbo'd monsters....I'll take the latter any day of the week.

Anyways, I was inspired to upload a SoCal car meet video from 2002 that briefly shows Blackie back in the day. I can't wait until the next time I get to see this car (and your writing accompanying it). Until then:

 

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Al, this thread SHOULD make you miss the old days! You were smack dab in the middle of them. I hope your most recent search bears fruit. I do plan on having a Coffee Clatch soon (you hear that, Chip?), so make sure you will be able to attend when the time comes. Thanks for the kind words.
Ken.

Solid copy, brother. And an Al Rhee sighting, it's an OG reunion up in here.
 

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So, after recovering a couple old to4r.com pics from the wayback machine (thanks, SupraHKSx!), I've included the pics, along with related content to my OP. Rather than having pics scattered willy-nilly throughout this thread, I have included all the pics and narrative in the OP, so an interested party can forgo reading all the posts, and my responses, without missing any of the content presented.

The pics show my old HKS/GReddy alphabet soup engine management, two pics of the car on to4r.com, an in-progress pic of my HKS stroker and a pic of my car in the book "STREET TURBOCHARGING". Hopefully, you will find convenience in this approach. I believe the OP is virtually 100% complete at this point, so I can get back to the business of responding to all those who have dropped by and weighed in with some incredible comments.


Ken.
 

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Ken,

Beautiful trip down memory lane and a great way to cap off my evening to read this thread in its entirety.
Your posts are always top notch as well as your cars themselves. Thanks for taking the time to put this
together in addition to all you do for the Supra community!
 

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Ken,

So Nils have t04r.com now.... Why not resurrect it?

DP
 

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Ken,

Just wanted to say thanks for the read. You really know how to put your thoughts together and every time you post a wall of text I read EVERY word. In my opinion Blackie is not only one of the most important Supras but one of the more noteworthy builds in Street Hot Rod history across all makes and models. It seems you were ahead of the "Power Curve" (no pun) as soon as you started modifying the car. The fact it is largely unchanged for 15 years and still relevant in style and power is a testament to your hard work, planning, patience and level of taste. Thanks again for sharing your journey with us.

-Amar
 

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My friend, there are no words to convey how I truly feel about this post...but I'm going to try. Grab a Kleenex as I need one too, but it's all worth it and so well deserved.

First and foremost, you are a GIFT to the Supra community, but that's not enough saying that. You are a LEGEND to those of us who know you and appreciate you. Your cars are the absolute pinnacle of perfection, the truest definition of the word. Seeing photos of your cars, Blackie most absolutely included, are awe inspiring enough, but seeing your cars in person is transformational. You offer the KEN LEVEL of what we all strive to do with our own cars, but just being able to achieve half of the KEN LEVEL is truly enough for most of us, and better than many can muster on their best day.

I've learned so much from you, but the best part is that many of those lessons have absolutely nothing to do with cars and everything to do with being a truly great human being. When I look at you, I see the best of all of us, someone that deserves recognition more than any other, but notably someone who doesn't WANT any of that recognition. You are a lesson in grace, and an example of being truly humble yet achieving so much. When I think of the best people that I've ever met in my life, you are in an elite group and it makes me so proud and happy to be one of your friends. We always joke around that it's great to 'come for the cars but stay for the people' and you could not exemplify that statement any more. It is my greatest joy to be able to call you my friend and to learn from you in every way. You are a mentor to me and so many others, whether you realize it or not, and I have only become a better person for having known you. For that I am so truly blessed and thankful.

