If you’ve read any of my stuff, you know that I peruse Craigslist on a regular basis looking for my next project car. The last day or so I’ve come across the 3rd generation Toyota Supra. All three of the examples that I have found have been under $1000 and have had either a blown engine or no engine at all. I’ve always liked the Toyota Supra and this of course gets the wheels turning.
So what can I do with this car? They are potent out of the box, the NA motor makes around 200HP and the turbo power plant 230HP. That being said, one option is to just replace the engine and move forward. This would cut down on any re-wiring costs/headaches and get a pretty nice sports car right off the bat. With the original NA motor (the 7M-GE) costing around $700 and the turbo model (7M-GTE) running about $1100, this seems like a reasonable option.
Another option would be an engine swap. I know that everyone would immediately think the 2JZ-GTE, but that full swap would run around $6500 with the manual transmission. Apparently this is a very desirable setup! I could also do just the engine, since I would be mounting it to the existing 5 speed manual transmission (The R154) I would just need the bell housing from a 1JZ. This would cost around $2000 just for the engine. I could also consider doing a 1JZ-GTE swap, which would run about $1100. These swaps seem pretty pricey, and since they are custom and require other parts, the car could easily cost me $4000 to get it to running condition. I would consider doing an LS swap into it, but that would require fabricating the motor mounts and heavily modifying everything. I don’t really think I’m up for that in my covered car port!
All that being said, it appears that the economical course of action would be to purchase the 7M-GTE engine and modify it. So, what can we do to that motor? It appears that the way to make power out of this motor is quite simple and can be achieved relatively inexpensively. The first steps are to get the engine flowing well, with an intake, downpipe, and exhaust. This should cost less than $800. After that it appears that some 550cc injectors, a boost controller, Walbro fuel pump, and a Lexus MAF will be required to get the horsepower numbers to up over 300. That does not sound like too much money and should be pretty doable. The one thing that will need to be considered with this engine will be the head gasket. This motor seems to like to have them fail. Upgrading this part on the 7M-GTE might be worthwhile.
Once putting in a working motor and getting the horsepower numbers that seem like fun, the normal performance modifications will be in order. A decent suspensionand upgraded brakes as well as a decent wheel and tire combination should suffice to make the car quite fun. I’ve seen Stoptech cross drilled and slotted roters for $135, stainless steel brake lines for around $100, and good brake pads for around $70. A quick rundown of the cost for building this car looks to be around $5000 including the car and doing all the work myself. Of course I want the car to look good as well and we will need to add another $1000 for wheels and tires.
This seems to be a decent project and sourcing a good 7M-GTE engine should not be that hard to do. I could also probably cut the costs down quite a bit by looking for used deals online and possibly in junk yards for the parts that can be found there. 300+ horsepower in a 3rd Gen Supra sounds like a lot of fun! The one thing that keeps getting me down is the cost, I know these are “fantasy builds”, but I would like to possibly pursue these one day. At $6000 to completion, and me saving $40 per week, this will take forever. Approximately 28 years, wholly s#!t my plan sucks!