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Tearing up Sydney streets
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
EDIT: Go to post 51 (click HERE) to view the index for the entire build.

I thought I would start a new build thread, continued from here:

http://www.supraforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=594635

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19r0qG4nVAc&hd=1



Hi everyone,

Please excuse the length of this thread, but I wanted to document the entire build, from the beginning of my ownership of the Supra, to the day I considered it "complete". I will start with some background, and then detail the entire build from start to end - if you are not one for reading the story behind a Supra or a build, then feel free to fast forward to the photos :). I will also include reasons for purchasing certain parts, which vendors I chose to use and why, trials, tribulations, ups and downs, and things I learned along the way.

I understand that not everyone will appreciate all aspects of the build, parts chosen, avenues taken, but as with almost anything car related, it all comes down to personal preference and subjectivity.

The Beginning - The Purchase:

It was 2005 and I had just finished putting myself through university. Never having been a "car person", I was totally clueless when it came to cars and only saw them as a means of getting from A to B. However, I needed a car as I was sick of taking public transport everywhere, so I decided to start looking for something interesting. I knew I wanted a sports car, but I also found out that in Australia, decent sports cars cost an insane amount of money. To put this into perspective, lets look at the Porsche 911 Carrera. At the time of writing this, in the US, a new one retails for USD$87000 (AUD$96000). Guess how much it costs in Australia? USD$202000 (AUD$225000). How about a BMW M3? In the US it will set you back USD$70000 (AUD$78000), here in Australia it will cost you USD$153000 (AUD$170000).

After doing some research and looking at car weights, power figures, performance figures etc, I realised that Japanese imports were an excellent option for fast, well priced sports cars! I had previously had great experience with the reliability of Toyotas, and so I had the Soarer (AKA SC400) in my sights. I was trying to decide between the 3 variants (http://www.sportsluxurycars.com.au/vehicles/toyota_soarer.htm) - 4.0L V8, NA inline 6 or the 2.5L Twin Turbo. It did seem like a bit of a heavy car, and every specimen I inspected at various car dealers was pretty average in terms of looks and condition. All of a sudden, I started noticing the Supras for sale. I then thought, "I don't really need a luxury cruiser, a sports car is what I want", and I started to fall in love with the looks and styling of the Supra. Lucky for me, importers had started to bring in Supras by the hundreds from Japan, so there was no shortage of possibilities, colours or variants. At the end of 2005, I had been researching the Supra scene, the various models, production history, optional extras, year models and associated price ranges. I looked at MANY, and found 2 that looked too good to be true, but unfortunately missed out on them. The first was this stock red beauty:






The other was this subtle silver number:




I also joined the local Supra club and purchased some nice memorabilia:





Then, in November, I found what I wanted. It was a 1994 white GZ (the top of the range Supra model at the time of its release in Japan - airbag, optional side and rear skirts, active front spoiler, leather seats). At this stage, the car had been inspected by a mechanic for possible problems, history check and other various checks I had performed to ensure everything was as described (odometer had not been wound back, no accident history, clear of debt etc), and all was OK.

However, I had never driven or been a passenger in a Supra before, so I had no idea what to expect in terms of performance and general feel of how it drives. So I posted up a help me thread on the Australian Supraforums: http://supraforums.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=13898 . I basically wanted someone who knew Supras to take it for a test drive to ensure it drove as it should (turbos working, autobox operation etc). Everything checked out, so I made a visit to the bank, then to the dealer and was soon on my way with my new Supra!

Here is how the car looked when it first came home:











After some TLC:







 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The first thing I wanted to do was get some new wheels and tyres - I felt that the white was begging for a nice contrasting colour, and the ratty old silver rims just weren't doing it for me, so I sold them:






I found a perfect set of Gold Gewalt Evolution rims. They were extremely rare (no longer manufactured) and were in amazing condition: I was lucky to get them, and for a great price too! I negotiated a price for the rims and a set of tyres from a Japanese parts importer operating as a trader on a local online Nissan forum:





So they went on the car:









I also decided to have the brake calipers painted by a bodyshop and some new stickers applied:






As I previously mentioned, performance was a big factor in my decision, so I decided to have the car dyno tested before I started any modifications so that I would have a baseline figure to compare with:





