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1994 Toyota Supra JZA80 RPS Automotive - Singular Satisfaction

Chris Rado Takes The Singular Turbo Roule To 10-Second Street Strip Performance

Evan Griffey
Sep 1, 2000
Photographer: Robert Choo
0009_turp_02_z+1994_toyota_supra_jza80_rps_automotive+front Photo 1/9   |   10.71 @ 136 mph

We've seen it before. Heck, we have lived it before. A hot-blooded enthusiast takes his car to the extreme limit then buys a "daily driver," promising never to turn a wrench on it. Fast forward a few weeks, or days for some crazies, and that stocker is a shocker pumped to head-lifting boost pressures and slammed to within an inch of its life. This scenario unfolded for Reading, Pennsylvania's Chris Rado. He had an Integra decked out for drag strip competition. As the car was metamorphosising its way to 10-second status, Chris landed a '94 JZA80 Supra for daily commuting.

The combination of having a thrill ride at the strip but a stocker in the parking lot for the drive home coupled with the sheer potential of the Supra proved to be too much temptation. Besides Chris needed something to practice in or his Acura would be driven by a more experienced pilot. The Acura was developed under the guidance of Rob Smith from RPS Automotive who wanted a 10-second driver in the 10-second Integra (10.56 @142 mph).

0009_turp_04_z+1994_toyota_supra_jza80_rps_automotive+lower_air_intake Photo 2/9   |   Cooler air means more power. This innovative ducting gets the job done and retains the factory headlamp for the drive home.

Chris, who was attending college in Southern California, took a week off from school to do some cramming but it wasn't for finals it was for pumping up his Supra. The instrument of this power infusion was RPS's single-turbo conversion package. The RPS package features a T66 ball-bearing turbo, Godzilla blow-off valve and Racegate from Turbonetics and a custom RPS equal-length turbo header. In this trim the Toyota had severe traction problems on street tires and thanks to this and Chris's active right foot the Supra produced only 12-second e.t.s. The RPS single-turbo kit is available for public consumption and comes in conventional or ball-bearing form. The basic package includes a Turbonetics turbo, a HKS racing bypass valves, Racegate wastegate, I/C plumbing, HKS VPC and all the lines and hardware. The buyer can select any Turbonetics turbo from a T04 to a T66 depending on desired performance. RPS has sold more than 60 kits so watch out there are some mean Supras prowling the street.

On summer vacation, Chris and his Supra went home to the East Coast. While basking in the summer heat, Chris stopped by Supra fastman Vinny Ten's Performance Factory. Vinny added more power to the Supra by upgrading the fuel system with larger injectors, a high-flow Paxton pump and custom fuel rail. Tuning was addressed with a G-Force ECU upgrade with RPS programming specs, the implementation of a HKS Vein Pressure Converter (VPC) and an air-to-liquid intercooler conversion. Also part of the mix are a B&M Power Plus ignition box, a Tanabe 3.5-inch exhaust system, a manual boost controller and HKS turbo timer. Now the muscle-bound engine could reduce the tires to granulated particles at will. Keeping the rear in the rear was becoming a real challenge at the strip, which made for plenty of "practice."

0009_turp_08_z+1994_toyota_supra_jza80_rps_automotive+right Photo 6/9   |   Sprinter's Legs
Chris Rado is no stranger to the Southern California scene. At a recent Battle of the Imports in Palmdale he posted 10s and then drove the Supra back to its west coast lair after the race.

Even with Chris's growing experience, only high 11s were realized. At this point it became clear that the suspension needed attention. Chris contacted Ground Control which built a set of coilovers utilizing Koni shocks. The newfound tuneability of the suspension meant the corner scales could be used and the car could be brought into better balance which would improve the car's behavior down the track. Glen tried numerous spring combinations but the Supra was making too much power and was unloading too much between shifts. Undaunted, Glen custom machined a set of double-adjustable shocks. The shocks were miracle workers and the Supra was breaking off 1.55-second 60-foots enroute to 10-second timeslips on Mickey Thompson cheater slicks. Now that's a practice car.

With the car hooking and the e.t.s falling, a great deal of pressure as put on the clutch combination and it soon felt the effects. Vinny had become the first full-bodied Supra in the nines and was running a standard RPS Turbo Clutch so RPS was the logical choice. RPS manufactures its own pressure plate using its patented seven-step heat treating process. RPS does not use metallic or unsprung discs in its clutches to ensure smooth engagement and drastically reduce driveline shock which helps save engines and axles. Early on Turbo Clutches relied on the RPS pressure plate and the factory disc. The problem was with Vinny's output the stock disc would glaze in 10 or 12 passes compromising its holding power. Rob Smith knew how important a lightweight clutch disc is when it comes to speed shifts. A lighter disc would cause less transmission wear especially when it came to the synchros. With no lightweight clutch material on the market Rob developed his own carbon fiber clutch material, called Carbonite, which is 30-percent lighter than stock material and provides a higher coefficient of friction. Using Chris's Supra as a test bed the formula was tweaked and the 3500-pound Supra has made 20 10-second passes with 7200-rpm launches and has experienced no drop in clutch performance. The clutch spins an ACCPT carbon-fiber driveshaft and stock rear end gear packs.

As this article goes to press the Supra is undergoing a big evolutionary step-the transformation from stock-based to stand-alone engine management and TRD is coming on board as a sponsor. Rob Smith is employing a new Haltech E6S to oversee the 2JZ-GTE and hopes to see the Supra on its way into the long as Chris practices in his Integra that is.


Simi Valley, CA 93065
RPS Performance Products
Chatsworth, CA 91311
+61 2 9729 0999
Ground Control
(530) 677-8600
Tanabe Suspension/Mackin Industries
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Performance Factory
Woodside Queens, NY 11377
By Evan Griffey
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