Over the years Turbo has been at the forefront of covering high-powered MK IV Supras. The epitome of performance was Ken Henderson's now 1,100-plus-wheel hp twin-turbo monster. Many MK III owners feel they've been left out in the cold. One such owner is Manny Akim of Queens Village, N.Y. Manny approached us and wanted to know if we would be interested in photographing his 1989 MA70 Supra Turbo.
First impressions are always important and Manny's Supra definitely made a memorable one. The red targa is immaculate, right down to the flawless paint job. Manny tells us that though the car looks great now, there were plenty of ups and downs during the transformation.
Like many project cars, the MA70 started out as a daily driver equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission. After purchasing the ride, Manny quickly tossed aside the stock wheels, outfitting the MK III with a set of 18-inch Volk GTCs. After a month of ownership Manny got bad news. His mechanic diagnosed the 7MGTE engine with a blown head gasket. Not wanting to part with his MK III he forked over the money to perform a quick rebuild using an HKS 1.2mm metal head gasket and ARP head studs.
With the 1,200-mile break-in behind him, Manny added some performance upgrades to help cure his need for speed. A Spearco front-mount intercooler, HKS EVC II, A'PEXi GT-spec exhaust, Random Technology downpipe and catalytic converter would make their way onto his ride.
Unfortunately, his cure for speed would be short-lived. On his maiden pass at 15 psi, the stock C26 turbocharger took a dump. Luckily, Manny sourced a low-mile stock JDM CT26 turbocharger from CT Crew. Manny was running high once again.
Unfortunately, his thirst for speed wasn't quenched and a month later the CT26 was sent to Majestic Turbo for a 60-1 upgrade. With the newly revised turbo on board, the Supra generated 331 hp to the wheels at 18 psi.
While cruising down the New Jersey Turnpike the Supra took a turn for the worst. While he had the pedal to the metal, Manny heard an ominous "pop." Hoping for the best, like it was only a blown-out intercooler pipe, he opened the hood. It was not to be. He saw oil all over the BOV and passenger side fender well. He hobbled the car home. The next day it was towed to SPI and there the crew diagnosed a melted number five piston.
Instead of swapping in another stock MA70, Manny got serious and invested in a bulletproof engine. SPI rebuilt the bottom end with a set of .040 over 8.0:1 compression JE pistons hung with Crower rods. The entire rotating assembly was balanced and blueprinted.
The bottom end was rebuilt with all new bearings and seals. The top end was freshened with new seals and a three-angle valve job. The two halves were sealed together using a 2.0mm HKS metal head gasket and ARP head studs.
To fully realize the performance potential of the engine Manny reached into his bank account once again and purchased an SP63 turbo kit capable of producing enough airflow for up to 550 hp.
Proper fuel delivery is essential to attain high horsepower, and Manny made sure his baby was well fed. An Essex 1,000-hp external fuel pump and regulator keeps the fuel rail primed at all times for the six GReddy 660cc injectors. Ensuring proper air/fuel mixtures, an A'PEXi S-AFC and HKS VPC tweak the fuel tuning for an optimum ratio. The engine combo was good for 524 hp and 493 lb-ft of torque to the wheels on SPI's dyno.
With the car now running like a champ, Manny wanted to make sure the Supra looked the part. Instead of going with one body kit manufacturer, Manny picked and chose items from different manufacturers to attain the look he was after.
The front lip and rear skirts are from Bomex while the side skirts are from Kaminari. Once installed, his local body shop sprayed on several layers of brilliant Aztec red lacquer.
Tein HA coil-overs were installed and then corner balanced for precise handling and to make sure the car stays on all fours. Further suspension tweaks include TRD nylon bushings and Cusco front and GReddy rear strut bars. Brake upgrades include a set of 13-inch Porterfield front rotors with Wilwood four-pot binders to quickly bring the Supra to a halt.
From the Sparco Torino driver's seat there are more gizmos to look at than a dash of a commercial airliner. A Lo-Tek A-pillar pod houses three Dfi gauges while two more are mounted above the Kenwood head unit. The five gauges monitor all the engine vitals from boost to EGT.
Besides going fast, Manny loves to bump the tunes. The Supra is equipped with two Alpine V12 amps powering a collage of Eclipse, Rockford Fosgate and Alpine speakers.
The car's beauty is obvious and Manny has collected several trophies, including SPI dyno challenge in his class and Toronto Supra Club's Best of Show in 2004. Although it has been a bumpy ride since purchasing the car Manny hopes it will be smooth sailing from here on out. We'll just wait and see.