Brian McGaha's 1994 Supra T hardtop
Update for the upcoming competition:
Just a quick update on the latest going on with my '94 hardtop Supra. Things have been progressing quite nicely, in my opinion, and I wanted to show my appreciation, and thank all of the sponsors who have jumped on board. Since being picked for the event, I have replaced both rear wheel bearings with fresh ones from Elmhurst Toyota, replaced all of the suspensions worn out rubber bushings with new R2 Racing polyurethane bushings from TMengineering, and installed Colorado Performance adjustable upper control arms. This was a huge project and not for the weak at heart. While I was under the car I noticed one of my JIC dampers appeared to be leaking. I made a quick call to JIC and soon after sent all four dampers back for a rebuild.
After having nearly every suspension component out of the car, I went to my local Big O Tire store in order to get the alignment all back within spec. The adjustable upper control arms have allowed me to get much more negative camber on the front end than possible with the stock suspension. The new polyurethane suspension bushings really seemed to tighten up the car. While the car was getting the suspension treatment, I built some ducting out of aluminum in order to help keep cool air directed at the engine oil cooler and power steering cooler mounted in the front bumper. I have also installed my new Sparco Milano seats, and Sparco fire extinguisher. The Milanos are beautiful seats. The black with grey accents really look good in the car and I love the Alcantara suede material. I did have to slightly modify the seats to make them fit with the rollbar I have mounted in the car but everything came out nicely. I chose a Sparco fire extinguisher to replace an old discharged unit I had in the car. Utilizing the Sparco billet holder, I mounted it behind the passenger seat.
On Saturday, I take delivery of my new (used)
enclosed trailer. I'm really excited about this. The trailer was made by a local
autocrosser, it has a really low deck, with a very shallow angle ramp
in order to get the Supra on without destroying anything. The trailer is very lightweight, the outer skin is made of Dacron. Think outer skin of model airplane wings. I know its not very secure but its better than
the alternative and that was a flatbed open trailer. This way the car can be transported out of the elements, clean and safe.
I would like to thank the sponsors who have
supported us up to this point. Elmhurst Toyota, TMengineering/ R2 Racing, K+N
filters, Random Technology, Sparco USA, and Hardpipes.com.
Thanks, and stay tuned, I will be updating again next week,
'94 Supra hardtop
Myself, like most Supra owners, was first
introduced to this fantastic car in 1993 when numerous magazine articles came
out singing the praises of this new sports car. At this point in my life, I
wasn’t in the financial position to own a car of this caliber. At the time I was
22 and really into Volkswagens, the older air-cooled variety. There really
wasn’t much performance to be had out of a 1963-ragtop bug with an 1835cc motor,
although these older Volkswagens still have a place in my heart.
It wasn’t until spring of 2002 that one of my good friends showed up at my house with his new Supra. It was Jeff Hoods old car, a black’97, Powerhouse Racing built, road race Supra with a PHR stage II turbo kit and fuel system. I couldn’t believe the power, the firm brakes, unique styling, I was hooked. I had not seen many Supra's in person before, as there was only one that I knew of in my hometown previous to this one. I immediately began looking for one. My only true request was a hard top version, for its stiffer chassis and rarity. After four months of exhausting efforts to find an all-stock hardtop Supra, I expanded my search to include modified cars. I soon found this ’94 hardtop in Houston, Texas. The car was equipped with a T-78 turbo, fuel system, Kinesis K-20 wheels, TRD exhaust, and tan interior. In a matter of one day I flew from Boise to Houston, paid for the car, and started heading for home. I ended up sleeping in the car the first night in a rest stop. Only a few times during the drive did I experienced the true power of the car. I mostly maintained composure just hoping to finish the 22-hour trip home. Just east of Denver the car died on me. I thought I had run out of gas. After having the car towed to Denver, without a clue what to do, I remembered the name of a Supra owner in the area who was selling a car that I had looked at online. In an act of desperation I called To4r.com member, John Salmi. To4r.com, features some of the best Supra’s ever built and is considered the pinnacle of modified Supra websites. How