It’s the mid-1990s and the place is Southern California. On the streets and at the local dragstrips, people are beginning to take Japanese imports and hot rod them. They swap the motors, add turbochargers and nitrous kits, they source wheels and body styling parts straight from Japan. It was a humble beginning, but one that formed the basis of an automotive revolution.
At the same time, young people were starting to dream not about Corvettes or Porsches, but about the high-tech performance cars coming out of Japan – the NSX, the RX-7, the 300ZX and the Toyota Supra. While few youngsters could actually afford to buy these cars when they were new, they would serve as a halo cars for this group of new-age gearheads. It was the dawn of a new era in car culture.
Growing up among all this was a guy by the name of Enrique Munoz. Enrique would head to Long Beach on Sunday nights to watch the street races, and while these gatherings were dominated by Hondas and other cheap imports, it was the new Supra that consumed his thoughts and dreams.
He wanted a Supra from the moment he saw a poster of two JGTC versions at his buddy’s place, and when he happened across a Royal Sapphire Blue example in person, the want turned into an obsession. Over the next few years he began saving up every spare penny he had, while at the same time researching about Supras and the people who were modifying them.
Enrique read about a group of guys on the East Coast that were building and racing some of the fastest Supras in the world. They included import drag racing legend Vinny Ten, as well as two twin brothers from Queens that were starting to make a name for themselves. He was fascinated by these guys and dreamed about working with them someday, but because they were on the other side of the country all he could do was watch from afar.
By 2001 Enrique had finally saved up enough money to make his dream a reality. He had become the owner of a stock JZA80 twin turbo Supra, and wasted no time mapping out a plan to modify it.
He began with what’s known as ‘BPU’ in the Supra community, a basic assortment of parts proven to extract horsepower from the 2JZ-GTE engine, honing his basic mechanical skills along the way. He also began to track the car, and on one fateful day at Willow Springs he took a spin which resulted in some body damage. It was disappointing, but on the bright side it was also a great excuse to think about adding aftermarket aero to the car.
While in Japan on a Tokyo Auto Salon tour with the now defunct Turbo magazine, Enrique had the chance to meet racing star Manabu ‘Max’ Orido. Right there he made an agreement to import one of Orido’s Ridox brand Supra body kits to the US. He had completely fallen in love with the JGTC-inspired look as it reminded him of the cars on the poster he’d seen long ago. Getting the kit to the US was not easy nor cheap, but when he finally saw the kit on the Supra Enrique knew it was worth all the trouble.
He was extremely happy with how the car came out, but life, as we know, has a tendency to interrupt our hobbies at times. Enrique bought a house in 2004, and soon he had other financial commitments which brought his toy buying to an end. Meanwhile, the Supra project had become stagnant, and at one point Enrique was even contemplating selling it. He really wanted to take the car to the next level, and if he wasn’t able to, he thought maybe someone else should. Fortunately, his family and friends convinced him to hang on to the Supra, knowing that he would deeply regret parting ways with the car he’d worked so hard to get.
After a few years of handling life’s responsibilities while the Supra sat dormant in the garage, Enrique was finally ready to continue with the project. He began doing research for the next phase of the build, and quickly realized he was going to need some professional assistance. He’d learned a lot about working on cars since buying the Supra, but what he wanted next would far surpass his own mechanical abilities. But it just so happened that Eric and Marc Kozeluh – the twin brothers from New York who Enrique had followed back in the day – had relocated to the West Coast. You probably know them as the guys behind Twins Turbo Motorsports – the shop responsible for building Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s RTR-X Mustang along with many other radical street and track cars.
When Enrique met with the twins in 2010 to discuss the build and how much it would likely cost to achieve what he was looking for, it was a bit of a reality check. To transform the Supra into the dedicated street and track weapon that he had envisioned, the car would essentially need to be rebuilt from the ground up. Enrique was given a three-page laundry list of the components that were required to make his vision a reality – and the cost would be about double what he was expecting to spend. The twins told Enrique to come back when he was ready to get started, knowing the chance of him actually returning was slim.
But Enrique was not going to give up. Once again, he began saving every spare cent he could, and in early 2012 he returned to Twins Turbo, having already purchased many of the parts on the list. The twins, being extremely impressed with Enrique’s perseverance, took delivery of the Supra and the rebuild was underway.
Enrique was expecting the build to go quickly and figured he’d be driving the car within a couple of months. But once again, he was in for a reality check when he began to see the massive amount of work the twins would be putting into the project. As he settled in for the long haul, Enrique and the twins began to bounce ideas off each other as the scope of the build grew. Completion dates were pushed back, and then pushed back again, but Enrique could see that his patience was going to pay off in the end.
Finally in September of this year the completed Supra rolled out of the Twins Turbo shop in Long Beach, ready for its debut at the Supras Invade Las Vegas national meet. Enrique had tried his best to keep the project under wraps, and when people finally caught a glimpse of the car, they were blown away by what they saw.The Twins Turbo Way
But what could be so special about another Supra with a single turbo conversion? Couldn’t any shop do that? And why the hell did the project take so long? Well, with one glance at the engine bay I think you’ll realize that this is anything but your typical Supra build. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to call it one of the finest street-going Supras ever built.
Twins Turbo isn’t just known for building cars that are fast. As we saw during the RTR-X build and other projects they’ve undertaken, the twins are well regarded for their obsessive attention to detail and mechanical craftsmanship. We’re talking about cars that are as pretty to look at from the bottom as they are from the top – and this Supra might just be their crowning achievement.
