Supra Forums banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I am looking at a 1986.5 MK3 Supra that I may be interested in buying as a project car and would like some input as I do not know a whole lot about these cars and their potential. The car in question is a 1986.5 Supra hardtop, 200k miles, 2 owners, pretty decent exterior shape with no major rusting visible, and the interior just needs a bit. The owner is asking for 4000. I have not seen the car in person yet but plan to do so this week, depending on the feedback I get here.

Overall I have been looking around for a project car this summer that I can get into and learn from. I daily a Ford Ranger so looking for something a bit more fun and sportier. Looked a lot at Foxbody Mustangs but couldn't manage to get my hands on one so far. I have been doing a good amount of research the last few days on these MK3s but still would like to put some questions out.

I saw a similar post talking about an NA NT MK3 Supra that seemed to imply the car was not worth buying because the car was never built to handle the horsepower and supposedly never would. Is this based on the stock engine or the overall body and frame of the car? I know engine swaps are popular, is this a down-the-line solution if I wanted to push more power, or is this just not the body for it? Based on the information I have right now, everything on the car is still in working order and no bodywork needs to be done however I have read parts for these cars are tough to come by. One of my interests in a project car is being able to modify it into my own. Is getting aftermarket or stock parts a pain or is there good support for MK3s? I did a bit of searching online but not sure if I got a good gauge.

I'd love to get some opinions on this car and the price it's being asked for. To me, 4k seems high for 200k miles. I am realizing there is a lot more to buying one of these MK3 supras than meets the eye so any help would be greatly appreciated!

I can provide a rear photo and an interior if desired. If I do go look at the car I can upload more as well
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Plant

Super Moderator
11,146 Posts
The biggest enemy of MK3's is overall condition, not mileage - exterior trim and interior parts especially. Nothing to worry about with lots of HP in the future, the stock transmissions are weak in the non turbos but the engines can be built and the differentials and subframes are identical to the turbo models in strength. The non turbos came with 4.30:1 gearing in the rear end, turbos came with 3.91 or 3.73 depending on the year.
Overall, the odometer almost doesn't matter, it's the true condition of the cosmetics in the trim and interior and paint that dictate ultimate value. There's a lot more engines and powertrains out there than clean interiors and chassis. Personally, based on the one picture alone, I'd buy that car immediately if it were available in my area - even though the last thing I need is another car :ROFLMAO:
There's great overall support for all the engine build/go fast parts. The cosmetic parts like trim and interior are very poorly supported, so a clean original car in nice condition has a ton of value even if it's a lowly non turbo.

Being a 3600lb car with a non turbo 200hp engine don't expect much in stock form. But a set of good wider wheels, coilovers, and refreshed brakes will make for a pretty good driving experience even with the stock NA engine. Build plans should focus on a quality standalone ECU, repair/total replacement of all the old failing wiring, and of course a stronger transmission.

If you want to build a street monster that'll get all the respect at street races or local drag events, it's totally possible to do with a MKIII but it's not as cheap as many other options these days.

Starting from a clean and nice $4000 NA MK3, I'd focus on sorting out the suspension and brakes and other supporting stuff like that. From there, a myriad of options exist from building your existing 7M-GE engine for boost, or doing any number of possible 1JZ/2JZ swaps and matching suitable transmissions.

Welcome to Supraforums! 馃嵑
  • Like
Reactions: 1982 dragon

61 Posts
$4000 and a picture like that I would definitely be interested. These cars are old enough that they make pretty good learning cars. Setting ignition timing and doing some of the maintenance thats involved with older cars definitely gives you a better understanding of how cars actually work. It also makes things a lot more simplistic when it comes to customizing.

I own an NA auto. It is not fast. You can catch on a kickdown and get it to put you back in the seat. Its more of a cruiser to me.

The blocks and heads are essentially the same from NA to turbo minus the plumbing for the turbo, although, the casting for it is still there. The cams are slightly different. The main difference is the pistons. The NA has a higher compression piston which will limit you should you choose to add a turbo on. All cars/trucks from the 80s with mixed metal blocks/heads are prone to head gasket failure. The supra is no exception.

That being said you need to be realistic if you are going to add a turbo you should rebuild it. Even with low mileage seals break down with age and 35 years is a long time assuming its never been rebuilt. Its a NA Toyota so that is more then possible. While its open you can convert it over to turbo internals.

The transmission limits you to 300-400 HP range. There is a W58 manual that can go in there but is also limited 500hp. Another manual option is the R154 but they are fairly expensive.

I would familiarize yourself with the common rust areas in this car. In front of the rear wheels near where the subframe mounts. Rust here can spread into the boxed in portion of the sheet metal that acts like a frame rail. The other areas are more superficial. A little rot spot in a wheel well can make for a good project to fix. Your gas tank flying off at 50 mph cause the strap finally gave way due to rust is not fun. Check the rear of the car over really good. Any place that looks dented or off make sure it feels solid

Do I think $4000 is to much for a decent looking, all together mk3 supra that drives and is not a rust bucket? No. I would pay it. Thats honestly not a bad deal. In my area that would probably go for $4000-8000.

248 Posts
It's all about the body's on these cars now.
Hell, automatic cars are bringing good cash now (good for me), especially up here in Canada.
Rust is the enemy as stated. Don't worry too much about the mileage.
Even low mile beauties will need the rear subframe dropped with all new bushing replacement. I've been putting this off on mine.
Make sure you pull the spare tire out... check for rust in the trunk. Get your head right up inside the rear wheel wells and inspect for rust in the shock towers. These cars leak like crazy between the crappy hatch seal and the tail light gaskets. They typically rot in the back mainly.
Then just check for the usual stuff. Compression test the 7M. Check for oil leaks etc.
These are great cars. But be prepared to replace some stuff due to age

16 Posts
In addition to everything stated above, check the factory seam where the top half and the bottom half of the gas tank are welded together. When I bought my car, it only came with a quarter tank of gas. I soon found out why!! Kind of a pain in the ass to see with the car on the ground, but I would check it the best that you can. Gas tanks for these cars are apparently getting pretty rare and cost a good bit of you can find one. The replacement that I bought cost me $600, USED!!!!!
1 - 5 of 5 Posts