Supra Forums banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please endure my ignorance with me! I've always admired the Mk3 Supra and found it to be even more stylish as the Mk4 Supra IMO. It's got a big '80s Japanese' style to it which I really adore. I have a reliable daily that I use to get to and from work but I was looking to get a project car for fun and to learn about cars (I have practically 0 experience with working on cars but I do have some people who I could use for info and help) I'm not really looking for something to mod to hell as that's way beyond my skill level, just for something to cruise around with and bring to meets and such. For me at least, I've found learning hands on to be a lot easier to me than reading textbooks and guides on how cars work so I've been meaning to get a shitbox I can learn to work on.

I've done lots of research on good 'first' project cars and for me the best option so far would probably be a 80s Honda Prelude or a 90s Toyota Celica, easy to find parts, fit together like legos, cheap and reliable as hell, but honestly they don't seem as appealing as the A70 that always seems to sidetrack me. Would it be a stupid idea to get one as a first project car? Is the Mk3 Supra too much of a pain to work on for a beginner? On other forums I've seen mixed answers, some people said they are a pain to work on and are extremely unreliable, but another actually stated it to be a great Japanese sports car to get for a first project. Are aftermarket parts readily available and aren't too terribly expensive? I'm at a place where there are a few A70 Supras are for sale all under $8k. It honestly doesn't matter if its a Turbo or not for me, and I would 'think' a non-turbo would be easier to work on. Thanks for enduring my ignorance and I look forward to hear once and for all if I should make a move to get myself a Suprraaaa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
No way would I recommend an A70 as a first project car, unless you have decently deep pockets.

That said, it's not impossible. But it will require serious dedication and decent cash to make it happen.

There's a reason Civics and Miatas are most people's first project. Simplicity and plentiful parts!
 

·
Registered
89 Supra Turbo M/T
Joined
·
18 Posts
You may want to consider GM/Chevy/Jeep... pretty much anything American or the aforementioned Civics and Miatas. Way more parts availability and knowledge out there. Trucks are easiest to work on. My first project was a MK1 VW Rabbit/Golf. Very simple platform, cheap parts, fun to drive, and generally considered appealing. Not sure how hard it would be to find a chassis these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
A project A70 is a like a relationship you have to commit to if you’re gonna do it right. It can be awesome, but you’d better prepared financially and mentally because like any 30+ year old car, it’s gonna have issues. It’s a blast to drive, and if you’re willing to take the time to learn, study old forum topics, and fork out however much money you’re willing to spend for parts, you can have lot of fun with it. It’s just that with the aging, a lot of these cars spend more time on jackstands than they do on the road.

If you know that “this is the one,” go ahead and go for it, but you’ll likely spend more time on repairs, maintainence, and mods than you are “playing” with the car. It’s a rollercoaster because when it’s running and everything seems right there’s great satisfaction and victory in getting this old trophy back on the road, but when you find more issues again then you’ll wanna pull your hair out until it’s “good” again.

When mine is on the road, I always refer to it as the Supra with a prideful spirit. But when it’s not acting right, it’s just a shitbox and I’m gonna curse at it until it works again. :ROFLMAO:
 

·
Registered
Toyota Supra Turbo 7M-GTE with R154 5-speed
Joined
·
375 Posts
Read a few build threads here and you will discover that I am not the only person with years long, almost decades (plural) long relationships with their Supra. I have had mine since 2005, it's lived in three garages, it's been driven three times and it's been flat-bedded three times. They don't all work out this way, but a lot of them do... especially for the unprepared and under-funded folks. You will get estimates of $50 to $60K to get it done... and you may laugh, but that's not an unreal number. I have that much in garage rent alone, and had spent $33K as of 2015 when I vowed to quit keeping track. A lot of my parts are priceless, suspension pieces and exhaust systems that they haven't made or sold since 2008. There are alternatives, but the choice stuff is hard to get. Then there's the fact that the "choice stuff" from 2005 is not necessarily still "choice". You'll probably want/need a @2000 stand-alone ECU and a good tune on the dyno is a minimum of $600. Browse on DriftMotion to get some parts cost perspective. Oh, and while I'm talking about mods, understand that the desirable cars, the ones you see selling for the big bucks, are usually not highly modified cars. Don't think you are investing by spending a lot of money. I love my Supra, but there are times when I wish I could get out of it. All this time and money spent, and it's still a $500 car. Not that you could buy it for that, but, it's not like the same money spent on say, a house :) Would I recommend it? Sure. If you've done your homework and want to do it, then do it! I keep saying it's about the journey, then I read something by @Wreckless today that says that's bull shit. It is. It depends on what you want. Good luck with your decision. You've found a good place to hang out if you decide to do this :) Welcome!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Is a Mk3 a good project car? Yes and No. That is the reason you keep hearing that too. There are so main variables in that equation and the two biggest ones are you and what you can find. From a keyboard its pretty hard to tell that.