To simply rattle off the list of performance parts that are fitted to this car would in no way do the project justice. Instead, the twins have merely used these components as ingredients for creating a handcrafted masterpiece. Seeing as how Enrique’s day job is working as a background artist for various film and video game projects, he’s got a very keen sense of color and texture. During the course of the build he exchanged many different ideas with twins and sent them different renderings so they could decide which color combinations and finishes would work best together.
Let’s begin in the engine bay, which is where you’ll find the meticulously-detailed 2JZ-GTE setup. A single turbo conversion was something that Enrique wanted since he first acquired the car, and sure enough you’ll find a big Precision 6667 turbocharger perched on a Full Race manifold here.
Internally, the engine remains stock for now, but there have been plenty of upgrades in other places. There are HKS cams for example, along with ID2000 injectors, twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps with E85 capabilities, and a Weldon fuel pressure regulator.
Plans originally called for a standard front mount intercooler, but when Enrique saw the V-mount system the twins used in their own black Supra build a few years ago, he knew he needed a similar setup in his car. This would mean sacrificing the car’s air conditioning system, but Enrique decided that it was a worthwhile trade-off.
The big Full Race downpipe has also been modified to perfectly fit within the engine bay, while the twins have fabbed up a 4-inch stainless steel exhaust system which features an electronic cut-out with a Veilside titanium muffler in the rear.
Electronics are another huge part of the equation, and given the twins many years of experience building fast Supras it wasn’t hard to settle on a MoTeC M820 engine management system with a custom harness and tuning by Shane Tecklenburg. Thanks to the ECU, the Supra even benefits from traction control now.
Despite having stock engine internals, the car has been dialed in to make a safe and sane 740 horsepower at the back wheels. Next year the plans are to do a full motor build, and I would certainly be counting on power figures in the four-digit range once that happens.
But as I said a moment ago, this whole build is about a lot more than just making horsepower and going fast. It’s all of the other work that truly sets this Supra apart from the crowd. The road race style ducting, for example, isn’t something you’re likely to see on many street legal Supras.
If you followed the RTR-X build here on Speedhunters, you might remember a guy by the name of Mark Delong who performed that car’s custom metal work. For this project, the twins once again hit up their buddy Mark to lend some of his amazing metal-crafting skills to the project. Among his contributions to the Supra are the custom steel panels, shields, radiator core support and the trick twin shroud setup for the intercooler.
Great care was taken to ensure everything was pleasing to the eye, and the custom engine bay panels even have inspection hatches to allow quick access to concealed areas.
There’s a good chance that Twins Turbo spent more time figuring out the car’s hardware than some people do planning their entire builds. Every nut and bolt was scrutinized, right down to individual washer choices and custom-made studs for the engine and front crossmember. It’s staggering to think about.
There are 36 pounds of hardware beneath the car, and every nut, bolt and washer has been cleaned and cadmium plated. Perhaps the twins can pick up some side business serving meals off the bottom of their cars?
Another cool touch is the military-spec quick disconnects on the nose, which make maintenance and loading a breeze.Finishing Touches
Because a big part of Enrique’s plans for the car include track days, the Supra has been fitted with a number of high-end parts in the suspension and chassis department. There are HKS Hipermax Max IV GT coilovers, TRD sway bars and a set of Brembo brakes with 6-piston monoblock calipers up front and 4-piston calipers in the rear.
As for the wheels, Enrique’s choice of Volk Racing SF Challenges by RAYS Engineering perfectly captures the Japanese tuner look, particularly with the giant Brembos leaving but a sliver of daylight inside the spokes.
The Volks measure 19×9.5-inch in the front and 19×10.5-inch in the rear, with Toyo Proxes T1R tires all around.
When it comes to the Supra’s exterior styling, Enrique has stuck with the same authentic Ridox kit that he fell in love with more than a decade ago. All of the rare body parts are constructed from carbon fiber, save for the FRP front fenders which are some 30 millimeters wider than stock.
The Ridox kit included not only the body panels themselves but also the trunk lip spoiler and the GT wing too – the latter being one of just a couple known to exist.
Complementing the Ridox parts are a Top Secret rear diffuser and carbon fiber hood, along with the requisite set of carbon fiber Ganador mirrors. Another cool touch are the custom LED turn signals mounted in the front bumper, and everything is finished off by a gleaming coat of Ferrari Rosso Corsa paint. The original paint and body work was completed by 20/20 Autobody, while Buddha Concept Designs in Buena Park renewed the front end following the rebuild.
Everything is equally tidy inside the cockpit, which features a pair of custom-built leather Recaro buckets with red stitching, a TRD steering wheel and tachometer, plus Veilside pedals and shift knob. Let’s not forget about the custom 6-point chromoly rollcage either.
One of the neatest things inside the car are the instruments. A guy by the name of Stu Hagen has converted everything to a full LED setup which really helps to modernize the interior without taking anything away from the original factory look. It’s just one more amazing little detail…
This project is really the result of two parallel paths coming together. First there was Enrique’s long-time obsession with the Supra, and his perseverance to deal with the obstacles and stick with the car to its completion. During his 13-plus year journey with the Supra, he’s learned a ton and it doesn’t sound like he’d take back the experience for anything.
Then there are the twins, who used this project to execute a vision of the perfect street Supra, and over the course of the build were able to realize a bunch of ideas they’d always had spinning around in their heads. Eric tells me there’s not a single thing on this car that they aren’t proud of.
It’s crazy to think that it’s been more than 20 years since Toyota first unleashed the fourth generation Supra on the world, earning a lifelong group of fans at the same time. But as we’ve seen here, the Supra’s story is far from over. With inspired builders and passionate owners cranking out stunning examples like this, I really can’t see the beloved Supra handing over its dream car status anytime soon.
Photos by Larry Chen