many other car enthusiast websites require that your car produce at least 600 crank horsepower just to join? The phone conversation was awkward at first, but I found John willing to help. He came out to meet me with tools and spare parts. After a day of trial and error, we determined my crankshaft sensor sprocket had come off the crankshaft-timing pulley. Knowing this, I loaded the car on a trailer and rented a truck to finish the journey home. John and his family were nice enough to let me stay at their house for a couple days while we diagnosed the problem. What a great introduction to the Supra community. Thanks John and the Salmi family. When I returned to Boise, winter was just beginning, so I did not immediately get much seat time. I began looking for parts, and I found To4r.com founder, Nils Leufven, parting out his car. I purchased Nils’ HKS intercooler, Fluidyne radiator, Greddy gauges, SP FMIC temperature monitor, and a few other things. The modding bug had begun…
As soon as the weather cleared, I started entering autocrosses and road course lapping days. I realized the T-78 turbo had to go. In its place came a Precision turbo 61-mm with a .58 exhaust housing, for quick spool. The turbo wears a Boost Logic exhaust housing blanket and breathes through a K&N filter. While changing out the turbo, I had a custom stainless steel 4-inch down pipe and mid-pipe made to mate up to a Boost Logic 4-inch cat back exhaust. The car already had a Powerhouse fuel rail, SX fuel pressure regulator, and twin Supra fuel pumps. Of course, the HKS-GT intercooler, I had bought from Nils, was already installed along with his old HKS type II BOV. I had sold his old Fluidyne radiator in favor of the larger PWR radiator. The radiator is capped off with a Greddy 1.3 Barr radiator cap. The over flow coolant dumps into a custom coolant catch can / breather box. I scrapped the stock oil cooler in favor of an Earls 25 row cooler mounted in the passenger side brake duct. The cooler is plumbed with Earls -10 lines and a remote filter adapter. The filter adapter is mounted to the side of a polished cold air box I fabricated. Of course the heart of the beast is an OEM short block and head with mild port work and EGR port welded closed. Currently, the motor has stock cams, and a full Crower Ti valve train. Cam timing can be adjusted via the rare JDM 5-bolt HKS cam gears. For now, I am sticking with the stock intake manifold unwilling to lose any low-end power, but it did get the full polishing treatment and the stock throttle body’s traction control butterfly and motor have been removed completely. Greddy accessory pulleys, and a boost logic crank pulley set up have lightened the rotating mass. I just recently upgraded from the numerous single disc clutches I have had to install a RPS Carbon Carbon clutch to help hold the power and, to my surprised, it improved the drivability of the car dramatically.
The engine gets its signals from a G Force modified ECU that was installed in the car prior to my ownership. For boost control the Greddy type C waste gate depends on a HKS EVCEZ boost controller. The boost controller, HKS turbo timer, and a Greddy 52 mm fuel pressure gauge have all been neatly located in the dash panel to the left of the TRD steering wheel. Upon purchase of the car, it was equipped with the common HKS VPC/GCC combination. Never being satisfied with the HKS GCC that came with the car, I purchased an Apex’i SAFC II for its greater range of fuel curve adjustability. I installed the SAFCII very uniquely in the driver’s side sun visor. With the SAFC II combined with a FJO wideband oxygen sensor I have the ability to tune fuel with much greater ease. The FJO’s digital display has been gutted from its black box and mounted in the old location of the traction control button, right below the stereo. In the old passenger air bag location is where you will find my “pride and joy”. A custom air bag gauge panel that I fabricated out of aluminum and painted it to match the OEM dash panels. This gauge panel holds three Greddy 60 mm gauges monitoring oil temp, oil pressure, and water temp. To the right of the steering wheel in the OEM clock location is a 52 mm EGT gauge, and even further right in the HVAC duct is a Greddy 60 mm peak hold boost gauge. Not one to be easily distracted by music while racing, and keeping the ‘mod dollars’ headed in the right direction, the stereo system has stayed quite modest; just a Clarion ADX5655z head unit and the stock speakers. A Hawker Genesis battery is located underneath the car in a custom mount I fabricated powers all of the electronics equipment. Last, but not least, is a SP engineering FMIC temp monitor mounted in the center console ashtray location.
