Doctor Frankenstein may have made a monster, but you gotta admire his devotion. All those nights spent toiling away in the lab takes the kind of zeal known to only to a few-guys like Justin McGinn of Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Like Dr. F, McGinn has built a powerful creature, and though it isn't disfigured, it has come back from the dead more than once. What drives men like these? The good doctor's maniacal obsession was to create life from death, while McGinn's aims were only slightly less insane. He wanted to prove to the local domestic fans that import cars are faster.
McGinn didn't always think this way. His first car was a '69 Camaro. The son of a car nut, McGinn helped his father rebuild the classic project from the ground up, doing all the work together in the family garage. No doubt, 396 cubic inches of V8 grunt could throw McGinn down the quarter-mile faster than you can say 9mpg, but as a daily driver, the Camaro was neither practical nor comfortable.
In 1996, McGinn finally ditched it in favor of a '94 Nissan 300ZX with all the amenities. While A/C, power windows, and a radio that could be heard over the exhaust made commuting much more civilized, McGinn was left wanting more. Development on the platform had not yet matured and, although it was no slouch, the Nissan was certainly a step down in acceleration compared to the heavily modified Camaro.
As McGinn struggled to find the right car, his father began building another '69 Camaro. Although street legal, this latest addition to the family ran 10s off the bottle. As anyone who has seen Star Wars will tell you, father/son rivalries can get particularly heated. McGinn needed to find his perfect import, fast.
He looked in all the right places, talked to fellow racers at track days, trawled through internet forums, read old issues of Sport Compact Car cover-to-cover. Exhaustive research all pointed to one perfect fit: a Toyota Supra MkIV. The car had everything: rear-wheel drive, incredible power potential, and of course, enough creature comforts to make the worst Florida commutes bearable. After a few months rummaging through the used car market, McGinn found his gem 900 miles away. He came home with a well-maintained six-speed with a black interior and mileage under 50K.
Once he got it home, McGinn jumped right into modifying his monster, starting, like most, with an exhaust, intake, and boost controller. Unfortunately, his over-eager lust for power resulted in a blown number two turbo. This catastrophic failure forced a decision: "Now came the time to figure out what I was going to do," says McGinn. "Was I going to build it or put it back to stock and forget it ever happened? After some research, I decided to try for 650 wheel-hp by going to a single turbo set-up."
A slew of parts were ordered and the Supra began its evolution up the automotive food chain to V8 eater.
The most essential element in McGinn's build was obviously going to be the motor. After pouring over dyno graphs and claimed horsepower numbers, he settled with an RPS manifold and T70 turbo. The T70 would eventually be tuned to 29psi. However, the other essential elements of a high boost application like this one needed attention first. Keeping the compressed charge chilly is a GReddy front-mount intercooler, fed through an RPS four-inch intake pipe. Hot gasses are run through a custom downpipe and Blitz Nur-Spec exhaust. An HKS Graphic Controller Computer, HKS Vein Pressure Controller, and GReddy Profec B Boost Controller monitor and adjust the stock ECU. Fuel comes from twin Supra fuel pumps and is shot by 720cc/min injectors at the discretion of an XS fuel pressure regulator. Finally, block-off plates and a carbon fiber spark plug cover keep the under-hood area looking clean.
For suspension, Justin found and installed some rare pieces. TRD produced 'custom' front and rear anti-roll bars for the Supra, roughly 50 percent stiffer than stock in the rear and 27 percent stiffer up front. Eibach shocks and Tokico struts at each corner complement these additions.
When the mound of parts had been bolted, shimmied, and hammered into place, it was time to get the 2JZ tuned. With only external modifications, McGinn was not sure exactly what the fruits of his labors would come to, but his fears were blown away when 29 psi was enough to crank out a claimed 696 wheel-hp and 599lb-ft of torque.
Now that the Supra had the power he was after, it was time to stick it to the muscle cars. Unfortunately, physics had a different idea. "I was racing another vehicle," says McGinn. "In the process, I sheared the synchro between second and third gears." Although quite able with a wrench, McGinn trusted his six-speed to Jay Marks Toyota, who rebuilt the transmission with a hardened gear set and cryo-treated synchros.
Now that nearly 700hp was reaching the ground without a hiccup, most would kick back and have a cold one with a sense of satisfaction. McGinn, however, was not even close to done. He wanted a car that looked good too.
Bomex was used for side and rear skirts, and AB-Flug imported a rare rear diffuser. To keep things clean, he shaved off sidemarkers and badges, as well as the rear windshield wiper, sprayer, and antenna. Volk TE37 alloy wheels in anodized black complete the look, with Sumitomo HTR ZII rubber making traction. Interior accents include a host of gauges from GReddy, as well as an Auto Meter shift light, TRD 10K tachometer, HKS turbo timer, and Sparco pedals and seats.
Never one to rest on his laurels, McGinn plans to continue tweaking the suspension and upgrade the brakes next. "I still have a closet full of parts waiting their turn to go on. This car will always be my work in progress." We believe you, dude.
Toyota Supra MKIV
Engine Code: 2JZ-GTE
Type: 2997cc in-line six, iron block and aluminum head, turbocharged and intercooled
Internal Modifications: None
External Modifications: T70 Q-Trim (.81 A/R) turbo, polished front housing, ported and clipped turbo, RPS header and exhaust turn downpipe (jet-coated), custom heat blanket, RPS four-inch intake pipe (K&N filter), GReddy front-mount intercooler, twin HKS SSBOV, custom downpipe, Blitz Nur Spec exhaust, Fluidyne aluminum radiator, NGK 3330 spark plugs, carbon fiber spark plug cover, GReddy oil filter relocation kit, EGR block-off plates
Engine Management Modifications: XS fuel pressure regulator, 720cc/min injectors, twin Supra fuel pumps in tank, twin -6 lines, HKS Graphic Controller Computer, HKS Vein Pressure Controller, GReddy Profec B Boost Controller
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Drivetrain Modifications: Hardened stock gears, ACT Stage III clutch
Front: Eibach springs, Tokico struts, TRD limited edition anti-roll bar, urethane bushings, Cusco strut bar brace
Rear: Eibach springs, Tokico struts, TRD limited edition anti-roll bar, urethane bushings
Wheels: Rays Engineering/Volk Racing TE37 Black anodized, 18x9.5, +45 offset (F), 18x10, +40 offset (R)
Tires: Sumitomo HTR ZII 265/35/18 (F), 285/40/18 (R)
Body: Shaved, removed wing, RMM front lip, Bomex side skirts, Bomex rear skirts, AB-Flug carbon fiber rear diffuser, European-spec headlights, '97-'98 taillights, '97 bumper lights
Interior: Sparco Torino II seats, JDM TRD steering wheel, HKS turbo timer, TRD 10K rpm tachometer, Sparco aluminum pedals, GReddy boost gauge, EGT, oil pressure, oil temp, fuel pressure, Auto Meter shift light