Since Project Supra hasn't seen these pages in several months perhaps you thought the project got canned. No way, man! This project is starting to take a serious turn for the fun. So far it's sporting a built engine with a Sound Performance 71-GTQ single turbo upgrade kit putting out a respectable 520 whp on 92-equivalent octane. Before we had the opportunity to test its higher boost power on racing juice, a new situation presented itself. Now we'll be testing SP's newer 71mm turbo, this time flowing thru a GTS-spec turbine. We figured this would be more interesting since there are already a number of cars out there already boosted by an SP71 Q-trim turbo with a .81 AR. Now we're excited about the SP71-GTS with the same AR housing, along with our newly installed HKS 272 cams.
Before we get there, however, you may have noticed the Supra has gone through a drastic change-we hope you will agree it was for the better. Actually, it's honestly hard to care what people think since the color is simply that stunning. No offense to anyone that drives a white Supra, but I only got this car because it was a six-speed with black interior and the previous owner-also the original owner-was a friend of mine who gave me a fantastic deal and I knew it was a good car. But I still wasn't excited about the color.
For the past several months my wife and I had been contemplating purchasing a '97-'98 Estoril blue BMW M3 sedan, which I would easily suggest to editor Griffey since he's been talking about an E36 M3. "Estoril" Blue, named after the famous road racing circuit in Portugal, is BMW's factory metallic blue for all you non-BMW geeks. We both wanted that blue because it was the same color as my previous M3, and we missed it dearly. But since I'm currently driving a black T66 turbocharged BMW M3, we decided this new addition would be the wife's car.
Fast forward a few months and my wife decides she wants a Mini Cooper S instead. After being so set on having an Estoril blue car in the stable again, I was crushed. But hey, I like the MCS, too. Seconds later a smile came back to my face when the thought of having an Estoril blue Supra occurred to me. Since the engine was already out due to a hairline crack on the block, this was as perfect an opportunity to change the car's color if it ever was.
As it turns out, some neighbors of mine own a company called XR Creations, which specializes in motorsport accessory sales and stereo installations. The fellas there also do minor paint work such as bumpers, hoods, wings and mirrors. XR Creations got their hands on the Supra and stripped down the interior and exterior completely. Since they could get their customers a paint discount, I had them order me the Estoril blue PPG paint from their paint supplier, Gustavo Gonzales of Auto Color Specialists, a PPG Platinum distributor.
For big paint jobs such as this calls for, XR turns to its business partner Sheridan Camacho, owner of Shift Auto Body. Sheridan, who learned the trade from his father's forty-plus years of auto body and paint experience, has been doing full-blown paint jobs for over six years. At just 21 years of age, don't let his youth fool you-this guy does quality work. Working out of his professional paint booth in Bell, Calif., Sheridan has turned out cars for several shows and magazine opportunities, including a white turbocharged Datsun 510 recently featured in these pages (Turbo, 8/04).
Once the Supra arrived at Shift Auto Body, Sheridan took over the painting aspect of the project and the XR guys became my project liaisons as well as Sheridan's assistants during sanding and prepping. Sheridan started off with the bodywork first. Even though I wasn't a fan of the previous color, if there was anything beneficial to having white paint it was the color's ability to hide dents-thirty-seven to be exact! I had no idea, but thank goodness they're all gone.
The two-step paint job commenced with a bare coat of blue to cover up the white and check bodywork, followed by two additional base coats of blue. Then, after wet sanding the entire car by hand, Sheridan applied the first coat of the actual color, which was again followed by two more passes. At this point the guys wet sanded the car again and continued with two more coats of Estoril. On top of the three base and five color coats, Sheridan concluded the job with three coats of clear.
Even he was impressed with his own work and color. "When I first got the paint from PPG I thought to myself, 'Ok, seems like an interesting color'. But after the majority of the car was done and I first rolled it out of the paint booth and into daylight, the color looked so good people driving by were completely stopping in the middle of the street to take a good look at it."
I didn't get to see the car until it was finished. And yes, my jaw dropped when I did. As magazine editors, we tend to try and control our emotions when something impresses us. Well, today my half-Italian side busted out with a plethora of Che Bellas and Mamma Mias.
As you can see by the pictures, the car isn't quite finished. But it was too exciting not to show Turbo readers the progress. Sheridan's got the Top Secret hood, Stillen bumper, quarter panels and some of the interior left to do. I didn't want to rush him so we'll have to see the finished product next time, along with the Supra's new sound system that XR Creations is installing.Stay tuned.
Author's Note: Thanks to Alan, Berris, Evan, Matt and Sheridan for a job well done