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I've been on this forum for almost 18 years and have only posted 38 times; guess it's time to finally introduce myself and tell my Supra's story lol.

20 years ago today I flew to LA and picked up my 1997 Toyota Supra. It was one of the most memorable days of my life – I was 22 years old, I had the keys to my dream car, I was with my best friend/brother, and we were about to embark on a 2,000 mile road trip. Here’s the story about how that all went down.


Love at First Sight
I knew from the first moment that I saw the new 1993 Toyota Supra that I had to have one. The MKIV Supra was released the same year I got my driver’s license. It was beautiful. It was fast. It was well priced! And it was a Toyota, a car company that has built its reputation on quality. And it had a targa top, which I have always been a sucker for.

As much as I would have loved to have one at that point, my meager $1900 budget wasn’t even close to being Supra money. So I bought a 1985 Saab 900 and kept dreaming. I knew that with enough time depreciation would bring prices down to a point where a MKIV Supra would become a reality, the question was really how long I would have to wait. I figured I would be well into my 30s by the time the prices had dropped enough to put one in my garage.


My First Supra (a 1990)
I spent the next 6 years wrapping up high school and college. Needless to say my income was pretty limited during that period – between valet parking and delivering pizzas during the summer I’d guess I probably made a total of $743, $741 of which was spent on booze and pizza (and, as the joke goes, the rest I just wasted
. I did, however, manage to upgrade my Saab into a 1990 Toyota Supra while I was in college. It wasn’t a MKIV Supra, but I was happy.


A Plan Emerges
The year before I graduated from college, a friend of mine (we’ll call him “Willie”) got a job with Toyota in Torrance, CA. During a conversation one day he mentioned an interesting benefit of his new job: Toyota Motor Sales employees could buy lightly used (~2 year/24k mile) cars as they came off executive lease for KBB wholesale value. “Hmmmmmmm, I wonder if there are any Supras available?” I asked. He said he would check – I was skeptical but hopeful.


I’ll never forget the voicemail. I was living in Atlanta for the first time in the summer of 1999, “interning” for Kmart (basically I wore a tie and worked at the Big Chicken store). I was at work so I missed the call, but the voicemail went something like this:

“Hey Nick – I checked on the Supra. It looks like there is one available. It’s a 1997 turbo, silver, six speed, targa top, black leather, 25k miles, $26.5k”. PERFECT!

The only “downside” was that the car was located in Torrance, California. ROAD TRIP!!! Getting 2k miles of seat time sounded like a perfect way to spend the first days of Supra ownership anyway. My brother agreed to go with me to pick it up – we booked flights to LA and I was overcome with joy. It didn’t even feel real. I was 22 and about to get my dream car. Surreal.

The Pick Up
It was July 1999. My brother caught a bus to Atlanta from Nashville, then we flew to LA after a quick stopover in St. Louis. I had a cashier’s check for $26k in my wallet and I pulled it out every 5 minutes to check and make sure I had it. If I lost it, I would have been trapped in LA with no car to drive back!

I can’t even remember how we got from LAX to the Toyota headquarters; maybe we took a cab or something. I was nervous the whole time. This whole deal was slightly shady, as the employee vehicle purchase benefit didn’t extend to family, friends, some dude you know, etc. So we were there as “agents” for my Toyota-employed friend, picking up the car on his behalf (we had to register the car under his name for the first year too). There was a chance that all of this could have fallen apart, that we wouldn’t be able to pick up the car after all, and that we could have gone home empty handed. Even once we got the car I was nervous that we might not make it all the way across country. With 320hp under the hood and two young hooligans behind the wheel, would we meet our demise in an attempt to find the 155mph electronically-limited top speed?!?

We arrived at the Toyota building early in the morning. Despite travelling cross-country, the three-hour time change had essentially caused time to stand still as we travelled. When we arrive the contact that was handling the transaction, Jackie, wasn’t available. So my brother and I grabbed a seat on a bench outside – staring at a silver 1997 Toyota Supra Turbo that I wasn’t sure was the one we had come to pick up. As we sat and started a group of Toyota interns or new hires walked up, one of which boldly got into the Supra, STARTED IT, and REVVED THE ENGINE! The nerve!!!


Jackie arrived, paperwork was signed, and I was handed the keys. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Here’s a picture of that moment:




The Trip Home
With an incredibly huge smile on my face we started the trip back home. Despite being over 2,000 miles, the direction couldn’t be more simple: once we hit Barstow, you take I-40 East all the way from Cali to Nashville.



Called home to let them know we were safe then hit the road!



We drove almost 500 miles the first day, stopping for the night in Williams, AZ during a heavy rainstorm. We woke up the next morning and made an unplanned trip to the Grand Canyon. Anybody that has ever been there knows it is in the middle of nowhere, so you might as well see it if you ever end up within a few hundred miles.

There’s me, in the red shirt:



Parked at the Canyon



After staring at that big hole for a while, it was time to hit the road!

There are some parts of the Western US that look like the moon. No green vegetation, big rocks and craters, and no signs of life:




We stopped that night in Amarillo, TX if I remember correctly. That was about 750 miles of driving, about 150 of which was our Grand Canyon detour. We woke up the next day refreshed, about 13 hours away from Nashville. We thought we might make it all the way, but ended up stopping in Memphis for the night. We drove…and drove…and drove. That was a long day:

My bro:







And finally, on the 4th day of travel, we arrived in Nashville.


The MKIV meets the MKIII before the old car says goodbye:





And here is a picture of the 1997 as it sits today.



After almost 20 years of ownership, she still turns me on. Guess this is how a good marriage should feel huh? I’ve got 81k miles on the clock and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. Here are a few shots from throughout the years:
 

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Here are some pictures from over the years:

Out for a drive (circa 2000)


Big pimpin in 2001



In front of my dad’s house (2003)


Parked next to my daily (2003)





Parked next to my next daily (2004 when I first moved to Atlanta; that’s the Fox Theatre in the background)



60k mile service in my garage (2006). That was the biggest job I had done up until that point. The car got a new water pump, timing belt, idler pulley, crank seal, cam seals, etc.


Recent











So what’s next? Well, I hope to keep this car forever, so the only plans are to keep on enjoying it the way it is. One day I hope to pass the keys to my son.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!
 

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Hey Nick,

I love stories like that.

Good Lord... your car still looks like it was 20 years ago. Love the pictures.

Cheers to you, brother,
for keeping up with the dreams

You have a beautiful family, house and cars.

God bless.

Very respectfully,
Rishi


Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks for sharing the journey Nick. Stories like this are always cool to see. The car still looks perfect.

I one day hope to have kids and pass my Supra onto them...........................................................then again I also want an R34 GTR in 2024 to go with the Supras! Ah Decisions, decisions!
 

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Today I got pop up from Facebook that reminded me we filmed this video a year ago today. I figured it would be worth sharing here since there are some great shots of the Supra in here! It was a lot of fun to meet Rutledge Wood and spend the day with him. He loves Supra and had recently acquired one of the PPG Supra Pace Cars from Toyota Motor Company and was trying to figure out what to do with it.

 

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Awesome video! Thanks for sharing!

-Rich
 

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Great story and great vid. You're also a natural behind the camera.


Ken.
 
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