Ever a popular event, the 9th annual Supras Invade Las Vegas meet grew even larger this year. It goes without saying that high horsepower turbo'ed vehicles will grab our attention so you can count on us to show up; it's like bees to a hive. Billed as "the largest Supra event on the planet," this meet includes a scenic drive through the mountains beyond Sin City, a huge car show with the famous Luxor pyramid as the backdrop, our favorite the dyno challenge, and finally, some good ol' drag racing.
Hands down, the Supra, whether you are a fan or not, is a damn impressive car. The 1994 MkIV body lines are still as relevant and good looking today even though the car is over 10 years old. The improvements made upon the factory turbo setup are astounding. Whether you are into looks or power, the Supra holds both in spades. Sometimes you'll get both as a flawless show-worthy Supra beats a domestic on the quarter-mile. That's what we love about Supras; they look good and drive hard.
After the scenic drive on Day One, Day Two started off with a bang with nearly 160 Supras turning out for the Show and Shine event. Everything from drag cars to show phonies had their hood popped for closer inspection. If you own or ever plan to own a Supra this is the event to attend to gather ideas and talk with other Supra owners about what they have done in the quest for horsepower.
On display for the MkII crowd were numerous 7M-GTE conversions and several 1JZ-GTE and even a Lexus V8 swap. The 1JZ-GTE powerplants were plentiful in the MkIII group as well as a couple of 2JZ-GTE swaps to boot. The trend among the MkIV crew was to return the twin-turbo setup and forego the big single turbo movement of years past. Part of the show event includes the awards competition and Turbo cover car (Nov. 2004) owner Ken Henderson took home Best MkIV Exterior Modified award, his first ever Show and Shine award-long overdue in coming. As usual, Supra owners as a group take home the award for sheer number of personalized license plates. We get it; you love your car and want everyone to know.
Day Three brought out our sole purpose for living; to see who can post the best dyno numbers. Silver State Motorsports opened up its dyno facility again and let the Supras bust loose. Representing for the MkII's was Dave Shepherd who took home Highest Horsepower MkII Unlimited with 397.7. An impressive sight this year was Tony Orta's 7M-GTE that threw down 825 whp-take that you MkIVs.
Speaking of MkIVs, the big boys were afraid to come out and play this year. After Ken Henderson's impressive 1,110 hp run last year without nitrous he bowed out this year to let the others duke it out. But no one seemed to want to step up to the plate. Afraid of bruising their egos? Finally, HOURS later, Saad Saad set the event record for Highest Horsepower MkIV Single Turbo with 1,130.93. With two big guys sitting in the trunk to keep the damn thing on the dyno, the car unfortunately spewed coolant and oil out its second pass so it was done for the day.
The biggest number posted for the day, by this time evening, was Ryan Woon who made a late grand entrance, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats wondering if he would show up. Winning the Highest Horsepower MkIV Unlimited award, Ryan posted over 1,200 hp and was actually cut off by the DynoJet which could not register more than 1,200 hp. Now that is something to brag about.
As a total aside, adding to the family/everyone-knows-each-other atmosphere, several individuals approached us at both the Show and the Dyno event who recognized Turbo's Project Celica which we piloted to the event. Parking as far away as possible in our what we thought would be a frowned upon Celica; we still had people walk up to us who had seen the car tooling about in SoCal. We even ran into a couple of, um, shall we say previous opponents-not that we ever race. Never. What was clear was that the love for performance and Toyotas was everywhere.
Closing out this year's event was the annual Drag Showdown at The Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. An interesting tweak this year was some built-in competition with the Buick Grand National Club's West Coast Nationals sharing the track the same night. Nothing like a little domestic versus import turbo rivalry. Drag classes this year included the Quick 8 Unlimited, Quick 8 Turbo Only, Street 8, Basic Performance Upgrades, 6-Speed Challenge, and Grudge. Also taking place at the drag strip was the Super Tuner Car Show and Fantasy Schoolgirl Contest (a scary fetish alternative to the boring bikini contest).
Aside from Supras burning rubber there were a load of Top Comp cars making 200-plus mph passes and one crazy Top Fuel Funny Car. A highlight race was a Grand National and Supra going heads up, and not just any GN and Supra but both vehicles that had been posting 8-second passes (check out the DVD, link provided below, for footage).
As usual it was an awesome event from show to dynos to drags and well-worth the excursion to Las Vegas. (As if we needed an excuse.) What I have come to decide about Supras is that as much as I love and admire them, I just can never own one unless I win the lottery. They are just too darn expensive to own because the possibilities are endless to make power on these puppies. It would be impossible to keep a Supra stock when there are limitless modifications to pursue which is like kryptonite for me. I simply could not afford my ideas and need for power. Nonetheless, I will salivate at every MkIV I see on the freeway and continue to torture myself by attending this event next year and seeing even more sick Supras that are not parked in my driveway.
Next year we hope even more Supras turn out. Even if you don't have the Toyota in question take advantage of the casino-subsidized cheap airfare to the City of Lost Wages and attend the 10th annual Supras Invade Las Vegas event. The more the merrier.
For more information and to see the other award winners visit Vegas.Supras.org and SupraSport.com. To purchase video coverage of the event contact ExtremeMotorsports.tv.