Everything is connected. People in the tuning scene realize this as well as anyone. From that aftermarket turbo kit to the names on enthusiast forums to the annual meetings, there's a community here; a shared experience.
Nick Stonawski gets it. Originally from Austria, he now lives in Southern California and his passion is Japanese cars. Why a Supra? That's down to Mike Urbano, of Genki Garage. He "had the biggest impact on who I am today," says Stonawski, "giving advice on life or cars, wrenching on my ride in his shop. Mike is truly the kindest, most genuine person I have ever known. His knowledge of Toyota wiring, motors and electronics would scare the bravest of Toyota master techs.
"I used to have an '87 Supra Turbo. Its stock 7MGTE motor had the notorious leaking head gasket problem. Through the SoCal Supra community, I befriended Mike and, with his help, got my engine rebuilt and lightly modded."
"I preferred the updated style of the '89 to '92 Supras (minor bumper, trim and light changes), so I bought this car in the summer of '03. It had no motor or wheels, several body and interior panels were missing, and there were other problems. But the chassis checked out straight and everything else could be fixed with money, time, and sweat. I took what I could from my '87 Supra and put it in."
"We got 300 whp with the 7MGTE (pulled from the '87 Supra). But it wasn't enough. I wanted a reliable 400 whp for daily driving. Mike suggested the 2JZ-GTE motor from the MK IV. At the end of '04, the swap began, with Mike in charge."
Stonawski and Urbano attained 440 whp with that setup, plus HKS 264-degree/9mm lift cams, an HKS fuel rail and other upgrades. When Stonawski was ready for big power, many supporting mods were already in place. "A friend offered me a deal on a rebuilt GReddy T88-33D turbo and Type-CH wastegate setup that I couldn't refuse." Stonawski also went to GReddy for the intake pipe and filter housing, 720cc fuel injectors, aluminum radiator pipe, Type-R intercooler, turbo heatshield, and a Profec-B boost controller.
The intake side also benefits from more HKS product, such as an air filter element, a Twin Power DLI ignition, fuel injector clips, cam gears and a Vein Pressure Converter (VPC) that replaces the OE air metering device. Dual Denso fuel pumps and an Aeromotive A1000-6 fuel regulator work with -6 fuel lines and fittings, plus dual racing fuel filters from Earl's.
Engine management is via a G-Force ECU, hitched to an SAFC2, and firing Denso Copper spark plugs. And there's a Bee*R two-step rev limiter that Stonawski claims is responsible for the 10-foot flames coming out of the exhaust. The engine was tuned by Sarkis at Dynoxtreme of Stanton, Calif. Running stock 8.5:1 compression ratio, 100-octane gas and 26 psi boost, this engine now produces 602 hp at the rear wheels while spinning at 6,400 rpm. Torque is an impressive 517 lb-ft at 5,300 rpm.
Keeping a cool head, block and blower is a Koyo aluminum radiator with Hose Techniques black silicone hoses and couplers. More engine bay candy comes in the form of a Power Enterprise timing belt, HKS SSQV blow-off valve, Optima Black Top battery (with a polished aluminum tray and cover), shaved spark plug cover with TRD Racing Development decal, TRD engine oil and radiator caps, plus chromed valve covers and power steering reservoir. Danstoy, of Sante Fe Springs, Calif., took care of the under-car engine peripherals, by contributing custom intercooler piping, a re-routed wastegate dump pipe, and an HKS Hi-Power cat-back exhaust.
The only transmission mods are an Exedy Racing twin-plate clutch and flywheel. The limited-slip differential is OE, but not original. "I was at Supras Invade Las Vegas, in 2005," says Stonawski. "It was my first time at a drag race with the 2JZ-GTE and I was advised to launch at 5,000 rpm. The rear end grenaded. It was past midnight once the car was towed back to the Luxor hotel where all the Supra owners were staying. I was lucky enough to buy a rear end from the owner of another MK III with a broken transmission. With help from my friend, Jose, it was installed in the hotel parking garage by four in the morning."
Back to the build: At Genki Garage, in went TEIN Super Street coilovers and upper pillow-ball mounts at each corner. Stonawski "went through a bunch of wheels" before settling on a set of Work Equips, sized 18x9.5 at the front and 18x10.5 at the rear, sporting Dunlop SP9000 tires; 245/40 up front, 275/35 out back.
The brake rotors are now Brembo, cross-drilled and slotted. Pads and lines are Endless and Earl's, respectively. Electrics were also upgraded at Genki. Along with GReddy and A'PEXi gauges, there's an Eclipse AVX2494 head, amplifier and SC8254 speakers. The sub-woofers are twin Momo MM2124s and the whole audio enchilada is connected with Stinger wiring.
While we're in the cabin, let's look at the furniture: Recaro Speed front seats, a MOMO steering wheel and hub, a TRD shift knob, and AutoPower racing harnesses secured to a Titan Motorsports bar.
