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1994 Toyota Supra Turbo - Really Tho

The Ultimate Hand-Me-Down Actually Runs on Street Slicks and Goes 187 mph

Jonathan Wong
Oct 21, 2019
Photographer: Dan Coria

When I think back on all the hand-me-down cars that either I or my friends have driven, they were never really anything cool. A beige Camry with a beige interior, maybe a Honda Accord, and, if we were unlucky enough, a Dodge minivan. Good as they were for getting out of the house, they were not for cruising. Point A to point B, drop me off at the corner before anyone sees me, please. Luckily, Tho Nguyen didn't have this problem. His hand-me-down came twin-turbocharged from the factory. Yes, the ultimate street cruiser if we ever came across one: a '94 Supra.

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo TBT Carbon Factory Front Lip 01 Photo 25/25   |   1994 Toyota Supra Turbo - Really Tho

"This car was originally my brother's, back in 2001," Tho begins. "I was in the fourth grade when he bought it, right before the original The Fast and the Furious came out. He would always take me with him for rides, car meets, and the occasional drag races at Sacramento Raceway." When Tho turned 16, he bought his first car, a '98 Integra GS-R, and installed the usual bolt-ons, or what we like to refer to as the holy trinity: a cold-air intake, header, and exhaust. He later turbocharged it and spent most of his time going to the dragstrip, having as much fun as he could racing down the quarter-mile. Then one day, he decided it was time to take control of his brother's Supra.

"The [Supra] sat under a cover for nearly eight years," Tho explains. "After I took ownership, I drove it daily for about a year until I decided to turn it into a street-driven race car." He started modifying it right away, upgrading to a larger single turbo with an upgraded fuel system and ECU tune. He adds, "It made 820 whp on the stock bottom end, and I started to compete in half-mile racing. I thought I was pretty fast until I got spanked by a 1,000hp R35 GT-R. I couldn't let that go. I just couldn't take the L that was handed to me!" That discontentment and desire for more power immediately took over. The 2JZ motor was pulled out and a full rebuild was underway, including the addition of a larger turbo.

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo 2JZ Engine Photo 25/25   |   1994 Toyota Supra Turbo - Really Tho

Since completing a more powerful engine setup, Tho continues to compete in as many half-mile events as he can drive his Supra to, as his hunger for competition is not easily satiable. His fastest time? "My personal best standing half-mile is at Shifts3ctor with a 187.57 mph. I hope to break 195-plus mph with the factory V160 six-speed transmission," he says. But, as we mentioned before, this is still a streetable car, and as such, it still retains factory air-conditioning and power steering—even a stereo! "I do drive it on the street more than I race it," Tho says with a laugh.

As you can see, Tho's Supra retains its factory body lines, mostly because his attention is centered on racing versus looks. "I have my half-mile goals, but I do need to work on improving aerodynamics next. I like the Ridox widebody, and if it (or other aero mods) can help me achieve my goals, then that's what it'll take to get there."

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo TRD Steering Wheel Photo 25/25   |   1994 Toyota Supra Turbo - Really Tho

In addition to half-mile racing, Tho's added quarter-mile drag racing back into the mix but has failed tech inspection due to a few oversights, including not having a fully sealed battery box, an emergency shut-off switch from the rear bumper, and more, something he hopes to have completed by the end of the year. Until then, he can sit back in his 1,200-plus-whp Supra and think, I've got the best hand-me-down of all time. We are totally jelly.

By Jonathan Wong
505 Articles
1994 Toyota Supra Turbo - Really Tho
Tuning Menu
Owner: Tho Nguyen
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Occupation: Authorized Matco Tools Distribution
Instagram: @ttinmysoup
Power: 1,225 whp; 988 lb-ft of torque
Engine: CP 10.0:1 pistons with 9310 tool steel .250 wall upgraded wristpins; ARP main stud kit and CA625+ head stud kit; ACL race rod/main bearings and thrust washers; BC HD BC625+ H-beam connecting rods and cam gears; Real Street Performance billet main caps; Titan Motorsports billet timing belt tensioner bracket, LE Hypertune intake manifold big port, 4-inch throttle body; PHR modified oil pump; GSC S2 billet camshafts and Beehive valvesprings/retainers; Radium Engineering triple pump hanger; Walbro 3x 450-lph fuel pumps; FID 2,000cc injectors; XRP -10AN feed and -6AN return line; Fuelab 6-micron inline filter and fuel pressure regulator; E85 flex fuel sensor; FSR cast manifold; Precision 7675 Gen2 DBB turbo; three-port boost control solenoid; dual TurboSmart HyperGate 45 GenV wastegates and Powerport 60mm blow-off valve; DEI titanium turbo blanket; 4-inch down- and mid-pipe with 4-inch Sp boost-actuated cut-out; 3-inch HKS carbon-titanium exhaust; Induction Performance IGN1A coil kit; PHR IGN1A spark plug wires, power steering reservoir, thermostat rotator, ABS delete, and throttle cable; NGK V-Power racing spark plugs; ETS 5-inch intercooler core; FSR Motorsports intake pipe, coolant overflow tank and upper radiator pipe; Driftmotion shock top covers; HPS silicone couplers; APR radiator cooling plate; Turbo-Guard mesh screen filter; 4-inch Vibrant velocity stack; 2JZMotorsports catch can; TRD oil cap; Koyo radiator; Cody Phillips Racing belly pan; Odyssey Extreme Series PC1200T battery
Drivetrain: Clutch Masters FX1000 twin-disc clutch kit; PHR 3.5-inch driveshaft; stock V160 transmission and TT six-speed rear end
Engine Management: ProEFI tuned by Ian at Bend Calibration/FSR Motorsports
Footwork & Chassis: KW Variant 3 coilovers
Brakes: R1 Concepts Forged Series six-piston front big brake kit with Race series pads; Mitsubishi Evo 9 rear brake conversion
Wheels & Tires: Front: 18x9 Weld Racing RTS S71 wheels with 245/40R18 Toyo R888 tires; Rear: 15x10 Weld Racing RTS S71 wheels with 275/60R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Pros
Exterior: '98-spec headlights, taillights, front turn signals, and side markers; TBT Carbon Factory Ridox-style front lip
Interior: Recaro SP-J seats; Bride seat rails; TRD steering wheel; Titan Motorsports four-point rollbar; BTI can bus gauge; Retro-Spec carbon-fiber center console cupholder
Thanks: My family, for always supporting me no matter what it was-they taught me to never give up and always pushed me to do my best; Team Gorilla Garage: Joe and Marvin Recinos, Tim Tucker; Phaze2 brothers: Hubert and Noel Barnum for all the late-night wrenching and race car shenanigans; Juan Espinosa, Micheil Skinner, Jimmy Nguyen, Ken M, Long Le, Sam M, Richard Phan, Eddie and Colin Gee, Ryan Sammut for moral support; Ian Sai-Ngram at Bend Calibration for always making sure my car is running 100 percent, sometimes remote tuning when he's on vacation halfway around the world; Aaron, Odom, Patrick, Jason, Adam, and Eric at Driftmotion/FSR Motorsports; Dan and Renee Burkett at RAD Industries; Mike, Mason, and Matt at Engine Supply; Martin and Charlie at R1 Concepts; Andrew at Supra Culture; Alex at SoCalFrenchiez; Luis at Clutch Masters

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