Suspension and Brakes:
The most important part of a dedicated autocross/lapping day car is the suspension and brakes. Like the rest of the car, this portion has not been neglected. Taking the place of the Koni-Eibach strut and spring set up that came on the car is a set of JIC FLT-A2 coil-overs. I special ordered the coil-overs with very stout 1012 F/674R spring rates. This might seem like over-kill (and it really is), but this allows the car to rely on its springs rather than sway bars for cornering power. I was finding that in some turns the stiffer White Line sway bars, I had, were causing inner rear wheel lift. Despite the stiff spring rates the car still rides quite nicely, because of the custom shock valving. I recently just installed Jeff Brauch’s (Colorado Performance) adjustable front upper control arms. These allow more negative camber on the front wheels than ever possible with the stock upper control arms. With the addition of more negative camber, front and rear on the car, the increased grip is enormous. Due to the increased grip and stiff spring rates, I have been able to reinstall the stock front sway bar and run no rear sway bar at all. The chassis has been stiffened in the front by a TRD upper strut bar. The stopping force in the car comes from the, more than adequate, stock brakes. Although, the brakes have been upgraded in more ways than one. All four rotors have been cryogenically frozen to enhance durability and keep heat at bay. TRD braided lines carry Motul 600 brake fluid to the Hawk HP+ pads, which I use on the street and autocross course. For the road course, I currently use Hawk Blues. The whole suspension has been updated by a set of R2 racing polyurethane suspension bushings. I installed these bushings myself. It was not the easiest job on the car, but what a difference. The motor and transmission mounts have been updated to stiffer TRD units. Finally, to keep the power steering fluid from boiling over on lapping days, I have a small Perma-cool fluid cooler mounted in the drivers brake duct.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels have been a somewhat controversial topic for me. I still have the 18-inch Kinesis K20’s that came with the car. Although the centers have been anodized black, and now wear Kumho V700 tires for the street and occasional lapping days. For autocross, I run CCW’s track package. These are 18” x 10” front and 17” x 11.5” rear. The reason for running the staggered wheel set is based on optimal tire sizes. The CCW’s wheel sets tire brand varies, usually what ever I can get used from my local, nationally competing, fellow auto-crosser’s. Typically Hoosiers or Kumho’s. The reason why my wheel choices are so controversial is because, if I could afford it, I would have a different set of wheels for every day of the week.
When I purchased the car it had tan interior. The seats and carpet were in really bad shape. Sparco’s beautiful Milano seats now hold the driver and passenger firmly in position with the help of a set of Sparco harness belts. The rear seat was deleted, and I fabricated covers to hide the exposed skeleton of the car. This area has been covered in black carpet that matches the new OEM black carpet at the front of the car. For documentation purposes, a Sony mini DV camera sits atop the I/O port camera mount bolted to the silver powder coated Auto-power roll bar, which was modified locally by the Idaho Speed Center.
Currently, the exterior has seen very minor modifications. I have always believed that Toyota did such a great job with the bodylines from the start. I did however modify the stock hood for ventilation. Not happy with the fitment of the aftermarket hoods on the market, I attacked the OEM hood with a Dewalt plunge router and some custom made bending tools. The results were spectacular. I have received more positive comments about the hood than any other single part on the car. I have cleaned and repainted the stock headlights black, and the front turn signals were removed and relocated to the fog light location. The only other body modifications are a front lip, and the assorted dents, dings, and rock chips that come stock with a “used and abused” street/track car.
Throughout the past couple years of ownership I have made a point to do all of the work on the car myself. With the purchase of the factory service manuals, countless hours of research on the internet, and a little trial and error, I have learned volumes about the car. At the end of the day I have the satisfaction of calling the car my own creation. The dedication to the car sometimes became ridiculous when lying underneath the car with a toothbrush and simple green cleaning every clump of dirt and oil residue. This car has taken some of my sanity, not to mention blood, sweat and tears. Owning a supra has become a way of life for me. It has introduced me to life long friends, and a community that understands that this car can be the best of all worlds; refined luxury, awesome looks, and capable performance. I would like to thank my lovely, soon to be wife, Jessica, for putting up with my obsession, or is it an addiction?
