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1989 Toyota Supra - Bang The Gong

This Canadian MKIII Supra rings true with 1,015 7M-GTE WHP.

Evan Griffey
Feb 23, 2011
Photographer: Josh Mackey

Supras are known horsepower freaks, with four-digit power at the end of the rainbow for those with the magic touch. The '92-02 JZA80 Supra and its venerable 2JZ-GTE powerplant usually deliver this big-league output, so when we heard about Duane and Marilyn Stephens' '89 MKIII MA70 Supra and its 1,000+hp antics, the words "engine swap" naturally flashed though our cerebral cortex. We were more than a bit taken aback and duly impressed when we discovered this old-school Supra rolling its original 7M-GTE engine.

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Duane, who hails from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, is one of those fast-forward thinkers who can see beyond a car's limitations. "I look at a car and I instantly see what I would do to it if I owned it," says Duane. "I give advice to others if they want to listen, but more often I get a lot of heckling for sticking with the 7M engine. The fact is the 7M can hang with any other engine in built-versus-built trim."

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In typical enthusiast fashion, the project took on a familiar snowball scenario where at every turn Duane wanted more out of the Toyota. "At first I just wanted a 13-second car. Then I wanted it to run 12s, then 11s, then 10s. Now I'm in the nines, looking for eights. Once you get used to the power, you want more. It's a kind of instinct."

Adding the proverbial icing on the cake, the engine bay blasts retinas possibly faster than the engine does egos. Duane filled more than 100 holes and removed the battery tray before spraying it in glossy white hues. Clean and gleaming, the 7M features a gaggle of custom creations, a disadvantage of it living in the shadow of its upstart younger brother, but one Duane used to his benefit. We love the CNC valve cover, which Duane says is one of 10 sets milled by ARZ, as are the 7M's one-off CNC water neck that Duane helped design, the CNC cam pick-up wheel mounted on the intake gear, the custom titanium rifle-drilled rods that Duane has abused for three years, and the custom hidden dual-pass dual-top-feed radiator from C&R. Duane's good friend Ron Ramirez gets high marks for fabricating the custom large-plenum intake manifold and sweet long-tube turbo header; like the 2JZ, a big-power 7M really benefits from a big barrel-type intake manifold not readily available on the market. Ron's work here is top-notch. The header secures a Garrett GT4202 turbo and the combination is tuned via MoTeC gear. Duane is also proud of his custom cams from TED Component Cams in Canada. "They're custom one-off billet steel units that I had made for my particular setup."

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John Reed, of John Reed Racing, tuned the MoTeC M600 computer to churn out 853 horsepower, and Duane took the 'Yota to the track knowing he had to tread carefully-while the car had a rollbar, neither it nor Duane were licensed for single-digit E.T.'s. His inner urges got the better of him, and despite a granny-like 1.68-second 60-foot and rolling in and out of the throttle as much as Lindsay Lohan does rehab, he still posted a 9.90 at 147 mph. "It was a shakedown, not even trying," laments Duane. "The car 60-foots a 1.52 all day long; a 1.68 was turtle-like. But running that nine, I knew I was gonna get booted."

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The Supra went in for its required safety mandates, and during the downtime Duane swapped the GM three-speed automatic transmission he'd previously been running for an R154 manual and Tilton triple-carbon clutch. "The auto tranny was a downer on the road. Three-speeds were not attuned to freeway cruising," says Duane. "It was also a black hole for power-we figure it sucked up at least 100 whp."

Duane also took the time to give his Toyota the aura of a serious street car. It now flexes a fully trimmed interior, Recaro Speed buckets, a TRD shift knob, Momo tiller, OE cup holders, and a working audio system. But the car's darker side can be seen in the AIM digital gauge display, custom CNC laptop portal on the armrest for quick tune changes, and the once pristine back-half rollcage that's now scarred and scratched from years of enjoyment. Zero corners were cut on the exterior as well, as the Toyota was stripped to its studs before being primed, painted, and wet-sanded to within an inch of its life. He's quick to point out that the car was reassembled with $3,000 of brand-new OE trim pieces and a cool, intercooler friendly CFX front bumper.

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Back on the dyno, John worked his magic coaxing 920 all-turbo whp at 32 psi of boost. Dialing up the 100-shot Nitrous Express system, the trusty 7M pounded out 1,015 whp on C16. On pump juice, Duane runs 710 whp all day long. His 9.90-second pass qualifies Duane's MA70 as the quickest and fastest street Supra in all of Canada, he says, and reasons that with the extra power, the car has plenty of untapped potential.

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"Some people see it as a princess show car," says Duane. "But show cars don't break parts, and I've got a trash bin including a snapped crank pulley, a broken subframe, diff and driveshaft, sheared-off flywheel bolts, a turbo that split in half and dented the hood . . . these things don't break from driving nice." Duane racked up 6,000 miles in 2010 and plans to keep the Supra rolling in 2011 with trips to Supras Invade Las Vegas and the Pacific Northwest Supra Nationals event he helps organize. All we can say is bang the gong and let the good times roll.

Behind The Build

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Duane Stephens


Vancouver, Canada


Build Time.
10 years and counting


cars, motorcycles

"I built this car to be a decently fast car on the street. Now it is stupid fast and still street friendly."

'89 Toyota Supra

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Output: 1,015 whp

Engine Toyota 7M-GTE; TRD custom 265-degree cams; Cunningham rifle-drilled titanium connecting rods; JE pistons, piston rings; OS valves; custom Ron Ramirez intake manifold, air intake, custom Burns Stainless manifold, exhaust; Infiniti Q45 throttle body; Titan Motorsports cam gears; Garrett GT4202 turbo [74.5mm compressor wheel, 1.15 A/R turbine housing]; TiAL BOV, wastegate; Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) FMIC, intercooler piping; Nitrous Express nitrous kit; C&R radiator; Earls oil cooler; M&W ignition Pro 16; RC 1,000cc injectors; Weldon fuel pump; MoTeC M600, tuend by John Reed Racing

Drivetrain R154 manual transmission; Tilton triple-carbon clutch; Taylor flywheel

Suspension Tein Flex coilovers; ST sway bars; CFX traction arms; AI camber arms, toe arms

Wheels/Tires CCW mesh-style wheels (18x8 front, 18x18 rear); BFGoodrich KDW 245/45-18 front street tires, BFGoodrich 275-series Drag Radial rear tires; Bogart race wheels; M&H slicks.

Brakes AP Racing 13.2-inch front rotors; KVR brake pads, rear rotors; Goodridge brake lines

Exterior CFX front bumper; rolled front and rear fenders

Interior Recaro Speed racing buckets; roll cage; custom carpet, dash, headiner, leather visors, laptop portal; Momo steering wheel; TRD shifter; AIM dash display

Gratitude Thanks to Ron R. for helping me out, not only as a car guy but as a friend; Nate M., Tom. B., Dave S., and Erik S. for being key guys that have helped me over the years; John Reed at John Reed Racing for the tune and wiring; Bill B. for misc help; Real Street, Raptor Racing, Amsoil, K&N, Nitrous Express, and the others I had on the car for the shoot; most importantly, my wife, Marilyn, for sharing my passion-without her, the car wouldn't be where it is today.


Superior, WI 54880
Hawthorne, CA 90250
MoTeC Engine Management
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Tilton Engineering
Buellton, CA 93427
Nitrous Express
Wichita Falls, TX 76310
HMS Motorsport/Schroth
Danvers, MA 01923
By Evan Griffey
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