Outside, it's Bomex-fest: Type 1 front lip, side and rear skirts, plus a whale tail rear wing. Stonawski is particularly proud of the Stout carbon fiber hood. It's one of two in the States. "The cost of bringing one in from Japan can be more than an MK III Supra itself."
Also unusual are the Hella 90mm module DOT-legal headlights, set into custom-made fiberglass housings (courtesy of Lisa from Creative Car Audio & Motorsports, also based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) and Euro-spec front turn signals. Auto Explosion of Gardena, Calif., did the body work, which included pulling out the front and rear fenders to accommodate the wide wheel/tire combination.
In 2006, Stonawski's Supra was voted the Third Placed Supra in the Toyota Owners and Restorers Club (TORC), and scored best MK III engine and exterior on a modified MK III at that year's Supras Invade Las Vegas bash. For 2008, it was awarded the GReddy Performance Festival trophy, and grabbed Third Place in the Toyota Class of JDM vs. DTM in Formula D.
However, it hasn't been an easy road. In June of 2005, Mike Urbano died in a motorcycle accident. "I never cried so much," says Stonawski. "From this sad event, I grew closer to some of Mike's friends and got a job with another crew of genuinely good people, the Uchida family at Creative Car Audio & Motorsports, who have also assisted with my project."
If Stonawski were to pay it forward and help others, what would be his advice? "Go to Supraforums.com or Supramania.com for all the help you will ever need. Be sure you know how to wrench. Also, go to Supras Invade Las Vegas. The wildest Supras from all over the country, including owners from around the world, gather to talk, show, drag and dyno. You won't find a better place to understand what you want to achieve and become inspired."
How much did his project cost? "More than I'd ever get back. But I made a lot of friends along the way." Ah, those connections again. "I visited my home in Austria, then went to the Nrburgring in Germany, and I coordinated a Supra meet there." And he's been to Japan. "Visiting the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon, I realized how satisfied I was with my Supra. I didn't need to buy parts. I could enjoy Japan to its fullest-riding shotgun with drifting prodigies in the Hakone Mountains and high-speed blasts in the Wangan Tunnel."
What's next? "If I sell my Supra, I'll keep the motor, drop it into another car down the line and crank out 1,000-plus hp. But being from Europe and loving everything Japanese, the Rauh-Welt Porsches have caught my interest. Best of both worlds: Japanese styling in European form."
Behind The Build
Head to the message boards at www.importtuner.com to chat about this feature vehicle
Manhattan Beach, CA
Car Audio And Motor Installer
Approx. 5 years
"Cheap, fast, reliable, you can only pick two."
'89 Toyota Supra
602 rwhp @ 6,400 rpm
HKS 264 cams, fuel rail, air filter element, Twin Power DLI ignition, fuel injector clips, cam gears, Vein Pressure Converter (VPC), SSQV blow-off valve, Hi-Power muffler; GReddy T88-33D turbocharger, intake pipe, filter housing, 720cc/min. fuel injectors, aluminum radiator pipe, Type-R intercooler, turbo heatshield, Profec-B boost controller,Type-CH wastegate; dual Denso fuel pumps; Aeromotive A1000-6 fuel regulator; Earls -6 fuel lines/fittings, dual racing fuel filters; G-Force ECU; Denso Copper spark plugs; Bee*R rev limiter/2-Step; Koyo aluminum radiator; Hose Techniques black silicone hoses, intercooler piping couplers; Power Enterprise timing belt, Optima Black Top battery; TRD engine cap, radiator cap; Danstoy re-routed wastegate dump-pipe
Exedy Racing twin-plate clutch, flywheel
TEIN Super Street coilovers, pillow-ball mounts
Work Equip wheels: 18x9.4 (front), 18x10.5 (rear); Dunlop SP9000 tires: 245/40 (front), 275/35 (rear)
Brembo rotors, cross-drilled and slotted; Endless pads; Earl's stainless steel lines
Bomex Type 1 front lip, side skirts, rear skirts, whale tail rear wing; Stout carbon fiber hood; Hella 90mm module DOT-legal headlights; custom-made fiberglass housings; Euro-spec front turn signals
Recaro Speed front seats; Momo steering wheel, hub; TRD shift knob; AutoPower racing harnesses; Titan Motorsports harness bar; GReddy gauges; A'PEXi gauges; Eclipse AVX 2494 head, amplifier, SC8254 speakers; dual Momo MM2124 subwoofers; Stinger wiring
Mike Urbano, MVP on my Supra journey. Ryan, Lisa, Perry and Lance at Creative Car Audio & Motorsports, my second family. Brian Urbano, my brother from another mother. Jose Valle at Kaizen Motorsports, MK III Supra master tech. Sarkis at Dynoxtreme, putting power on paper. Bryan Householder and Jochebed Ho, aero parts tycoons. Takashi and Rajeet at TR Trading, JDM parts source. Dan at Danstoy Performance, custom fabrication. Kevin Brown at KevinsKustoms, long-time friend and mechanic.