The bomex front bumper at this stage was really starting to annoy me, I never particularly liked the look of it, and it was an absolute nightmare when it came to driveways and speedbumps, regardless of how slowly I took it:





So, I decided to find a stock front bumper and use that - however I soon realised I would also need the lip to attach to the bottom... the car looked ridiculous with the front bumper but no lip. Luckily, there is a great Australian Supraforums member who runs a business primarily catering to the Supra community, and I was able to obtain a fairly well conditioned stock front bumper:


 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
which I had cleaned up and resprayed:






However this did not come with the stock lip, so I just purchased the bumper by itself and bought another bumper (lip and all) from another Australian Supraforums member, removed the lip and sold the front bar:





At this stage, I was quite happy with how the car looked:








I started spending more time on the Supraforums, including the US Supraforums, UK Supraforums and Australian Supraforums - participating more and more, doing a lot of reading, and watching a lot of videos of Supras demolishing much more "exotic" cars.

I got the modding bug.

Research showed me that the best bang for buck upgrade I could do would be to replace the standard stock ceramic Japspec twins with their steel counterparts from the US. So I enlisted stock twin expert Stuart Hagens help and advice. After many long hours discussing the differences between the Japspec and USspec turbo system (turbos, downpipes, flanges etc) and trawling for sale threads to find a set of low milage turbos, Stuart had managed to secure a number of sets of twins with the first and second turbos in varying conditions. With his experience, he measured and checked numerous sets, eventually putting together a set with both turbos in almost perfect condition and minimal shaft play.
In addition, all required gaskets, flanges, pipes and hardware was purchased from Curt @ Elmhurst, polished up and shipped to me.





At this stage, I also decided to do some other upgrades. So the stock SMIC was given the flick, replaced by the renowned Greddy 3 row. The stock exhaust was changed to a Tanabe Super Hyper Medallion due to its stock look and low noise levels (here in Australia, police are very strict when it comes to exhaust noise and appearance). The cats were removed, and a single hi-flow cat put in their place to avoid potential fines, a Blitz SBC I-color boost controller to tame the new twins, larger injectors to feed more fuel to the engine and keep up with the increased boost, a new intake (got rid of the stock airbox), polished cold air intake shield and various other goodies:







Next up was replacing the ugly Pioneer stereo that came with the car with a nice subtle looking Sony head unit, sold the cannon/tube subwoofer and replaced it with 2 12" Pioneer subwoofers in a custom box.




In addition, I also had my stock brakes re-painted red (a re-paint) and the Supra logo stickers applied:


 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
During the time I was making these small modifications, I had found my mechanic for life. A gentleman by the name of Paden who runs a workshop called Unique Automotive. He is basically capable of anything related to cars, from general servicing, troubleshooting, to turbo installs, dyno tuning, electrics and other performance modifications. On top of this, he is extremely humble and well spoken, a genuinely nice, honest person and is known as THE Supra Mechanic here in Australia. He charges rediculously small amounts for the work performed, and if you try and give him a tip or pay a little extra to say thank you, the money gets pushed back your way.

I digress. At this stage, the parts were installed and the car tuned for the new additions:






It was at this stage that I decided I wanted to change the look of the car... I did love how it looked, but the TRD widebody threads I had seen on the US supraforums started to make me look at my Supra in a different light. I loved the look of the TRD widebody, but at that stage, I had some pretty bad experiences involving terrible paint and bodywork done locally, so there was no way I would trust these people to do a widebody conversion. I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like, and that was bludemons custom widebody. Ever since I first saw it, there was just something about it that really did it for me: in my eyes, it was the best looking Supra I had ever seen. If it was possible, it seemed like he had managed to tastefully modify a Supra to look more like a Supra than in it's standard form. I feel the same way about the "standard" TRD widebody conversions - you end up with a Supra that still looks like a Supra but meaner and wider. There was no denying that my future car would borrow looks from his - skirts and front bumper that flow well together but do not detract from the Supras stylish, curvy looks.