If you have some money and can afford a decent example and mainly plan on learning slower through maintenance and as stuff comes up? Yeah it can be a great project car. The electronics and mechanical aspects of this car (and era of cars) are at a point where neither one of them is to advance that a beginner can't learn from it. Really old cars require a certain bit of intuition and troubleshooting that is just not easy to learn today for the sheer fact there are not many teachers. Really new cars can be fairly easy to fix provided you have money to dump into really expensive diagnostic equipment and have access to expensive materials to even start. These fall in the middle. Japanese cars in my opinion are good about laying out most things in a pragmatic way that makes them easier to get, maybe its just me, idk.

These cars are not unreliable. That being said they are 30+ years old and do have a couple of weak points you have to respect. Head gaskets, oil circulation problems, rusty rears and the general overall shape/completeness of the car. The first three are things you should be aware of before looking. I wouldn't worry so much about knowing how to do a headgasket at first but rather what are signs to look out for so you don't buy a car with these problems. Knowing where to look for rust. The shape/completeness is relevant cause body parts, glass, moulding, interiors are all things that can get really expensive if missing or trashed. It is probably best to have a mechanic look it over if possible. People go out and buy an old car that has 15 years of deferred maintenance and then can't figure out why the car keeps having one problem after the other. Its not cause its a bad car so much as its been neglected and abuse. If you can get someone with a trained pair of eyes to look it over that definitely can help with getting something that is not going to overwhelm you right off the bat. But that might not be possible so make sure you start to learn now.

Mechanical parts are not terribly hard to find. There are some specialty stores online that cater to Supras like Driftmotion.com. You can get a lot of things from Advanced Auto, Autozone or wherever but remember that helping out these specialty stores helps you in the long run by making sure they are around. A good example is speedometer cables. Discontinued from Toyota, none of the retail auto parts store have them but driftmotion does....... so buying a couple of belts from them when you could go somewhere else helps when you don't have anywhere else to go.

There is an aftermarket for these cars but it is all centered around turbo modifications. These are not really beginner friendly but if you think you might want to mod finding a turbo car to start with is not a bad idea. If you want a manual car, get one with it already in it. If you want a car you can just slap on some bolt ons to show off to your friends, this ain't that kind of car.

Regardless of what you go with it needs to be something you like. Sooner or later you are going to get pissed off at the car when things are going bad. Your personal life is gonna change, you end up losing interest after waiting 8 weeks for parts, you work on it to much and get burnt out..........the only thing that is gonna bring you back to finishing it is your love for the car. So maybe its not a Honda, maybe its not a Supra but its better to go with something you really want then having to sell a half torn apart piece of crap on Craigslist cause you gave up. It happens but thats one way to try and avoid it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,047 Posts
a project car I never would of considered is my wifes 1976 mgb

literally bought it to sell, $400 came with a boat load of parts. thought I would split it all apart on ebay because it came with so many new parts. little did I know new parts for a mgb were like 10-20$ in a lot of cases. ended up repairing the body / engine / installing tons of new parts and have less than $1000 in a driving car.

literally fell in love with the tiny little simple convertible. for someone that has never worked on cars its an ideal project for a few reasons:
1. cult following and they are basically the same car for over a decade. so many resources (form / youtube / fb) to get help.
2. cheep parts, that are also available lol. a brand new gas tank is $150 on rock auto. put that in perspective for mk3 supra world....that used tank is $500 bc new is not available. my tires on the mgb were 32$ each because the car has like 60hp. I could go on, but its literally 1/3 the cost for almost any part (mgb vs 87 supra).
3. simple as a tractor to fix. basic basic basic. totally what you need if your starting from ground zero with not tools or experience
4. performance parts are cheep. you you could hang a 4 link in the back, brembo brakes and coil overs on it. all for less than a driving supra na automatic basket case costs these days
5. mistakes cost way less (bc #2)


final thought. read the "supra presence on the street" or whatever that thread is called on here. if you are looking for a classic car to bring places and chat with people.....supra's attract a certain kind of attention / character. aka its 16-35 year old dudes that come up and "know what it is" lol. of course im generalizing but if your looking to pick up chicks, its a pass lol. also 16-35 year old non-owner walk ups will scoff at your non-turbo automatic mk3 (somewhat rightly so..). Now when you drive a little mgb around man o man everyone comes up to you to chat. way more approachable --if that is something your looking for in a car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
^ Exactly. You will make mistakes. Those mistakes are how you gain experience. You have to pay for those mistakes. The A70 is not a cheap platform with which to learn on :)
 

·
Registered
1990 White NA/Blue Interior
Joined
·
68 Posts
To add to what others have said...

