We never had the pleasure of getting the Z20 Toyota Soarer on US soil. Perhaps the most relatable aspect of the '86-91 Soarer is that it shares the same chassis as the A70 Supra, where powerplants like the 1G, 7M and 1J/2J were interchangeable. Some might say we were blessed with the Lexus SC300/400-the successor to the Z20. But for us JDM fanboys, a piece of us was still missing since we never received this fine rear-wheel drive, boxy coupe that begged to be driven hard or even drifted; hence why our hearts fluttered when we came across this never-before-seen Z20 from Japan.
Akihiro Nakamura snagged this '91 Toyota Soarer just before the next generation came marching in. The chassis originally came with a turbocharged 7M-GTE, but since the newer and more powerful JZ engines were a direct swap, it was a no-brainer what Nakamura-san was going to do. He decided to piece together a fully-built 3.0-liter 1.5JZ. Confused? A 1.5JZ consists of a 1JZ head with a 2JZ short block. This hybrid combination uses a high flowing head mated with a large turbo, all equating to a quick compressor spool. United with the larger 3.0-liter short block, Nakamura-san benefits from low-end torque and great peak power.
The bottom-end received a grip of reinforcement to serve his power demands, not necessarily for reinforcement but for longevity with newer metals and fresh components. The guys at R Performance installed forged Tomei pistons and connecting rods in preparation for the ogre-esque T04R turbo. An HKS standalone computer controls the engine assembly working in conjunction with its various sensors. A five-speed R154 transmission, a direct cousin of the robust six-speed Supra V160 Getrag, was reused but upgraded with a twin-plate Ogura Racing Clutch. The rejuvenated powertrain gave the Soarer reliable and quick-spooling power with a peak of 550whp, plenty of cojones for Nakamura-san's weekend drift events.
Because this JDM Toyota Soarer was built to slide, super-stiff 20kg front and 11kg rear Swift springs on the Aragosta-based coilovers were a perfect match for the drift machine. At a whopping 6.5-degrees camber, the front struts have been set up Oni-kyan style (demon camber) by which no pun was ever intended to this "Oni Style" Soarer name. The Soarer comes equipped with a double wishbone suspension, so the camber adjustment had to be done via upper and lower arms and not by camber plates-a large hint that the suspension components were modified for performance and stance. All alignment settings were configured according to Nakamura's driving style.
For the JDM exterior, beige metallic was chosen to envelop the factory Toyota Soarer aero, including the JZA70 Supra front lip. Each fender was delicately pulled and folded to accommodate the staggered TE37 Super Lap wheels. Not just for show, Nakamura-san explained to us he chose these classic Volk Racing six-spokes for their light weight, strength and durability. In fact, these wheels were so emphasized for their weight-saving characteristic that Volk never included center caps. Yes, every ounce matters when it comes to lightweight tuning! The massively wide wheels were wrapped with Dunlop DZ101 tires-slightly stretched for fender clearance.
Twin red Recaros act like a partition to the gutted rear and carpeted front interior. The Cusco Safety 21 rollcage prohibits more than two occupants in this machine, with various gauges and a deep dish MOMO steering wheel indicative of this JDM Toyota's serious sliding potential.
So while we never saw the Z20 here stateside, Nakamura-san has shown us a good example of how the perfect one is built. The underground drift car has taught us what the hybrid 1.5JZ engine is capable of, plus we'll never forget the Winged Lion emblem of the Toyota Soarer.
1991 Toyota Soarer
Occupation Weekend Drifter
Engine 2JZ-GTE block; 1JZ-GTE head assembly; Tomei pistons and rods; HKS camshaft pulleys, intake and F-CON V Pro; Nissan R32 GT-R fuel pump; Sard injectors; Trust T04R turbo, exhaust manifold, wastegate and intercooler; custom dual exhaust; HPI oil cooler; Koyo radiator
Drivetrain R154 transmission; Ogura Racing Clutch twin plate; TRD limited-slip differential
Footwork & Chassis Aragosta coilovers with 20kg front and 11kg rear Swift springs
Brakes Honda NA1 NSX front brake calipers; Osaka JDM lines; Endless CCX pads
Wheels & Tires 17x9.5" +15 front, 18x11 +18 rear Volk Racing TE37SL wheels; 215/45R17 front, 255/35R18 rear Dunlop DZ101 tires; BLOX lug nuts
Exterior JDM factory body kit and JZA70 Supra front lip; Beige metallic paint; pulled and rolled fenders
Interior Recaro SR3 seats; Cusco Safety 21 rollcage; MOMO Drifting steering wheel; pinball shift knob; Blitz boost controller; Defi gauges; Carrozzeria head unit; Alpine speakers
Thanks You Oni Style; R-Performance