When discussion comes up about your personal dream garage, there's a pretty good chance that the Mk4 Supra, NSX, R34 Skyline and FD RX-7 are somewhere on your lengthy list. This group of celebrated '90s children has been reworked in every way imaginable, and time and time again they carry the majority of our community's interest. Owning two of these would be considered obsessive, but owning all four takes things up a few notches, and owner Ryan Christopher is just fine with that.
Stuck in the '90s
Ryan's leap into this group of cars started in his teenage years and was set ablaze by his brother, who gave him a ride in his Mk3 Supra. He adds, "It was a ride that I would never forget and would change my automotive life going forward. I remember getting out of the Supra after getting home and thinking that's what it feels like to almost die I better never mention this to our parents." Getting his start with lowered then lifted trucks and then various Hondas, he couldn't afford the NSX and Supra-level cars that he dreamed about and as he headed into his 20s, cars simply weren't part of the equation any longer. He turned his focus toward building a new business and family life, but the idea of getting into one of his '90s-era dream cars never left, it just stepped to the side for about a decade. "I'm not sure if it was that the '90s Japanese cars are just that special or if it was just that timeframe of my life that was so impressionable as a high school kid in the late '90s, but that era of cars had always stuck with me. I appreciate new cars but something about that era just sticks with me, hence my IG user name 'Stukinthe90s'" (which is also the name of his new YouTube channel).
The Hunt Begins
The days of dreaming about a Supra only to shake those thoughts off once he considered the healthy price tag became a thing of the past once Ryan sold off one of his businesses and had some expendable income. He started looking around for any potential Mk4 leads just to feel things out. "To my surprise my wife encouraged the idea, and after about three to four months of looking I found the one that suited my tastes." The Supra, which you'll read more about below, was modified but had all of the sorts of changes Ryan would have made anyway, so he had a head start.
Jump ahead by two years and that Supra purchase was joined by a heavily modified NSX that Ryan spotted while on vacation. Two years after that, the hunt for an R34 ended in success, though he admits that the condition of the Skyline was less than stellar, but a complete revamp inside and out changed all of that. The final piece to his dream garage, at least at this point, was the FD3S that rounds out a quartet of cars that on their own define a segment of the golden era of import performance. Here's a rundown of each car's history and their upgrades.
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1997 Toyota Supra TT
This Mk4 started life in Chicago but Ryan found it in Miami and it had everything he wanted already attached to its Deep Jewel Green body, and just a few weeks after locating it, it was brought home. On the outside, the Ridox aero kit and ADV.1 wheels were right in line with Ryan's taste and the single turbo conversion complete with an E85 setup helped make the sort of power he was after. The only problem? Well, on his first drive in his new purchase, the clutch gave up and that was just the start. After having the transmission reworked and back in the car and upgrading the ECU, the engine blew up. "Luckily, friends in the Supra community steered me to FSR Motorsports in Montclair, Calif. where we went through the whole car fixing various minor issues along with the motor build. Since then, I have had very few issues with the car even with numerous half-mile events and over 200 quarter-mile passes."
Today, the Supra engine upgrades list is a mile long and incudes rods and Wiseco pistons on the bottom end with Ferrea and Brian Crower valvetrain upgrades up top that help support HKS cams. HKS is also relied upon for their V-band exhaust manifold, T51R SPL single turbo kit, 60mm wastegate and 4-in. titanium exhaust. A polished GReddy intercooler gets 3-in. hot side piping from Sound Performance and 4-in. cold side tubing that leads to a high-flow intake manifold, both courtesy of Virtual Works. Overseeing the operation is a PROEFI PRO128 ECU and CAN display to make sure this engine doesn't grenade, and an OS Giken triple disk ensures the power doesn't get lost in transition.
The original Ridox aero is still in place and joined by a Top Secret carbon-fiber front lip and rear bumper diffuser. The wing, because you're surely asking, is a Rod Millen Motorsports version. The same ADV.1 wheels that came with the car are still around, as are Iforged Astera and a set of custom-built Iforged wheels for those times Ryan feels like changing things up, and all three sets of wheels show off the StopTech Trophy Sport 6-piston brake kit perfectly.
1992 Acura NSX
While sprawled out on the beach in Hawaii taking a vacation, Ryan was scrolling through various car ads randomly and noticed this widebody NSX for sale. It was listed well above what he'd be willing to pay but he figured what the hell, reach out and see what they say. Turns out the seller wasn't on the same page and actually laughed at Ryan's potential offer, but Ryan would have the last laugh as just a few months later that same seller contacted him about the car, and it was his.
It was already fitted with a Sorcery GT aero kit (1 of 2 in the U.S.) and '02-up facelift, and being that it once served as the Umbrella Auto Design shop car, it had the air cup suspension already on board and even a supercharger. Other than the mass of stickers on the body, it was right in line with his vision of the ideal NSX.