About Blackie herself, I've been in complete awe of what you have built since I first laid eyes on the car, which was probably 1999 or possibly 2000. Your history lesson of the transformation was such fun to read here, and the memories came back very well as I read what you had written. When the PURE ENERGY article came out in TURBO, jaws dropped around the world, and knowing that the car is basically the same as when you built her is mind numbing. You managed to create the finest targa roof Supra (see what I did there!) on the planet about 15 years ago and still hold the title!! Who does that? How is that even possible? Am I even being serious? Ken Henderson does that, it is very possible, and I'm being extremely serious!! :)

When I think back on the day in SIV (back when it was SILV!) and you gave me my first ride in Blackie, there were just no words for having experienced what you built. Just pure joy and exhilaration on every level. My sinuses were cleared instantly and I felt so honored to have been one of the few to go out for a ride in that glorious Supra. You later honored me with a nice ride in Bauxite years later, which to this day resides in my mind as the BEST hardtop Supra in the world. Your cars are truly works of art, and although they are machines, the connection to our emotions and feelings could not be more true or correct. As car enthusiasts of the highest order, we all love the feelings of joy that these cars provide us, and your cars deliver in ways that others cannot. Others have faster cars, others have newer cars, and many have different cars, but your cars exist on an altogether higher plane of emotional satisfaction to guys like me. You are the equivalent of the old-school hot rodder that wants to implement and execute in ways that others deem impossible or not worth the time, money or effort. But, the joke is absolutely on them when your cars are actually experienced. They are second to none...the KEN LEVEL exists to show others what is possible.

I want to personally thank you for all your years of mentor-ship and friendship. Like I said, I came for the cars but I gained so much more...a lifelong friend who is among the greatest men I have ever met, or ever will meet.
Steve,

This response has to stand by itself. It's taken me a few days to process and digest what you have written, and I'm still not there yet. Kleenex and all, this has been like an out-of-body experience for me. When I first read your post, I completely choked up. I shared it with my wife and her eyes were moist before she could finish. I can't describe the weird (it's the only word I have at the moment) feeling that came over me when reading something like this about yourself that's been written by a dear friend. It's almost as though someone cracked the code and spilled all your innermost secrets, but in the best way possible if that makes any sense.

I'm a private person by nature so, as you aptly put it, I am not one to seek attention. In fact, I've gone out of my way to avoid it. This is also why I have no social media presence, although I, occasionally, give it thought (no offense intended to those who do; I realize I am a dinosaur in this respect). It's also why I have turned down virtually every car show invitation I have ever received over the years. In my professional career, I knew I would have to overcome this in order to be successful, and I did. When it comes to personal attention, however, nothing much has changed over the years except the fact that I can deal with it better now than earlier in my life. So, Steve's post, and others, reached deep inside me and brought out a certain self-consciousness I had to wrestle with a bit before attempting to respond. All that said, I have always attempted to let my words, actions and my cars speak for themselves. Ever since I have been a part of the Supra community, I have striven to be a member in good standing and to help others as I have been helped over the years. I've received significant fulfillment from that, and that's all that's been really important to me.

I forget whether it was Steve, Craig Bush or both who coined the term Ken LEVEL or LEVEL KEN in other iterations. At first, I laughed hard but, over time, I became quite proud of it. Those who know me know that, if I own it, I drive it. The point I'm making is that it is much easier to care for a car if it's seldom driven, so you have to be deeply committed to maintain them to the level of cars that rarely see the light of day, all the while driving them as God intended. It means, weather permitting, I'm usually washing or waxing something. I handled this myself without any assistance up until we had four vehicles. After that, I have been fortunate to have very good detailers to help me keep up. Like many of you, I'm not cut out to drive around in cars that are not clean, so this curse/blessing I inherited directly from my father. The beginnings of the KEN LEVEL started very early, first with our family cars, then my older brother's cars he would let me occasionally drive as payment for cleaning one of his cars and, ultimately, my own once I got that treasured, first, driver's license.

I've been asked about various ideas and approaches I've taken to mod my cars. All I can really say about this is I develop a concept in my mind and, once it's fully formed, I begin to execute what has been rattling around in that brain of mine. I'm not saying this is any big deal, because it isn't. I am saying, though, that I can proceed with confidence because I KNOW what the end product will look like because I've seen it for days and months in my mind. Also, it helps immensely to have a tuner, engine builder and car builder in one shop with the talent, competence and expertise necessary, a shop that can faithfully execute my ideas relative to the finished product. Of course the proof's in the pudding. It works for some and not for others but, most importantly, it works for me. Once I'm satisfied, it's all about the "Get in and drive" mode, a position I am happy to be in with all of my cars at the moment.