If you love the car, you love the car, and no amount of folks telling you it is a bad idea will sway you away. Kind of like the movie Christine, you just know. Either have deep pockets or be willing to hunt for months. It took me 4 weeks to find a new EGR. Toyota is slowly rolling out limited reproductions of parts, you will need to jump on them as they happen because it won't happen again.

In my case, I recently pulled my MK3 out of storage (it was parked for 5 years and need some work when I parked it) Since parking it, parts became nearly impossible to find. Upper control arms? 600 each and special order from a machine shop. Lower control arms, chinese options from ebay, nothing from parts stores. Gas tank? Ebay/junk yards if you're lucky. Window moulding? 50% available, 50% not. In 4 weeks I have spent close to 15k bringing the car back to slightly above stock in many places, and stock in others. New AC (including special order replacements directly from Denso), all new mishimoto hoses and radiator, tein flex z suspension, edfc controller, new windshield, new window mouldings, new wheels and tires, all new vacuum lines, new egr, new modulator, multiple oil flushes, multiple radiator flushes, new alternator, new afm, new tps, etc. The car was in above average condition, just needed refreshing and maintenance.

Remaining: I am picking up a 7MGTE front clip for my swap, repaint stock color after some repairs, rust repair under the hatch (cancer rust under the seal, I will be doing the fab and welding myself), rack and pinion rebuild, new amp, new front speakers, new sub, sway bars, sub frame bushings, suspension bushings, ball joints, big brake kit, etc. I am likely looking at another 10-15k in the next couple of months.

I've built 3 supras now, done many engine swaps on them, I love the MK3 and I would rather dump 100k into making it my perfect car than to buy an MK4 that is finished...If you love the MK3/A70 like that, then you already know the answer.

You will not make money on this, you will lose money. This is not an investment it is a tax/cost center.
 

·
Premium Member
1987 MA71 R154 Pearl White, Blue Velour
Joined
·
627 Posts
I've owned my 87T since 1995. Parked it twice for 10 year intervals. 1999 to 2008 then 2009 to 2019. Just last night I happened to drive by a bi-weekly Anime sticker min-car meet locally by accident. I parked my car just to look around. So many people gravitated to see my car which is 100% stock. It was quite an experience and just fun for someone who never goes to shows etc.
 

·
Registered
Toyota Supra Turbo 7M-GTE with R154 5-speed
Joined
·
375 Posts
I've owned my 87T since 1995. Parked it twice for 10 year intervals. 1999 to 2008 then 2009 to 2019. Just last night I happened to drive by a bi-weekly Anime sticker min-car meet locally by accident. I parked my car just to look around. So many people gravitated to see my car which is 100% stock. It was quite an experience and just fun for someone who never goes to shows etc.
Scares me to think I'd park mine for ten years. I'm 73. There's so much left to do that I'm pretty sure I'll never get it done, but they say they're never really done :) If someone walked up and offered me 10K it would be gone. Hell, if they offered me 15K for everything in the garage, I'd do that. I can only rely on the fact that, not running, not finished, pretty much modified, i.e., not OEM, not original, that it's still a "$500 car", so nobody is going to do that deal. To boot, I just heard that the new parts built on the Heritage Program are gone. Production finished and stock gone. I haven't confirmed that, but it was an in-touch source that told me an hour ago. I've still got a three page long bulleted list of things to do. I'd better get to work. Tomorrow, it's back to the garage.
 

·
Registered
89 Turbo - 2JZGE-T VVti (build/swap in progress)
Joined
·
253 Posts
My mk3 is my first project car. Bought it 2 years ago on a whim because it looked cool, next day the transmission gave out on the freeway. 0 car knowledge, living in an apartment. Awful idea practically, but I'm stubborn so I made it work. Rented a storage unit, bought some tools, pulled the tranny and shipped it off to driftmotion for a rebuild. After that it was the engine that never ran right, the suspension bushings, tires, brakes... maintenance turned into upgrades. 2 weeks turned into like 18 months on jackstands now. Here I am now, building a new engine to swap into it. I've probably driven the thing a total of 2 hours in 2 years.
But man, those 2 hours keep me going. It was glorious. I love how this car looks inside and out. Such a cool aesthetic, and it feels so satisfying to drive.