After putting some miles on the car and getting used to the power output, he wanted more and felt that building the engine for more power would also be a chance to make a few exterior changes to really make the car his. Chandler, Arizona's Science of Speed got the engine to build, which included fortifying the C-series bottom end with forged pistons and titanium rods, a proper port and polish, Comptech cams, valvetrain and adjustable gears, and rather than going back to a supercharger, an S.O.S. GT2860RS-based turbo kit was bolted in place.
During the car's intensive power plant makeover, Charly's Garage in Mesa took care of the respray and customized a rear bumper to work with the new Sorcery carbon diffuser. The look is wide and aggressive and there's really no portion of the car left untouched. Status seats and an alcantara interior treatment with a full audio system can be found inside, and multiple wheel options that fit around the StopTech big brake kit, similar to his Supra, are on hand as well.
1998 Nissan Skyline GTT
Ryan's lengthy search for a Skyline was successful but came with some baggage. This '98 GTT - Nissan's RWD version of the R34 chassis - had been painted gold with a blue vinyl wrap, its turbo in shambles, along with a whole host of other issues including numerous missing pieces and various gremlins. Ryan notes, "It took about a year to find one, but I finally did, in California. It was far from what I wanted but it was a starting point, and in the U.S., you can't be too choosy when it comes to R34s."
Though the car was his, Ryan wouldn't enjoy it for a full two years as it was sent off to AFI Tuning in Sacramento to bring the RB26 back to life with a familiar CP Pistons/Manley rods combo, ACL bearings and ARP head studs. The additional strengthening was brought in to support a PTE 6466 snail and twin scroll manifold with dual 44mm wastegates. AEM's Infinity calls the shots and relays vitals to a CD7 digital dash display.
The vinyl wrap was ripped off and the car was given a true restomod treatment with a full media blasting session, newly undercoated belly, powder coated subframes and a fresh coat of TV2 Bayside Blue. The makeover included a GT-R conversion with its headlights, hood and fenders, a set of Nismo bumpers, spoiler and Z-Tune side skirts with rear spats to complement them. Pressed Graphite TE37SL and A'PEXi Circuit-Spec coilovers do their best to help keep traction.
1994 Mazda RX-7 R2
The authentic Japanese aero pieces applied to Ryan's Supra, NSX and Skyline seem to be his M.O., along with remarkable engine builds that offer the sort of bite to match the outward appearance bark. This RX-7 R2 shakes things up, however, and will probably piss a few people off. That happens when you take a Japanese '90s hero and pull its original engine for a GM LS V-8 - something that's become increasingly common over the last decade.
The car started life in California before being shipped to its new owner in New Jersey. The reason it sold to someone other than Ryan is similar to the NSX story, in that the asking price was significantly more than he was looking to pay and he decided to pass on it. In fact, Ryan notes that it was well above what most any FD was going for at that time. The thought of that FD still ate away at Ryan for six months after it had been delivered to its new home and he figured why not reach out to the new owner to see if he'd be interested in parting with it. "To my surprise, he was willing to sell it. This car, over all the others, was almost exactly how I wanted it. In my time owning it I have made very few changes, and they are minor."
The sometimes-controversial swap isn't the weekend thrash with mismatched, "good enough for now" sorts of handiwork. The car's original builder, "GrandMighty," pulled out all the stops when he embarked on the switch to V-8 power. The main star, a 6.2L LS3, is connected to a Tremec TR6060 transmission to send power through a DriveShaft Shop aluminum driveshaft with billet CV and relies on a Cobra-based, Samberg rear subframe and 8.8 differential with Ford Racing LSD.
Not much is needed to get things moving with a lightweight LS-powered RX-7 but there are a few "extras," like Spoolin long tube headers that have been ceramic coated, and a custom Y-pipe and V-band exhaust system that leads to a Borla SS muffler. Ryan explains that the only major change that he's considered is the car's heart. "My only real desire with this car is to have a different power plant in it. But the original builder did such a beautiful job with this car I can't bring myself to mess with it. As much as I would love to swap a 2J into it, I'm going to leave it alone and just enjoy it."
People see a dream garage like Ryan Christopher's current stable and usually assume the cars have cosmetic upgrades and not much under the hood and that they're stored away and seldom driven hard. The list of lethal upgrades to each of these iconic chassis should erase any thoughts of the first scenario, and as for the second, both the Supra and NSX have been used for half mile and drag racing as well as SCCA events, and the more recently acquired Skyline and RX-7 are up next. He's got a family car, as well, but even that gets put to the test, "I purchased a Tesla about four years ago as a family car. It has been a great kid hauler as well as multiple track days doing SCCA and drag racing. It has an Unplugged Performance front bumper and a few carbon bits but otherwise a stock Performance 85+."
So, what's next for the car guy that seems to have it all? Well, more cars, of course. "I recently tracked down a 1996 JDM MkIV Supra hardtop, which will become my dedicated track toy. The car is currently stripped down, and I hope to add a Tesla drive unit to power it. Like most car guys, I have a very long list of cars I would love to own, but my short list includes an S15, DSM, GC8, Fox body Mustang, Viper, and on the newer, higher end, a Tesla roadster or McLaren 600LT." Keep dreamin'.