After a lot of research, back and forth emails and phone calls etc, I realised that widebody TRD skirts would just not fit, and having a custom set made to imitate them in non-widebody form would be a pain. As such, I followed in the footsteps of StSupDog and decided I would modify some Blitz sideskirts, the closest to TRD widebody skirts that is easily available. I purchased the skirts from Dusty @ MVP and had them shipped over. During this time, I had been doing a LOT of research into local painters/bodyshops who would be worthy of the job of modifying, painting and fitting the skirts. Luckily, through the Australian Nissan/Skyline forums, I was able to find a reputable man for the job, the only bad things said were that he took too long as he was a perfectionist.

In addition to this, I knew I wanted a colour change. Sure I loved the white, the fact that it always looked clean and the way the gold wheels contrasted with the paint, but I also was sick of the fact that it would never look as deep and reflective as a black car. I could spend hours and hours detailing it, and sure it would look great, but if I spent 6 hours detailing it, it simply would just not look THAT MUCH better than when it was just cleaned really well and polished/waxed properly. After looking at every paint manufacturer and colour under the sun, I decided that there were too many shades that I liked the look of - bludemons, various UK Supraforums members, OEM lamborghini and aston martin colours... the list went on and on, and my hard disk was sick of me saving pictures of all these cars and their slightly different shades of grey/silver. So, I decided on BLACK and set out to find the deepest, most reflective black I could. I decided I did not want a pearl or any flake in the paint, but just a pure black that would give me the best possible reflections when taken care of properly. I had previously posted up a thread out of interest to get opinions on black paint and maintenance (http://supraforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=400531), but at the end of the day, I knew I wanted black, along with all of its ups and downs and I didn't care that it would be covered in dust 5 minutes after I had finished spending 2 hours washing it.

So, the plan was to have the skirts modified, fitted and primed along with the front bumper by the fibreglass "specialist". Then the car was to be sent to the mechanic to have the engine removed and then to the paint shop to respray the engine bay. After this, the car would go back to the mechanic, have the engine replaced, then back to the paint shop for the rest of the respray.

The skirts were soon modified and fitted:





The car was then sent to the mechanic, the engine removed, then towed to the bodyshop:






I also opted for new stock front fenders. At this stage, the skirts were on, the new front fenders were on, and the engine bay was sprayed black:










 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)



In the mean time, I had many of the stock parts chromed by Brian Koshy (OHRLY - RB Chroming), including the intake manifold, throttle body, turbo pipes, intake pipes, greddy piping, battery clamp, . I also purchased a new radiator from Curt @ Elmhurst. I also reconditioned the engine harness myself, painting faded plugs and wires in their original colours, new loom and wire protection, new electrical tape etc, all to get the harness looking almost as good as new.

















 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)



I had ordered some Top Secret Gold Volk GT-C's, with BFG tyres from Dusty @ MVP, and had these sitting in my room:











Also some cross drilled, slotted Rotora replacement rotors:







In addition, I had ordered a new stock rear bumper, as the JSPEC ones have a huge hole cutout for the Japanese sized numberplates. Unfortunately, here in Australia our numberplates are quite a bit smaller, so we end up with an ugly gap on either side.






Whilst the car was at the mechanics having all of the new parts put in and the engine replaced (I knew the mechanic had a huge backlog so it would take some time), I was doing more forum surfing than ever. I was admiring all of the amazing builds being undertaken in the US and around the world.
In the back of my mind, I was thinking "my Supra is going to look amazing, but lets face it, you are trying to emulate a widebody, and you know you want more power".

Next, I made a huge decision. I thought "hey, I work extremely hard, don't use drugs, don't gamble and really don't reward myself. The Supra is my only indulgence in life, why not turn it into my dream car - make it exactly what I want, not some toned down, emulated version of it?".

Prior to this decision, I had done a LOT of research into local bodyshops, workshops and engine builders. In addition, I had also had bodywork done by various local shops with some good and some AWEFUL results. I also saw that the boys in the USA had been building high horsepower Supras for quite a few years and had a LOT of experience with the 2JZ engines and Supra framework. In addition, they definitely had fitting of the TRD widebody kits down to a fine art - I had literally not been able to find a single bad example when a good quality kit was used as the basis of the work. The guys at SP were fine tuning their aftermarket sequential Twin Turbo kit, but unfortunately, it required in-house fabrication and installation.

