Pete’s Toyota Supra ‘Twin Turbo’ VVTi MK4 JZA80 (1997)

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The first generation Toyota Supra was really just a performance variant of the Celica. Unlike a regular Celica, it carried an inline-six cylinder engine, and was badged as the Toyota ‘Celica Supra’. Over the years however, this sub-model grew to become not just its own standalone model, but also one of the greatest Japanese sports car of all time, standing alongside greats such as the Skyline and the NSX.

It wasn’t until the third-generation “Celica Supra” that the bonds were finally cut, and the “Supra” became its own model. Crucially it was at this point that the Celica moved to a front-wheel-drive layout, whilst the performance-oriented Supra retained the rear-wheel-drive layout. The Supra also retained its inline-six engines, though by now capacity had been increased to 3.0 litres, and power was around 200bhp. It was during the third generation of Supra that turbocharging started to be introduced, and power levels began to knock on the door of 250bhp.

The Owner: Pete, Age 46, Lives in Shropshire, UK
The Owner: Pete, Age 46, Lives in Shropshire, UK

Dream Car: 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante, or a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing.

The most famous Supra of all however is the fourth-generation (or MK4) which was introduced in 1993. The MK4 Supra marked the point at which Toyota decided to market the Supra as a genuine supercar killer.

The twin-turbo charged six-cylinder JZ engines were now churning out over 300bhp and were able to hit 0-60mph in just over 4 seconds, and reach speeds of over 160mph when unrestricted. The MK4 also possesses a near perfect front-rear weight distribution, and huge efforts were made by Toyota to reduce weight, meaning despite being bigger and having lots of extra safety features, the MK4 was lighter than its predecessor by nearly 100kg!

Pete’s Supra is a MK4, of course, and is a VVTi JZA80 “Twin Turbo”. All you need to know really, is that means it’s a proper Supra, with turbo chargers and bags of power! In fact this one is running over 380bhp. This is Pete’s third Supra, and he’s done some brilliant performance modifications to the car whilst steering clear of the “Daft bodykits” route. Bravo! Read the interview below to find out more…

Toyota Supra Twin Turbo VVTi Mk4 JZA80 (1997)

It wasn't until the MK4 that Toyota fully committed to making the Supra an out-and-out supercar killer. Performance and weight saving went to the top of the agenda, and these cars can still comfortably out-perform many of todays supercars.
Model Year 1997
Model Supra MK4
Make Toyota
Keywords Japanese, JDM, Modified, Toyota, Turbo

Modifications

  • Performance modifications include an RSR GT2 full stainless exhaust, a Chris Wilson double decat, Thor Fuel cut defender, Speed M8 Top Speed and Speed Limit Defender, and Racelogic Traction Control.
  • This car had the optional larger "UK" brakes from factory. Goodridge Braided lines installed, and Chris Wilson Fast Road Pads.
  • Chrome TRD Strut Brace Titan Antiroll Bars. Ohlin dampers, and Chris Wilson springs to match.
  • The car runs on 17" Standard wheels or 18" Lexus wheels depending on the mood!
  • Blitz Mirror Drive Boost Gauge, and AEM UEGO AFR Gauge.

Interview with the owner

  • When did you first purchase the car?
    2005.
  • What made you buy this car in particular?
    After a bad run of European cars and a particularly unreliable Vauxhall Corsa GSi I'd decided to go Japanese.
    Originally I fancied a Mitsubishi FTO or Mazda RX7 – but then I saw a Supra locally on Autotrader and went for a peek. I was instantly smitten – I felt right at home behind the wheel with that cockpit style dashboard and of course it looked so unique. So I bought that NA '94 auto in black… that was a really beautiful car.
    After a few years I yearned for more power and got sick of the "is it turbo?" question everybody asks! Ha! The Royal Sapphire Pearl colour was always my favourite but as one of the rarest standard colours it didn't come up for sale often.
    It was only available from '97 onwards in Japan when the model was given a mild facelift.
    When I saw this advertised that morning I called the garage and made them hold it for me so I could drive the 80 miles that night after work, good job I did as it was in high demand.
  • What's it like to drive?
    Part of the changes was the introduction of the tiptronic gearbox with manual gear change buttons on the steering wheel. It's no substitute for a modern auto/manual box but can make for a slightly more engaging drive if you're in the mood.
    Lots of petrol heads balk at the idea of an auto box, but Toyota did a fantastic job with this one. In my mind it's more a grand tourer than a nimble sports car anyway. I've done several Euro trips and it never skips a beat, swiftly eating the miles in comfort.
    This is the third Mk4 Supra I've owned, my previous one was a pre-facelift '96 TT non VVTi in silver. Something that was very apparent was how the VVTi helped to deliver power before the 1st turbo kicks in making it feel more responsive.
    The infamous JZA80 engine responds well to a simple decat modification and exhaust increasing power from around 320 to 380ish BHP, plenty fast enough.
    I've fitted adjustable Ohlin dampers and uprated ARB's, that's made it handle very well if a little firm for road use.
  • Do you know the current BHP?
    Yes this has had the De-cat and uprated exhaust taking it to around 380bhp!
  • Has the car been restored / rebuilt?
    Yes partly! The car had some horrible fibre glass side skirts fitted along with an induction filter and "shopping list" stickers on the side. Those all had to go!
    Over the years I've changed the configuration a few times with OEM skirts and carbon fibre TRD rear spoiler to where it is now without the skirts and standard spoiler.
    As this was my daily driver for several years and had been on several adventures across Europe with MkIV Supra.net owners club the paintwork had suffered.
    In 2017 I undertook a complete windows out respray, with me stripping out the interior myself leaving the external to the body shop (a well known VW project restorer).
    I'm something of a perfectionist and get real joy from a spotlessly clean car so it was something I always wanted to do, also as the Supra marque was starting to appreciate in value it also made sound financial sense.
    Parts were still readily available so there were no major challenges. I've now started collecting parts for an underbody restoration
  • Ok let's talk modifications… what's been changed on the car?
    I've made changes to the engine, brakes, suspension, wheels & tyres, and the interior.
  • What have you done to the engine?
    RS*R GT2 full stainless exhaust, a Chris Wilson double-decat, Thor Fuel cut defender, SpeedM8 Top Speed and Speed Limit Defender, and Racelogic Traction Control!
  • What have you done to the brakes?
    This car had the optional larger "UK" brakes from factory. Goodridge Braided lines, and Chris Wilson Fast Road Pads.
  • What have you done to the suspension?
    Chrome TRD Strut Brace, Titan Antiroll Bars, Ohlin dampers, and Chris Wilson springs to match!
  • What have you done with the wheels & tyres?
    17" Standard wheels or 18" Lexus wheels depending on the mood.
  • What have you done with the interior?
    Blitz Mirror Drive Boost Gauge, and AEM UEGO AFR Gauge!
  • Do you plan to do any further modifications to it?
    No.
  • Is the car a "keeper" or will you sell it one day?
    For the right price, anything is for sale.
  • Do you own any other interesting cars?
    Yes, I've also got….
    – Tiger Super Cat E1 kit car (self built) 2.0 Ford Pinto with Twin Weber 45s, race/rally head.
    – Mazda MX5 NC 2.0 hardtop (Roadster Sport Tech)
  • Ok final question – ignoring cost, and assuming you couldn’t go and sell it for profit… what’s your dream car and why?
    There are just too many different cars out there…1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante is incredible. Or a Mercedes 300SL gullwing would have to be up there. Simply gorgeous car inside and out.
Owner: Pete
Model: Supra MK4
Make: Toyota
Keywords: Japanese, JDM, Modified, Toyota, Turbo

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