What Going Overboard with Toyota’s 1990s Hero, the MkIV Supra, Looks Like
Based on the number of high-powered MkIV Toyota Supras floating across your screen on any given day, you’d think they were everywhere. The truth is, though the spotlight often shines on these ’90s phenoms, they’ve become pretty few and far between. Move away from track events, car shows, and meets, and it’s become increasingly rare to catch one on the road during your regular commute.
Frank Pichardo has always been a fan of the fourth-gen Supra’s turbocharged inline-six and sultry body lines, but it took some planning to position himself to actually buy one. In 2017, feeling like it was finally time to make his move, he parted ways with his all motor drag Civic and picked up this 1995 model. Unlike so many others, it didn’t start with a few bolt-ons, followed by the itch for more power, but instead, served as an immediate dive right into the deep end of power modding.
Just Getting Started
On the stock engine with some choice upgrades—including a Grannas gr700 T56 transmission—Pichardo was able to get 900 hp. Not an uncommon number by today’s standards, especially with the MkIV Supra, but incredibly impressive nonetheless. While it’s become almost formulaic in many enthusiasts eyes, it’s tough to argue with almost 1,000 hp on tap from a sleek street car in the sort of pristine condition that Pichardo maintains his build.https://experience.sourcesync.io/motortrend-0_pi7xvwtg?utm_source=motortrend
Even with the abundance of power, it was expected that an inherent need for progression would force him to step things up considerably. After almost two years of daily duty that Pichardo assures us always included some “spirited driving,” the engine was torn down in search of a major bump in power.
The original 2JZGTE’s lower half ditched its factory slugs for CP Pistons and BC rods and a billet main cap in preparation for more boost. The top end received some CNC massaging from HeadGames Motorworks, a strengthened valvetrain, and BC cams. A single Precision turbo does its job to force-feed more air through the system and into a Ross Machine Racing throttle body and Gato intake manifold.
The combination netted an additional 500 hp over the car’s previous setup before running out of fuel at 33 psi. For the next year, the car remained exactly in that form, and with plenty of miles under its belt and more than enough data collected, Pichardo was able to put together a list of upgrades that would bring the car up to the next level and not leave any power on the table.
“In the beginning of 2021, I added bigger injectors, an external fuel pump, and a custom fuel cell,” he notes. “I also went ahead and sent the transmission out to get faceplated.” A conversation with his tuner, Randy of RS Tech, resulted in a Motec M150 race package with Randy’s GP1 strain gauge. In the suspension department, Grannas rear lower arms and an anti-roll bar were teamed with Strange rear coilovers and Boostsource upper arms to maintain control of the car once fully unleashed.
With all that power comes the need for sufficient braking. Hence why up front, the stock calipers were replaced with CTS-V stoppers, while the rears were swapped for Evo 8 calipers. Brembo pads and Lexus IS-F rotors round out a much-improved brake setup that fits nicely behind Weld Racing wheels. Those rears, by the way, are wrapped in huge 275/60 MT Street R rubber.
After inspecting the engine’s bearings and finding that they showed no significant signs of wear, the engine was buttoned back up and the new power additions put to use. After some initial miles to work everything out, it was back to the dyno for fine tuning. With another 10 psi and some well thought-out keystrokes, the Supra’s latest rendition pumped out 1,500 hp at the wheels. That isn’t the absolute ceiling, either, but with the turbine housing maxed and showing signs of unwanted back pressure, the tune is considered complete for the time being.
With that much power on tap, you were expecting a stripped-out interior with single bucket seat and not much else. The reality is the cabin maintains all of its factory plastic panels, with the exception of carbon fiber door cards with red stitched armrests that match the Recaro seats. A Personal suede steering wheel replaces the factory piece and an AEM CD-7 digital dash relays engine vitals.
You’ve seen other stock bodied Supras with nothing more than a wing, front lip, and meaty rear tires plenty of times before, many of them very high powered. Pick apart Frank Pichardo’s creation however, and you realize it’s so much more than just throwing fuel and a huge turbo at Toyota’s legendary 2J to get this sort of result. Besides that fact, his decision to take a calculated approach that included proper suspension and braking as well as the Zen-like patience to collect data for a year straight to successfully step up to mind blowing power output should be showcased whenever possible.
Photos Courtesy of Alec Coutinho
Car 1995 Toyota Supra
Owner Frank Pichardo
Engine Solid engine mounts; CP pistons; BC rods, cams; billet main cap; Headgames CNC port work; GSC and Ferrea valvetrain; Precision turbo, wastegate; TiAL blow-off valve; Gato intake manifold; Ross Machine Racing throttle body; ETS intercooler; custom intercooler piping, downpipe, exhaust, fuel cell; Burns Stainless muffler; extended oil pan; Weldon 2035 fuel pump, pump control unit; Motec M150 management
Power 1,500hp, 1,100 lb.-ft. of torque
Drivetrain T56 face-plated; RS Tech strain gauge; OS Giken triple plate clutch, flywheel; Driveshaft Shop 9-in. Ford rear end, drive shaft, Pro axles
Suspension Strange Engineering rear coilovers; BC Racing front coilovers; Grannas Racing sway bars, lower arms; solid bushings; Boost Source 4130 upper arms
Braking CTS-V front calipers; Evo 8 rear calipers; Brembo IS-F rotors, pads;
Wheels & Tires Weld Racing S71 18-in. front, 15-in. rear; Toyo Proxes R888R front; Mickey
Thompson Street R rear
Exterior TRD wing; Titan carbon fiber front lip; custom headlight air inlet
Interior Recaro seats; Sparco harnesses; Personal steering wheel; RS Tech straing knob; TBT Carbon Factory door panels; carbon fiber dash kit