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1997 Toyota Supra - Size Matters

For Tony Santos, It's Not About Length It's About Girth

Jimmy Louis
Feb 1, 2002

It was the end of July. The place? The Mid-Atlantic Nationals at Budds Creek, Maryland, and everyone was there to show off. If your car was fast, you took it out to the track. If your car looked or sounded awesome, you took it to the show field. Either way, most people were there to create some sort of spectacle. As I walked over to the parking lot, I heard a small voice whisper, "Psst, wanna see something?" My curiosity took over against my better judgment-even though I'm sure the last time someone fell for that line they ended up on the side of a milk carton.

I walked over to a trailer, wondering to myself, "Should I have applied for that life insurance?" Once the trailer opened up, I found my fears unwarranted. Inside was something far better than any Christmas gift I could ever hope for-too bad it wasn't for me. As the door lifted and the smoke rolled out, I could almost hear the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey playing in the background. Well, no smoke, but there should have been.

Inside was one of the baddest Supras I have ever seen. Looking as wide as it was long, this bright-yellow predator of a car backed out of its cage ready to pounce, straining against the confining trailer walls. I stepped aside (way aside) as it rolled by, giving me ample opportunity to gaze upon the expanses of yellow steel and fiberglass that made up the bodywork.

The front and rear fenders seemed to go on forever, thanks to the custom fabrication work of Perk's Auto Body. In actuality, the rear fenders were hand-fabricated and extended 6 inches, just enough to give the car the aggressive stance you see on these pages. It had to be widened in order to accept the massive wheel-and-tire combo. Huge 18-inch OZs measuring 8.5 inches wide in the front and 10 inches wide in the rear wrapped in Pirelli rubber give this jungle cat its massive paws. The VeilSide body kit was custom-molded to the body to eliminate any seams. With the help of the HKS Pro Damper suspension, the car sits crouched low and ready to devour its prey.

Owner Tony Santos spared no expense under the hood. The standard Supra engine was removed and given The Full Monty treatment. SKR Performance was called upon to work its magic and install a host of HKS, GReddy, and TRD pieces. SKR distributes for Top Secret, Advan, and many other Japanese manufacturers, and the company is trying to make its presence known with this car.

Nothing in the engine bay was left untouched. The entire stock induction system was ripped out and replaced with a GReddy T88 turbo mated to an HKS exhaust manifold. All that extra air is forced into the block through custom piping, and the TRD internals take it from there. A GReddy Power Extreme exhaust system keeps everything flowing out the rear and gives this cat its roar. A little bit of nitrous was also thrown in for good measure to spool up the turbo-about 100 hp's worth!

Tony didn't want the car to just be either a trailer-queen show car or a straight-up and stripped drag car. All efforts have been made to ensure that his creation can handle its fair share of race and show duty. Not only does it win every show it attends, but it's also being geared up by the crew at SKR to break the record for quarter-mile time for a show car.

There's an old saying that beauty is only skin-deep. Well, a topnotch show car wouldn't be complete without being beautiful right down to the guts as well. In order to provide driver Elliot Pomeranz with the necessary creature comforts, SKR was called upon to add some spice to the functional, albeit dull, interior. The factory seats were booted in favor of MOMO Street Racer bun warmers in black and yellow suede. When a car runs as fast as this car does, a good rollcage becomes a necessity. (NHRA rules require a rollbar for cars 11.99 and faster. "We got booted out of two tracks," says Tony.) The custom six-point 'cage was painted to match the exterior and installed to provide chassis stiffening and protection and to conform to race regulations. The gauges are from the GReddy stable and give the impression of a NASA mission control center. The steering wheel, shifter, and pedals from MOMO round out the interior makeover.

Not all of the interior pieces are there strictly for performance. Once the required and necessary parts were added, it was time for some conspicuous excess in the form of a killer sound system. A Pioneer AVX-P7300 head unit with an LCD screen was molded into the dash, providing track and disc info for the CD player, as well as acting as a mobile drive-in for the DVD player. The huge basket from the Memphis subwoofer looms up in the back, pounding your head against the windshield with bass frequencies. Flanked by multiple amplifiers, this Experimental brain tenderizer is the only thing that could drown out the sound of the exhaust at full speed.

When it comes to designing a car for the show/race circuit, most people are resigned to going one way or the other. Whether it's for speed or show, once you commit to one it takes a lot to switch to the other. Either too much has been put into the styling of the car and it ends up being too heavy, or everything is taken out of the car to reduce weight, leaving only a frame, an engine, and a body shell. But with 11-second timeslips and shelves full of First Place show trophies, this yellow wide-body Supra finds it easy to play both sides of the field.

By Jimmy Louis
51 Articles



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