Rotor Head Defined
What do you do when you own a naturally aspirated first-generation RX-7? You look for a turbocharged one of course. No offense to the all-motor first-gen guys, but we're pretty sure sourcing something turbocharged is on just about all of their radars. At least it was for Bruce Boulan, who while in 1999 happened to own such a non-turbo rotary all the while searching the Pacific Northwest for something more suitable, something turbocharged. The day Bruce, president and founder of www.idahorotary.com, happened upon one '88 RX-7 Turbo II in particular was the day he realized his current RX-7 would no longer cut it. Despite the first-gen's fun factor, there was just no comparison between the two. "I was astonished at the difference in power," we believe were Bruce's exact words. "I had to have one."
Bruce passed on the high-mileage '88, but the bug was planted and his search began, which ultimately led him to Salem, Oreg., where he located his very own FC3S. A straight body with a decent exterior led to the hole in his wallet and a damaged powertrain that had seen better days led to the JDM engine swap. At first Bruce sought professional help but soon decided due to monetary concerns to learn the process and tackle the install himself. The lesson paid off as Bruce has since blown and re-installed more engines than one can count on a single hand; apex seals and several hundred horsepower often yield such results of dismay. Bruce has since struck that perfect balance with his current 1.3-liter, which happens to belt out a healthy 450 whp-enough for an 11.8-second pass on street tires.
Power comes relatively easy with a Precision Turbo PT67-GTZ paired with an Aquamist water/methanol injection system, which helps alleviate all of the A'PEXi AVC-R controlled 22 pounds of boost. The usual suspects follow including dual Walbro fuel pumps, 720cc primary and 1,600cc secondary injectors, a Mallory fuel pressure regulator and an A'PEXi GT Spec exhaust all tuned with a Haltech E6K. A GReddy Type R blow-off valve and front-mount intercooler along with an external wastegate and exhaust manifold from HKS round off the turbo system. Bruce ensures against any more unplanned engine installations with a host of GReddy meters and a PLX wideband air/fuel controller.
Despite plans to later build a 600whp 20B, Bruce failed at neglecting the rest of his FC. An ACT clutch paired with a brand-new S5 transmission and rebuilt differential were invested in as well as KYB AGX struts and Eibach springs. A host of strut tower braces and bars from JIC Magic, CP Racing and Racing Beat are also put to the test. A set of Hawk brake pads bring either the Nittos or the Mickey Thompsons to a halt, depending on the situation.
Bruce prefers to think of himself as a "rotor head." And, in light of his turbocharged FC, we really can't think of any better name to give the guy.
As MKIV twin-turbo targa top Supras go, they're relatively expensive, equally as costly to modify and not always easy to find. John Tachibana is all too familiar with each of these sentiments, yet just doesn't seem to mind. And it's likely you wouldn't either, given that you happened across the '94 garage-kept, low-mileage beauty John did. Of course, happening upon such pristine displays of 2JZ-GTE goodness isn't entirely rare; after all, most who offer up the entry price for such pieces of machinery often care for them in predictable ways. And although John is the second owner-picking up the MKIV in mid-2003 with just over 40K under its belt-one wouldn't know the Supra's ever left the driveway, let alone seen the light of day from the confines of its climate-controlled garage, hidden underneath its genuine Toyota car cover. No matter how you say John's Supra was pristine upon purchasing it, it'll always sound like an understatement.
Modifying greatness has always been a challenge. Randomly slapping parts on such a car will almost certainly leave it in a state worse than if it'd simply been left alone. John took a conservative approach to modifications, one that leaves his MKIV arguably better for it. We might as well say so upfront: this is no quadruple-digit 2JZ of lore such as those you've likely seen gracing Turbo pages of past. No, this 2JZ retains its stock configuration bottom end, top end, twin turbos and all. Its modifications are subtle, but well chosen. Most noticeable are the 19-inch chrome Enkei wheels shod with Pirelli P Zero ZR-rated tires at each corner. Little else is altered in terms of stance and handling save for KYB dampers and, if you ask John, that is just quite all right.
We'd like to tell you about this Supra's fancy paint job, but the truth is, it's stock. What's notable, however, is the unmolested anthracite-colored paint-free of dings, dents and even the most minor of abrasions. Such is what happens when vehicles grace the roads only under the best of weather. But it's the minor accouterments that make John's Supra what it is, like the Rod Millen downpipe and RSR Invidia exhaust combo that, together with a JDM-only Mine's ECU, give the 2JZ a slight power bump. HKS has its hand in the fold also with its sequential blow-off valve, electronic boost controller and turbo timer. The standard-issue parts follow suit such as Lonza aluminum pedals, a K&N filter, PIAA bulbs and an oil cap and thermostat, both from TRD. An assortment of GReddy gauges help John ensure the engine remains as pristine as the rest.
To some, what John considers his pride and joy may seem a bit of a bore. Understandable. Obscene Supra-like horsepower figures it does not have. A track-bred suspension it cannot boast. And a trophy-winning show car it is not. But there are just some things in life worth appreciating and well-preserved rarities like John's targa top Supra are one of them.