I know in a 280-character world, my threads, and verbosity, may be a real problem for some and a cure for insomnia for others. As I said at the end of my OP, if you've come this far, you have my deepest appreciation.


Ken.
 

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You guys are friggin OGs. Much respect.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Mr. Gill, many thanks. I hope to see you at a SoCali Supra meet in the near future.

Ken,

thank you for putting this thread together. This was the most enjoyable read in the last couple months. I can´t appreciate enough, that you are the first owner of this car and how you evolved it technically and visually. It´s almost kind of strange, that I live on the other side of the world and know most of those pictures of Blackie. Funnily, I even knew the first Turbo Magazine Cover picture, but didn´t know that this also is Blackie. A legendary picture it is, for sure.

I also appreciate all the looks she went through, from stock body with the Manarays to Do-Luck widebody today.

Seeing all those old pictures in this thread makes me feel like my inner 14 - 16 year old me, strolling around sf.com and t04r.com and how I was blown away by the incredible cars and whp numbers at that time. I mean, I was a teenager and all those guys and cars, including you, were nothing short but legends for me. Now, several years later, I can call you a friend, which I´m really proud of.

There´s just one thing I don´t like about Blackie: I´ve not seen her in person yet. :D I truly hope, that this will happen in the next few years and that I will get the chance to meet this legendary car, owned by a legendary man in the Supra community.

Andy

PS: Casper really needs to visit SIV, that´s for sure!

PPS: T66Dawg, I saw your avatar pictures. Did you attend SIV 2017? I believe it was your car, where @Anonymous01 and I were sitting in front of and admiring, how unbelievably beautiful it is from every angle. Wheel setup, cleanliness and all - the perfect Supra!
Andy,

We will definitely make sure you see Blackie in person in the not too distant future. I really get a thrill from posts from guys who first came across Blackie while they were in grade school or high school. Other than being a reminder of my increasing age :), it reminds me of myself, magazine articles in hand, attempting to have a conversation with car owners that seemed almost god-like to me.

I hope I get to see you and Paul later this year and, hopefully, you can drag Casper along if you're able to make it. Many thanks for the compliments and the very kind words.

Hey Ken, I know I’m late to the party but, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add my comments to this thread. Like many others have said, although I haven’t met you in person, our virtual relationship and the support you’ve provided over the years has been great. Both here and through Club Lexus. I’ve got to get to Vegas or out to Cali before these events dry up or I’m too old!! I didn’t realize you were the original owner of Blackie. I guess that’s another thing we have in common. I still have the magazine (the title escapes me, I don’t think it was turbo) that has an article with Blackie in the early days and your MKIII together. I think both were on the cover. I remember wanting those Manarays so bad (and then almost everything else you did subsequently :D ). Anyway, great write up and here’s to another 25 years. Thanks for constantly giving me something to aspire to.

Westley
Westley, Westley, Westley,

Owner of my very favorite 6MT QS car. Your car is definitely in the more you look, the more you see category. Some of the mods you have carried out (THOSE SEATS!!! for example) are just plain incredible. I know your ownership may not be 25-years just yet, but I know you've got to be approaching your silver anniversary with that car. Thanks for taking the time to read this treatise and for your kind words.

BTW, the magazine with Blackie and my first MKIII on the cover was called Street Power.


Ken.
 

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Honestly, how can a few bits and bytes do the owner, his passion, and work justice? I haven't had the honor to meet Ken in person, but he has been so gracious to me personally throughout the years and it just speaks to his character as an individual. Remember that last word.

Certainly he is not the type to, but let me gas him up for the sake of it. He has literally SONNED most if not all JZA80 owners extant. Boys, let's take a look at the timeline and the BIG BOY SHXT that Ken and his support team(s) were carrying out. That 2000 Turbo Magazine cover is the A80 Supra version of a Lamborghini Countach poster. t04r.com cars were the cream of the Supra crop. Leaders of the pack. Trendsetters. Bar raisers.