Recently, I have been working on acquiring sponsorship for a large sports car magazine competition. With the help of the following list of sponsors we hope to represent the Supra community in this exclusive competition and take home the win. Stay tuned….
R2 Racing suspension bushings
-2JZ-GTE OEM shortblock 1000miles
-OEM head with mild port work (West Coast Cylinder
-Crower Ti valvetrain
-Phenolic spacer (insulates intake manifold from head temps.)
-EGR block off plates
-PTE 61mm turbo .58 a/r
-Boostlogic header, heat wrapped
-Powerhouse fuel rail
-Steel braided -6 lines from twin Supra fuel pumps
-SX Performance fuel regulator
-HKS Type-R FMIC
-HKS Racing type II BOV
-HKS "JDM" 5 bolt cam gears
-HKS DLI ignition amplifier
-PWR radiator/Greddy 1.3 bar rad. cap
-TRD 160 degree thermostat
-TRD oil filler cap
-TRD motor + transmission mounts
Custom 4" SS exhaust (includes steel mid pipe with 4"
electronic cut out, switch located in ashtray location)
-Greddy accessory pulleys
-Boostlogic crank pulley
-Boostlogic turbo exhaust housing blanket
-Fluidyne external oil cooler/ remote filter/ Lexus V8 filter
(mounted in pass. side duct)
-RPS Carbon twin plate clutch/ flywheel combo/
(inspected 1000 miles ago, plenty of life left)
-Polished upper radiator pipe/ Samco lower radiator hose
-Custom oil catch can/ radiator overflow tank
-Radiator cooling panel
SUSPENSION,BRAKES,WHEELS, and TIRES:
-OEM and Whiteline adjustable swaybars (car currently
only runs the OEM front bar, I will include both sets)
-TRD upper strut bar, powdercoated black
-Penske 8100 dampers with 8300 Double adjustable
canisters (These are "no fooling around" shocks.
Canisters have the ability to be set up 3-way by
Penske. Dyno charts will be provided to buyer)
-Hypercoil springs (1000lbs F/ 800lbs R)
-Colorado Performance adj. Front control arms
-R2 poly suspension bushings
-Cryogenically frozen OEM brake rotors
-Perma-Cool powersteering fluid cooler (drivers side duct)
-TRD braided brake lines
-Hawk HPS pads/ Hawk Blues (HPS currently on car)
-Kinesis K20 18x10F/11.5R (will include shells to make
-Nitto NT-01 275/35F 315/30R tires 60% left
-Will include stock 17" front wheels with tires (these
have been a requirement by my local alignment shop)
-Gforce modified ECU
-HKS EVC EZ boost controller/HKS turbo timer (mounted
in dash panel left of steering wheel)
-A'pexi SAFC-II (mounted in drivers sunvisor)
-Greddy 52mm EGT, + fuel pressure
-Greddy 60mm H20 temp./ oil temp.,pressure,boost
-SP Engineering FMIC temp. monitor (ashtray location)
-FJO Wideband 02 with datalogging (readout in TRAC
-Racelogic Traction control
-Dell C610 Latitude laptop for FJO/Racelogic
-Clarion ADX5655z cass./CD, and some speakers(he,he)
-TRD steering wheel
-Sparco aluminum pedals
-Odyssey battery relocated under car
-Polishing, powder coating, anodizing
-Custom cold air box
-Cobra lmola II seats
-Rear seat delete with carpet
-Custom passenger airbag guage panel (fabricated by
myself and holds the GReddy oil/water temp, and oil
-Autopower rollbar with door bars (door bars are not
powder coated to match the rollbar)
-M + R 5 point harnesses/ stock belts
-Custom OEM vented hood (fabricated by myself)
-Recently replaced carpet/floor mats (2003)
-New dash panels (2002)/ wheel bearings (2005)
-TRAC pump removed, wire tucking
-headlights painted black