It was the fourth generation Toyota Supra that nobody wanted: 1993 (first model year), automatic and naturally aspirated. Yes, that's right, not all Mk4 Supras came with the twin-turbocharged 2JZ-GTE inline-six. The less popular, more budget friendly and boost-less 2JZ-GE model summoned 220hp and 210lb-ft of torque—not the numbers we're accustomed to see from everyone's favorite Toyota sports car, which is exactly why you don't see many enthusiasts rip into them. There were a handful of shops that developed turbo kits and a brave few that went the individual throttle body route (remember our Super Street cover car owner Brendan Taft?), but overall, the slightly inferior inline-six was neglected by most, which is why Tyler Graff of Colorado picked up this particular 1993 non-turbo Toyota Supra nine years ago.
BOUGHT ON A BUDGET
Tyler picked up his Mk4 Supra when he was only 22, but don't think for a minute that he was some spoiled kid. His first project car was a Scion tC that he worked his butt off to buy parts for and eventually sold to pick up this Supra in 2011. Now, this Supra was as far from a gem as you can imagine... Naturally aspirated with an automatic transmission paired with a destroyed TRD body kit and a laundry list of missing parts. It wasn't as bad as the rusted Supra Paul Walker trailered into Toretto's garage, but it had seen much better days. For Tyler, though, he saw this as an opportunity to build one of the cars he had dreamed about owning since watching illegal street racing videos in his parents' living room, and it only cost him an $8,000 bid at a local auction.
Tyler was able to patch up the car's issues enough to begin driving it shortly after. The fun was very short lived as he hammered the Supra straight into a mountain, damaging every corner and side of the body in the process. At this point, it was time cut the bullshit and build the car he set out to build in the first place, which would in turn take Tyler seven-long years to get it to the point where it is today.
THE FAMILY BUSINESS
After the wreck, Tyler's goal was for his Supra to share car show and drag racing duties. He also didn't want to spare any expense with cheap parts or cut any corners when it came to body, paint and execution. In order to do this, he kept his project car really close to home, and by that we mean, within the family business.
Before Tyler was even born, his dad was already fixing up cars in the family-owned body shop known as Lowell Auto Body in Westminster, Colorado. At the early age of 16, Tyler started to develop his skills, working under his dad and eventually worked there full-time. Now 31, Tyler has been there a solid 15 years and together the father-son duo have spent every free hour at the shop (and every extra cent Tyler made) breathing new life back into the Supra.
SMOOTH BODY & FUNCTIONAL AERO
The main attraction of Tyler's Supra is the custom molded widebody. It uses all authentic parts, from the TRD kit and fenders to the Ridox front bumper and Trial rear bumper. Tyler and his dad have gone above and beyond to mold and smooth the entire body, so it looks like everything is one piece—no gaps, no lines, not rivets, no bolts.
The next interesting thing to learn about the aero is that it's not just for scoring points at a show. It's very functional, especially when you factor in that the towering Top Secret GT2 rear wing. It's also reinforced for durability. The front splitter doesn't just bolt up to the bumper but also has braces that connect to the rebar and then attaches to the subframe. The side extensions follow suit with bracing along the bottom side to the inner pinch weld. As for the wing, it's strengthened where it bolts to the deck lid on the carbon supports. Tyler explains the front splitter and side extensions can support the weight of a human.
TURBOCHARGING THE 2JZ-GE
There are some minor differences between the non-turbo 2JZ-GE and twin-turbo 2JZ-GTE but for the most part, the blocks are the same. The GE was just as strong and in Tyler's eyes, it was going to be cheaper to turbocharge his original motor than finding an affordable engine swap, or so he thought... "The idea was it would be quicker, cheaper, and easier. In the end it was none of those things. It's a challenge to use the GE even if it is just as strong. Everything is made for the GTE which is why I had to go full custom on everything."
Tyler used a mixture of Brian Crower and JE forged internals to ensure the bottom-end was bulletproof while the top-end received more aggressive cams from BC as well. The difficult job was the turbo kit, which he credits Ouroboros Fabrication for hundreds of hours of work put into the custom twin-scroll manifold, piping and all the other fabrication that was required which included twin titanium dump tubes, 5" titanium intake tube, 4" titanium downpipe/exhaust and more. The Garrett GTX4294R turbo is wedged in there with no room to spare, which should be capable of pushing quadruple-digit horsepower numbers; however, at the time of our shoot, Tyler is running a highly conservative street-tune of 400whp at just 10psi of boost. There's a lot left on the table considering Tyler opted for a rebuilt TH400 automatic transmission geared for late night drag racing.
SHAVED ENGINE BAY AND TITANIUM DETAILS
Having a powertrain capable of 10-second quarter-mile passes is one thing but matching that with an award-winning engine bay is what puts Tyler's Supra on a different planet. The father-son team spent many painstakingly late nights smoothing the bay with metal (not bondo), then tucked mostly everything out of sight except the critical fuel, oil and water lines. Tyler then went to town on titanium and boy, he did not hold back. There's titanium plumbing and hardware everywhere, from the intercooler pipes (we dig how they're visible from the front bumper) to virtually all the nuts and bolts, custom intake box (which features a headlight duct to funnel more air) as well as a one-off cover that hides the brake and power steering reservoirs.
- Our guide to properly shaving and tucking an engine bay
SUPRA FOR LIFE
If you're curious about the color, it is an OEM Toyota Supra color but not what you might expect. Tyler's pride and joy is in fact painted Absolute Zero White from the 2020 Supra. And in case you're wondering, he has the A90 Launch Edition to match! He wants to give Todd Carlmark at the family body shop all the credit for helping the paint look as if it came off the production line in Graz, Austria (where the new Supra is manufactured, if you didn't know). Toward the end of my interview with Tyler, I learned that he doesn't just have the Mk4 and Mk5, but he also has the Mk2 and Mk3, only still on the lookout for a Mk1 to complete his collection. Which one does he like best? Well, this one, obviously! A raw racecar-like driving experience, seven years of blood, sweat and tears, and an unforgettable journey with his father who lent his experienced hand each and every step of the way.
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