Now that I've talked about myself for 2 paragraphs, here's my answer to your question: No. It's a fuckin terrible idea. Only do it if you're stupid and sentimental like me. I've put like $15k in parts and tools into ridiculous thing.
Also, we may be on the verge of a global currency collapse. I'd look at buying some asset that isn't crazy inflated and can possibly survive what's probably headed our way.
OR, be like me. Buy the supra, learn a ton, and dab on your future self in the FEMA camps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
270 Posts
As a long-term owner (since 1992!), I can say the MkIII Supra was never a good project car. While in production, basically nobody made any hop-up parts. It took years after production stopped before anything showed up. The best years were around 1995-2005. I scored some good stuff through forum group buys.

Most of the chassis performance parts are gone now. Just about all the Toyota stock is gone. It takes some serious searching to find old new stock. Fortunately, many maintenance parts are common with other cars so can still be had. I get the impression that it's even getting hard to get used parts. The old cars are getting picked clean and the salvage yards don't want to keep cars around forever.

I've been lucky to keep mine on the road, and it's definitely harder now that it used to be.

On the other hand, people are getting quite creative with alternative parts. That's nice to see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,808 Posts
As a long-term owner (since 1992!), I can say the MkIII Supra was never a good project car. While in production, basically nobody made any hop-up parts. It took years after production stopped before anything showed up. The best years were around 1995-2005. I scored some good stuff through forum group buys.

Most of the chassis performance parts are gone now. Just about all the Toyota stock is gone. It takes some serious searching to find old new stock. Fortunately, many maintenance parts are common with other cars so can still be had. I get the impression that it's even getting hard to get used parts. The old cars are getting picked clean and the salvage yards don't want to keep cars around forever.

I've been lucky to keep mine on the road, and it's definitely harder now that it used to be.

On the other hand, people are getting quite creative with alternative parts. That's nice to see.
We have to be as parts are getting harder and harder to find! I am not talking about the parts that you can find at high prices. I will gladly pay the high price for an available part. I am talking none existent parts.

Try to source the 7M-GTE ignitor. Used is the only option.
Ignition coils. I seen new coils but unsure of quality.
Alternators... crap shoot.
Starter.. Crap shoot. Which does remind me. I did discover a way to get a 2Kw starter to fit without any mods! OEM starter is 1.2kw and then they went up to 1.4kw at the > 89 model year. Think similiar to the tilton starters for the chevy/ford except this is a direct drop in for the OEM denso unit. :D
OEM fuel injectors..good luck.
CPS.. Thank goodness to @Piratetip findings off the internals otherwise there would be lots of dead supras.
Weather stripping.. i am willing to pay the Toyota Price on door, targa seals.
Fuel Tank... no option except part out/junkyard if wanting to stay OEM. Now idf going fuel cell..got to plan for additional items such as firewall (if the fuel cell has its top in the cabin).
windshield... starting to become a real pain to source.
The list is rather extensive unfortunately.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Asterix

·
Registered
2006 Volvo XC90 Turbo I5
Joined
·
20 Posts
We have to be as parts are getting harder and harder to find! I am not talking about the parts that you can find at high prices. I will gladly pay the high price for an available part. I am talking none existent parts.

Try to source the 7M-GTE ignitor. Used is the only option.
Ignition coils. I seen new coils but unsure of quality.
Alternators... crap shoot.
Starter.. Crap shoot. Which does remind me. I did discover a way to get a 2Kw starter to fit without any mods! OEM starter is 1.2kw and then they went up to 1.4kw at the > 89 model year. Think similiar to the tilton starters for the chevy/ford except this is a direct drop in for the OEM denso unit. :D
OEM fuel injectors..good luck.
CPS.. Thank goodness to @Piratetip findings off the internals otherwise there would be lots of dead supras.
Weather stripping.. i am willing to pay the Toyota Price on door, targa seals.
Fuel Tank... no option except part out/junkyard if wanting to stay OEM. Now idf going fuel cell..got to plan for additional items such as firewall (if the fuel cell has its top in the cabin).
windshield... starting to become a real pain to source.
The list is rather extensive unfortunately.
What about that Toyota Heritage stuff? Are they not making parts?
 

·
Registered
Toyota Supra Turbo 7M-GTE with R154 5-speed
Joined
·
375 Posts
Very, very few. Look for yourself. I would love all the parts that are wearing out that are not considered "wear parts". All the used ones are also worn out.
I heard yesterday from a relatively reliable source that they're already out of stock on many (most perhaps) items. No chance to check it myself, but sure seems like a quick flip and it's over :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,808 Posts
That's all they're gonna make? Nothing else? Not gonna add anymore later? Definitely rough to own a MK3 Supra then
I would say we have to start thinking like the hotrod guys and literally fabricate the items that need replacing which means it will not be cheap!

Fuel Tanks,
A Arms/suspension

Look into other options (such as the ibooster for brakes instead of no assist).

Thinking outside of the box will be a necessity.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SupraGuy760
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top