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1997 Toyota Supra - Nine-Second Joy Ride

May 6, 2002
Turp_0205_01_z+1997_toyota_supra+drag_race Photo 1/1   |   1997 Toyota Supra - Nine-Second Joy Ride

9.52 @ 145 mphTo many, a car is nothing more than a mode of transportation to get from point A to point B. It's taken to Jiffy Lube every 10,000 miles and run through the car wash once a month, tops.

Within the interior accommodations, there are probably empty soda cans and open bags of chips and of course, the uneaten french fry tucked between the seat where the vacuum cleaner can't reach.

On the flip side, there are people that treasure their cars as if the vehicles were sent by God. These owners make sure the engine oil is changed every 1,000 miles with only the best synthetic oils. The car is only washed by their own two hands and it's waxed every weekend. And when the car is driven, it's only taken out on sunny days with no rain in sight.

For Paul Fantis of Fredrick, Md., it's about all of that and a need for speed. Fantis' joy ride is a 1997 Toyota Supra twin-turbo with all the fixins'. Fantis originally bought the car used with 13,000 miles on the clock for a daily commuter. But after a good solid week of driving, Fantis realized the stock 320 flywheel hp wasn't enough and wanted more-and more is what he got. Fantis contracted the services of Bullish Motor Racing in Hackensack, N.J. to initiate an engine fortification program.

Bullish started with the bottom-end and filled the block with the familiar names. The factory displacement was retained with the use of stock replacement low-compression JE Pistons. Carrillo connecting rods join the aluminum slugs to the balanced and prepped factory crank. The block was assembled to Bullish Racing race specifications with new bearings and seals.

Moving to the top half of the engine, Bullish addressed the need for increased airflow to the chambers. The head was stripped of its valvetrain and given a full race port and polish with three-angle valve job. New bronze guides were installed, along with Ferrea oversized stainless-steel valves. Ferrea high-tension, double valve springs and titanium retainers keep the valves sealed. Bumpsticks were upgraded to a pair of custom Crower Racing specials, which are fine-tuned by a set of Unorthodox Racing adjustable cam sprockets.

With the powerplant all armored up, Fantis moved on to the turbo system. Obviously, he was looking for big power and big power meant installing a big turbo. Fantis chose the mother of all turbos, a T51R Kai turbocharger from HKS.

The complete turbo system utilizes a stainless-steel manifold and relies on an HKS Racing wastegate for boost control. Compressed charge air from the turbo is transferred via 3-inch aluminum I/C piping to a huge, three-row air-to-air HKS chiller mounted up front. The cooled charge air is then fed into a custom Bullish Racing sheetmetal intake via 4-inch aluminum I/C piping. With ample air pressure in the combustion chambers, 1,000cc injectors squirt high-octane fuel into the mix. Ensuring the injectors always have a steady supply of juice is a Weldon fuel pump combined with an Essex regulator. Overseeing the operating parameters of the 2JZ is a Motec M48 sequential stand-alone engine management system. The 2JZ turned a monstrous 850 hp to the rear wheels without the aid of nitrous.

Trying to transfer 850 hp to the rear wheels is no easy task. Wanting to keep things simple, Fantis opted for a two-speed ATI Powerglide transmission with a 4500-rpm stall speed Pro Torque converter modified by FB Performance Transmission in Long Island, N.Y. The ATI tranny runs an oversized tranny cooler to help maintain tranny fluid temperatures when the Supra is driven on the streets. A Cusco limited-slip differential is in charge of delivering equal power to the rear wheels while contact with the strip is provided by a pair of Goodyear gumballs mounted on lightweight Bogart aluminums. HFR Fabrication installed an NHRA-certified 10-point chrome-moly roll cage to bring the Supra to 9-second specifications.

Since the car was conceptulaized as a street/strip warrior, Fantis addressed aesthetics by installing a Stillen front bumper, Stillen side skirts and a vented TRD fiberglass hood all color matched by Creative Colors Autobody in Frederick.

With Fantis at the helm, the Supra has already broken the 9-second barrier with a blazing 9.52 at 145 mph. Like many racers, Fantis wants to go quicker and plans on going to a bigger turbo and swapping out the air-to-air intercooler with a liquid-to-air unit. Although Fantis' passion is at the strip, he still drives the Supra to work on a regular basis. He admits it's kind of cool to drive the car on the streets with extra-wide DOT radials out back, but says it's hard to find anyone to race him...can't imagine why.


Los Angeles, CA 90061
Unorthodox Racing
Copiague, NY 11726
JE Pistons
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Crower Cams & Equipment
Chula Vista, CA 91911-5899
(619) 422-1191
Motorsports Performance



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