The Toyota Supra is the Lamborghini Diablo of Japanese sports cars -- oversexed, overbuilt and over the top. Last available in the United States in 1998, the Supra is renowned in aftermarket tuner circles mainly because its stout inline-six is said to need nothing but a few basic performance upgrades to create obscene amounts of power. (Obscene in these circles means up to 900 hp.)
But Keith Ta, who owns the Speed Force Racing tuner shop in San Diego, wanted to push the envelope. He upgraded the pistons, rods and a host of engine internals before installing not one but two massive turbochargers, a twin-core intercooler to cool the air compressed by those turbos, and custom manifolds and tubing. Using a refined sense of overkill, Ta rigged up a nitrous oxide system to further produce a short-lived power spike. With the boost from the turbos cranked up to a whopping 34 psi, Ta says the engine should develop 1,000-plus hp at the wheels -- figure 1,200 at the crank -- while the nitrous fix adds an extra 80.
On the cosmetic front, Ta combined off-the-shelf body kit components with his own custom pieces to produce a uniquely sleek Supra. The car rides on colossal 19-inch wheels, 12.5 inches wide at the rear, a choice made partially for looks and partially because it helps to have a lot of rubber on asphalt with 1,000 hp underfoot. (Ta had to fit smaller-than-stock rear brakes to accommodate his racing tires, steamroller-like 345/35s. He compensated with race-quality 14-inch drilled rotors up front.) Inside, the Supra features a steering wheel fitted with a bright red button to squirt some nitrous. Excess weight, apparently, is not a concern: There's also a mini TV. "I can't watch it on the street," Ta admits, "but it comes in handy when I get bored at car shows."
TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH
Keith Ta's riddle: How to get 1,200 hp -- more than double the output of the stock Viper's 8.3-liter V10 -- out of a 3.0-liter inline-6? Answer: Use more air. Take a pair of mega-turbos (1a), the doughnut-shaped assemblies to the left of the carbon-fiber spark plug cover (1b), and blow 34 pounds of air pressure into the intake manifold. Unfortunately, Ta was awaiting the arrival of new nitrous oxide bottles when this photo was shot. The nitrous is usually mounted just aft of the fuel cell (2), which is more for show than for extra power. There isn't much left of the original Toyota Supra body. The bumpers (3a), side skirts (3b), carbon-fiber hood (3c) and fender flares (3d) have all been reshaped and brake ducts (3e) added, while the intercooler fills the wide-mouth grille (3f). Speaking of looks, Ta didn't miss a trick on the interior, from the beautifully bent rollcage (4a) to the suede seats to the aluminum pedals. Also note the carbon-fiber instrument panel insert (4b) and the television-equipped Alpine entertainment system (4c). The steering wheel (5) has been fitted with two buttons, one on the left to spray nitrous for instant grunt, the other to activate the line-lock transmission device used to launch the car at dragstrips (or stoplights). The forged Fikse wheels (6) are works of art in their own right. Look closely and you can also spot the gargantuan 14-inch drilled rotors and six-piston calipers of the road-race-developed front brakes. How do you keep the tires on this beast from breaking loose? Fit the biggest set of street-legal, high-performance meats known to man. Ta stuck with Pirellis at the front but went to Michelin 345/35 rear tires (7) to take advantage of their 14-inch-plus-wide girth.
WHERE'D THEY GET THE GOODS
Car 1994 Toyota Supra
Engine 2JZ-GTE dohc inline-six
Connecting rods Carrillo Industries, 949-498-1800
Fuel injection MSD Ignition
ECU Advanced Engine Management, 310-484-2322
Turbocharger Innovative Turbo Systems, 805-526-5400
Intercooler Spearco/Turbonetics, 805-581-0333
Intake manifold Speed Force Racing, 619-441-1359
Exhaust manifold Speed Force Racing
Nitrous oxide Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS), 714-545-0580
Clutch Advanced Clutch Technology
Wheels Fikse USA, 253-872-3888
Front tires Pirelli, 800-747-3554
Rear tires Michelin, 800-847-3435
Front brakes AP Racing, +44-24-7663-9595
Suspension AFCO Racing Products, 812-897-0900
Seats, Harnesses, Pedals Sparco
Gauges Blitz North America, 714-777-9766
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.