This community has had somewhat of a myopic focus towards performance metrics; but to me, it's all about individuality and exclusivity. It's difficult to turn towards another build -inclusive of Asian and European builds- that can exemplify what I'm trying to express.

Ken can be confident that when he highlights this intricate detail or some other; that, the likelihood of another Supra having that part, setup, or fabrication is for all intents and purposes zero. As just a small example, look at that finishing panel between the front bumper upper retainer and radiator - think about the man-hours it took to fabricate. It takes vision and dedication to see through a living project such as this and to continually push the envelope and venture where many fear to.

Many brands nowadays have ambassadors. I nominate Ken Henderson as the official Global JZA80 Supra Ambassador. Not only for his accomplishments, but for the class and humility he has shown to us in his leadership role.

See you in 2044.

-Hung
 

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... Thank you for your service, my brother.

For those that don't know, Craig's original screen name was Crackanoon, and I purchased my tan Sparco Milano Prestige seats from him while he was stationed in Alaska sight unseen, except what [email protected] could tell me about their condition (250 miles on them). But, sometimes you just know when you're speaking with a real salt-of-the-earth guy, kinda like when I first spoke with Lagtime, Steve T., and others, so I made the deal, not knowing we would become fast friends. When Craig returned to the Lower 48 and was working and living in Maryland, we would meet annually in Washington, D.C., during the yearly visits I made with my City Council to beg for money and propose, support, amend or oppose certain Federal legislation. From then on, it's been all good, except for the fact, he's moved all over the country and our contact is not as frequent as we would like.

What say you about an all-metal wide body??!! I'm waiting for you to spill the beans in your own thread, but make sure you save me a set of molds!


Ken.

Will do buddy! Those DC visits were good times. :)



... I forget whether it was Steve, Craig Bush or both who coined the term Ken LEVEL or LEVEL KEN in other iterations...
I think that was Steve at SIV '15 or '16. Very fitting. ?
 

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Mamba Still On Top
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Looks like I'm quite late to the party.

Thanks for sharing, Ken. I've enjoyed the car, both up close and from afar. I think the current interior setup, with the fresh dash pad and reduced gauges, is my favorite variant. The Do-Luck full kit takes me back to the days when I was a fresh new owner. I remember drooling over that hood when I first saw it in person, and the engine bay was a point of inspiration when going down the rabbit hole with my own car. Always wanted to have something similar to 'that' level of wow factor, so I owe you a bit for the inspiration (my wallet does not feel the same way).

With the weather warming maybe we can get another "in front of the house" photoshoot to add to the collection. Happy boosting, my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #79
Ken, thanks for sharing this retrospective! I've always felt this car represented the most inverse relationship between how awesome it is and how much it's shown off by its owner. Seriously, we don't see enough of Blackie - please don't let "subpar" pics stop you in the future! I'll take a flip-phone pic of a photocopy of a lithograph if it means seeing that gorgeous car.

I found your point interesting that, were it a decision made today, you'd probably opt to not go with the Do-Luck kit. I've also always felt that your car epitomizes how good a properly-kitted MKIV can look. A stock-bodied MKIV is a great looking car, and I get that with values being what they are these days, the current trend is to keep them that way, but that can get a little......boring.

I remember in the early/mid 00's, with so many MKIVs being body-kitted out there, I used to wish that more of them remained stock-body for purity's sake - but now I find myself getting almost excited at seeing well-done body enhancements. Perhaps it's a shock to the new MKIV world order that I appreciate as more and more of these cars become collector & speculator vessels instead of properly-cherished enthusiast playthings. I fear that we're past the point of seeing balls-to-the-wall builds anymore as more and more people get excited about how much money they could make in 5, 10, 20 years. If it's between clean stock-bodied cars sitting in bubbles never to be truly enjoyed as god intended again and clean stock-bodied cars getting turned into Do-Luck bodied, 3.4L, HKS Twin-Turbo'd monsters....I'll take the latter any day of the week.