Many will argue that the car could just as easily have been built here, but the fact of the matter is that I made the decision to send it overseas based on my previous experiences with the local automotive industry. I lost a LOT of faith in local "experts", and many can attest to the number of such shops (e.g. Nathan and his TRD widebody build). I am sure there are many shops around Australia who people will say could have undertaken the bodywork, but after having spoken with the guys in the USA, they all had connections with various experts who had PROVEN work done for them on Supras. For example, the guys at SP had a bodyshop guy they had known for quite some time and churned out flawless jobs on every single one of their Race cars, shop Supras and their customers Supras. In addition, they had engine builders who they had been dealing with for the better part of a decade, connections with engineers at Toyota, with developers of aftermarket ECU products and software etc. For example, MVP Motorsports have been building top-spec 2JZ stroker motors since they have been available, using some of the best engine builders and cylinder head technology available (CNC).

Not to mention no local workshops had produced anything like the aftermarket Sequential Twin Turbo system SP had developed - one of the major selling points for me!

As a result of this, I emailed Dusty at MVP Motorsports on the 19th of November 2007 and then followed up immediately with a phone call. The jist of the phone call was this: Dusty: I want to ship my car to the US, have a modified TRD widebody kit fitted and have the engine built and a turbo install performed which would give me maximum low end power and torque with minimal lag.

My reasoning for the low end power is that here in Australia, we simply don't have the same highway formation as in the US, so highway races are few and far between - the majority of "races" are from a dig at a set of traffic lights (for example). Whilst I am not a street racer and would never risk the lives of others, a low RPM torque monster was much more attractive to me than a higher horsepowered beast that stretches its legs when racing from a roll.

The car was not only going to have a widebody conversion and a respray, I wanted to replace EVERY SINGLE PART: I WANTED A 2009/2010 Toyota Supra :). So, I soon started to write out a list of every single part and modification required to build my dream car, and started ordering the parts. The plan was to ship the car via ocean freight in its own container, and I would fill the interior of the car to the brim with the parts to be used (as well as some extra boxes that would go on a pallet in the container with the car).

So the car went to the port for shipping:



And the parts collecting began:
 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I also thought that getting new gauges would be a nice addition to the interior:







Not to mention some old school JDM accessories... TRD Fuel Cap Cover:




and the requisite Greddy Radiator Plug:



I also purchased a New TRD Radiator Cap as I was undecided between the two :):




Greddy Clamps:




To add some more shine to the engine bay, I decided to go for a Chromed Radiator Pipe (chromed thanks to RB Chroming):






Some more Chromed Engine Bay Goodies to spice up the engine bay:






I also wanted to replace the old ratty mirrors with New OEM Mirrors:



 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
To renew some of the aging parts at the rear of the car, I decided on some New Rear Hood Struts:




Next up was the complete refresh of the interior.. including New OEM Interior Trim:





I purchased a New OEM Shifter Knob:






Also a New OEM Footrest to clean up the floor area of the Supra:




And a New OEM Pedal to go alongside:




Can't miss the New OEM Accelerator!




I also opted for New OEM Door Trim to further ensure every part looked nice and new - no aging weather seals or trim here!








To complete the rear once all of the other parts were renewed, I also added a New OEM Rear Blind:





For the engine bay, I always liked the look of the stock radiator and shroud as I felt it was quite subtle and the lines worked well with the rest of the engine bay... so I purchased a New OEM Fan Shroud:

 

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Tearing up Sydney streets
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625 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
After years of abuse from the previous owner, I felt it only appropriate to renew more of the door/side trim, so I added some New OEM Door Scuff Plates:






Along with that shipment came the brand spanking New OEM Fenders!






To take advantage of the huge shipment, I added in a New OEM Cowl, which often look ratty and run-down in many of the older Supras:







I also was lucky to score some New OEM Mats from a Toyota dealer who apparently lived in the dark ages and still had some really old (but unopened - i.e. New) stock available:




This part number was a real pain in the ass to find, but once I found it I ordered it straight away... a New OEM Underpanel:






My handbrake was also looking a bit worn out after 15 years! So I added a new one to the order:



 
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