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SP Engineering's Supra-7

Hellbent Hybrid Part 1

Evan Griffey
Aug 7, 2002 SHARE

One of the first things a newly opened tuning shop does is build a shop project car. The car is used to illustrate the fabrication and tuning prowess of the shop to customers and industry insiders. Many shops get their first (sometimes only) magazine exposure with the shop car.

SP Engineering is an exception to the rule. The company has been featured extensively in Turbo magazine (garnering no less than three 2001 covers) but all of these cars have been customer cars, which says volumes about the quality of work coming out of the shop. SP Engineering didn't even have a project car...until now.

With a shop project car, there is no customer tapping his toes in the waiting room, drooling in anticipation of dropping the hammer of his newly modified ride. Time is not a factor and crazy-sick things can be incorporated into the project without blinking an eye.

With a reputation like SP Engineering's, a shop project has to be something special. When a shop has forged its identity building 600-plus horsepower Supras and wicked-looking RX-7s, standing out from customer cars is no easy task. What do you do? Build a Supra or an RX-7?

The Speed Pride crew decided to not decide; it built both. The result has been dubbed Supra-7. An RX-7 with the lines and lightweight of the Mazda, but piston power in the form of a Supra 2JZ-GTE engine built for extreme power production.

The RX-7 has been in Alex's possession for some time but he says, "I just like boost way too much. The car would run for a couple weeks then Blaam! Twenty psi just doesn't do it for me. I have no patience and that's a catastrophic combination when dealing with a 13B rotary." Alex knew the Supra's 2JZ-GTE powerplant could stand up to his insatiable lust for boost but how would it be secured in the Mazda?

A Wired World
Using the engine's mounting points and the Mazdas's mounting points, Eric Toyoshiba from Advanced Design Fabrications (ADF) created a cradle that provided the engine with a comfortable place to nest while ensuring that the transmission and driveline could be properly joined. Making the motor sit in the Mazda body was one thing, wiring the engine up and making it run is another story. Knowing that the wiring set-ups from two car manufacturers are different, a new wiring system or scheme was developed. After a lengthy brainstorming session, SP Engineering decided to use the Painless Wiring 12 circuit race fuse box. Most of the Mazda wiring system was completely removed to install the Toyota wiring system in tandem with the Painless box.

Building Blocks
The 2JZ's bottom end is quite stout from the factory so a built bottom end is only needed for serious power applications. When it comes to hard parts the Supra 7's 2JZ-GTE is filled with quality. JE Piston 8.5:1 compression forged slugs swing on Crower rods and this reciprocating mass spins on a knife-edged and balanced stock crankshaft.

Head Games
Supras make their power in the turbo(s) and the head. SP has fortified the Supra-7 valvetrain with stainless-steel Ferrea valves (33.6mm intake, 29.5 mm exhaust) and Ferrea heavy-duty double springs, keepers and retainers. The high-speed capacity of this set-up is put to maximum utilization by a pair of HKS camshafts. The bumpsticks deliver 9.35mm of lift and 272 degrees of duration, ensuring the 2JZ can ingest all the oxygen it needs.

Pressure Points
Pressurization is produced by a pair of HKS GT Series 3037S turbos. The Garrett-based hairdryers sport a .87 A/R on the hot side and a .60 A/R on the compressor side. A 56T-trim compressor wheel is in charge of packing the air, which makes its way to the engine via a front-mount Blitz air-to-air intercooler. An HKS wastegate bleeds off unneeded exhaust gases, while a pair of HKS Super Sequential blow-off valves are on call to relieve boost pressure in the intake tract between shifts.

No Fuelin'
Fuel is a key component in the power-generating process and to this end SP Engineering has installed the hardware and electronics with an eye to supporting four-digit power levels. It all starts with twin Denso high-flow pumps and -6 lines. At the rail flow is controlled by a Sard regulator and directed to the engine's 1000cc injectors. Old standbys, namely the HKS Vein Pressure Converter (VPC) and Graphic Control Computer (GCC), are on duty in accordance with an HKS EVC boost controller and an SP Engineering ROM-tuned stock ECU to oversee fueling strategies and boost.

Power Transference
The application of power is handled by a stock Supra six-speed transmission outfitted with a C's short shifter and HKS triple-place clutch. At the rear, thrust is funneled through a RE Amemiya differential and custom Titanium axles. SP Engineering elected to use a metal driveshaft in lieu of a lightweigh aluminum or carbon fiber unit for durability reasons.

Re: Mamma Meeya
The Supra-7 tallies righteous style points for its immaculately installed RE Amemiya fender flares and front fascia. 20/20 Autobody of City Of Industry handled the grafting and painting chores. Once the RX-7's flowing bodylines were massaged to perfection, five coats of Lamborghini yellow were unleashed on the Mazda. The results speak for themselves.

Suspension Bridge
For suspension, SP has elected to run HKS Drag coilovers specially imported for the project. This suspension set-up hints that the car will be expected to do a lot more than look pretty--quarter-mile blasts are in its future. Racing Beat sway bars and RE Amemiya tie rods and A-arms round out the undercarriage mods. Rolling stock consists of Blitz Technospeed aluminum and Yokohama AVS Sport rubber. Up front, 18x8.5 rims are joined by 235/ZR40-18 tires while the rear is fitted with an 18x10.5 and 285/ZR35-18 combination. Before running out and going this fat on wheels and tires for your RX-7, remember, this baby is flared.

This is just the foundation for insanity. How much power will this thing make? In Part 2 of "Hellbent Hybrid," we will detail the tuning portion of the project and bring you the rest of this epic street car saga.

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By Evan Griffey
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