Anyways, I was inspired to upload a SoCal car meet video from 2002 that briefly shows Blackie back in the day. I can't wait until the next time I get to see this car (and your writing accompanying it). Until then:

rcsupra,

I find your perspective very interesting and one that aligns with my own approach to my cars. I have always gone my own way, for better or worse. You are quite correct. It is rare to see kitted cars these days and rarer still to see one that enhances the MKIV's already awesome lines. I can appreciate the increasing values of our cars, but I can never be captive to it. I'm not worried about miles and it's clear from several of my cars that all-original everything is not a particular priority of mine.

To me, the only way for me to realize a dividend on all the emotional and financial investment I have made over the years is to drive the cars as God intended. There is only so much pleasure I can derive from looking at my cars, but not driving them. When my cars are running right and, knock on wood, they all are, I am on top of the world when I'm driving to nowhere in particular. Nothing beats that for me. As to me kitting a car in 2019. If I, and the selected body shop, could communicate virtually telepathically like my tuner and I, nothing would stop me. Finding such a shop, however, is not easy, as most, even the one that did the great work on Blackie, want to focus on financially predictable and stable insurance jobs.

That vid, man. Many thanks for posting this. There's just a fleeting glimpse of Blackie, but the vid was during a special time in the Supra's history. I'm happy this retrospective took you, and others, back to some wonderful times and, after seeing Real Street and Titan lay down the law at TX2K19, it's clear, God's chariot, the MKIV, is not done yet and there are more good times ahead. Thank you for taking the time to drop in and express your thoughts about Blackie and the Supra scene. Much appreciated.

Ken,

Beautiful trip down memory lane and a great way to cap off my evening to read this thread in its entirety.
Your posts are always top notch as well as your cars themselves. Thanks for taking the time to put this
together in addition to all you do for the Supra community!
Len,

The owner of my favorite Baltic Blue car. It's always great hearing from you. Hope all is well and I hope to see you and your father at SIV again this year. I love it that you came back to the Supra world after checking out for a brief time all those years ago. You have done it even better the second time around, as I can never get enough of checking out your car. Thanks for the kind words.

Ken,

So Nils have t04r.com now.... Why not resurrect it?

DP
Doug,

Nils was the founder of to4r.com. I came in to help when the site was suffering teething problems. Things went real well for a while, but began to devolve into a less than desirable situation that resulted in some acrimony. When Nils made the decision to divest himself of to4r, I asked him to consider transferring the site to me. He decided to go another way, and gave the site to another SF member from Australia. Years later, I received a PM from Nils and we were able to reconcile our differences and put ourselves in a much better place vis-à-vis our relationship. Unfortunately, to4r.com disappeared from the www and the world-wide Supra community is poorer because of this.

Ken,

Just wanted to say thanks for the read. You really know how to put your thoughts together and every time you post a wall of text I read EVERY word. In my opinion Blackie is not only one of the most important Supras but one of the more noteworthy builds in Street Hot Rod history across all makes and models. It seems you were ahead of the "Power Curve" (no pun) as soon as you started modifying the car. The fact it is largely unchanged for 15 years and still relevant in style and power is a testament to your hard work, planning, patience and level of taste. Thanks again for sharing your journey with us.

-Amar
Amar,

I've previously told you that you are one of the people I wish would post more and one of the people I wish I could spend more time with. Nothing's changed, my friend. One of these days, we will be in a situation that will enable us to kick back, spend some time together and swap war stories on good and bad stuff we've encountered over the years. I have always been interested in your car, from concept to fruition. I know the story must be worthy of the Discovery channel :). Hope to see you at the SoCali Supra meet Shant is planning and many thanks for the kind words.


Ken.
 

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It really is amazing on how fast time flies, and it goes by faster every year. You get to a certain age where events you swear took place just a couple of years ago, actually turn out to have come and gone more than a decade ago.

These cars have been a passion of yours for a long time, and this timeline is an amazing look back at your ideas and enthusiasm. There has been allot of names that have come and gone over the years here. The insight you've shared has always been helpful, and we are privileged to still have you in in this community.

Here's to spending many more years out on the roads with our "psychiatrists"!
 
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