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Sick Swaps: 2JE/IS300

Supra 2JZ-GTE Powered IS300

Staff Report
Nov 19, 2003

Talk about a dream swap that makes so much sense on so many levels. This Supra 2JZ-GTE/IS300 takes Toyota's best turbo engine and Lexus' sportiest car and mind-melds them better than Spock himself could. It's a straight inline-six-to-inline-six proposition that owner, Brad Smith, pulled off almost single-handedly.

In 2000, Brad had the idea of creating a four-door Supra. A Google search led him to is300.net and his plan started to gel. Unfortunately, the IS300 was only available in auto tranny at the time. The swap was possible, but Brad didn't want to mess with installing pedals and a Clutch Master cylinder.

He heard rumors of a pending five-speed and decided to play the waiting game. "I almost cracked a couple of times," says Brad, "but I was able to hold out and I picked up the first manual IS300 on the East Coast 400 miles away in Virginia Beach." The Lex was quickly fitted with a L-Sportline body kit, Rod Millen taillight conversion and spoiler. It ran 14.9 at 91 mph in stock trim. Unable to wait for the swap, Brad turbo'd the Lexus engine via a TBKO kit and made 324 whp vs. 185 stock. At the strip he ran a 13.1 at 109 on an ailing stock clutch.

"The swap was done completely by me, with help from Jeff Stevens of TBKO, who wired the ECUs together initially and handled wiring the AEM EMS. Also, another misconception is that the swap is easy. People think because the IS comes with a 2JZ-GE, a Supra 2JZ-GTE will fit easily. It will not. Nothing bolts in or fits; [in my case,] the engine mounts are custom, the upper and lower oil pans are custom, the fan assembly, coolant lines, trans mounts, driveshaft, shifter are all custom. Let me reiterate: Nothing fits. This was the first Supra swap in an IS300 so there was no prior information to work off of." Consider us "reiterated."

The 2JZ flexes stock internals but has a set of HKS 264s orchestrating valvetrain events. Brad wanted big boost and scrapped the stock hairdryer for a streetable single-turbo upgrade.

"Turbo choice was scrutinized more than wheel choice," says Brad. "Streetable is defined as 300 lb-ft of rwtq before 4000 rpm. The magic combination was found when Larry Prebis at Sound Performance released his SP74 turbo setup." An RPS carbon/carbon twin-disc clutch was put in charge of funneling the power.

"The idea of the project was to create a four-door Supra that comparatively weighed less, was more practical, handled as well or better but still had the heart of a Supra because for me and most Supra owners 'it's Supras for life.'" Amen, brother.

By Staff Report
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