The Eternal Supra: Refining An Icon
Modern Classic

It’s been nearly 13 years since the last Supra rolled off Toyota’s assembly line. Think about that for a moment – 13 years. There are middle school students out there who were born after Toyota stopped producing the Supra. My apologies if that makes you feel old.


But besides reminding us how old we’re getting, the thought of the Supra being gone for so long only helps us understand just how beloved these cars are.


Despite their age, it still costs a pretty penny to buy a decent JZA80 Supra, and while its factory performance was amazing for the time, many of today’s cars easily better its numbers. But none of that seems to matter. The fourth generation Supra has already secured its status as an icon for an entire generation of automotive enthusiasts who grew up playing video games and dreaming of overnight parts from Japan.


And despite the demand that exists for these cars, it’s not like Supra owners are babying their cars, keeping them stock and waiting the day when they can sell them at auction for big profits. Not even close. It’s been two decades since the MkIV Supra debuted, and builders are still pushing the limits, discovering new things and building upon the JZA80’s rock solid foundation.


It was back in 2006 when Brent Huckaby purchased this particular 1997 Toyota Supra. Prior to this Brent had completed a couple of Mitsubishi 4G63 builds, and he was originally planning on getting an Eclipse GSX to continue the tradition. But the fourth gen Supra had always been his ultimate dream car. Brent thought, ‘why not go for it?’ and set out on the hunt for a Supra.


He test drove nearly a dozen different candidates, encountering many cars that were overpriced, beaten up or often both. Finally, Brent came across a Renaissance Red example with a tan interior and pulled the trigger. The car wasn’t perfect, but it would serve as the ideal platform to start building upon.

Build, Then Rebuild

Thus began a long journey of adventures with the Supra – building, racing, breaking parts and rebuilding again. It started when one of the factory twin turbochargers developed issues and this led Brent to do what many Supra owners do – remove the factory twins in favor of a single turbo setup. By 2007 the car was putting down over 500 horsepower to the ground, and by 2009 that number had climbed past the 750hp mark. It was at this point that a rod bearing failure lead Brent to completely rebuild the motor using a brand new long block with heavily strengthened rods and bearings.


In 2010, with just 1,200 miles on the new motor, Brent was making a 1/4 mile pass at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when the car developed a misfire. It was at this time that he linked up with Jose Valle of Kaizen Motorsports.  Jose not only diagnosed the misfire, but he worked up a game plan to rid the Supra of its durability issues. Brent liked what he saw from Jose, so he decided that Kaizen Motorsports would be the perfect partner to help take the car to the next level.


The first thing that Jose did once the car was in the Kaizen garage was dismantle the engine to see what was up. Unfortunately they discovered that two of the main bearings were mismatched. This would require a lot of work to fix, but it also meant that Jose and Brent could start developing a more reliable, more powerful engine setup.


With ambitious goals, the guys started scheming up the next iteration of the Supra’s powerplant. Jose had good experiences with Comp Turbo, so they selected one of the company’s turbochargers along with an AEM engine management system. With these parts the car was quickly at the 860rwhp mark.


In 2013, they swapped over to AEM’s new Infinity system, which could be dialed in to work properly with the car’s E85 injection. Brent also liked the system’s ability to protect the engine if something went wrong. Blowing the motor was not something he wanted to experience again.


Even in the time since Larry shot these images, Brent and Jose have continued developing the car. For years Jose had been trying to sell Brent on the idea of running a VVTi head, despite myths that they couldn’t be used in high horsepower builds. But after fitting a brand new, fully built VVT-i head and a newly designed Comp Turbo CTX5-7483 T4 turbine, the Supra recently put down 948 horsepower and 760 pound feet of torque. Better yet, drivability and fuel economy was also improved, and Brent did 21 miles to the gallon while driving to last year’s Supras Invade Las Vegas event.


And the work isn’t over yet. More upgrades are planned for 2015, including stronger brakes for mile and 1/2 mile competitions, along with another increase in power. Brent tells me the goal for this year is for near-on 1,200hp horsepower to the back wheels.

Footwork & Bodywork

Aside from the constantly evolving engine setup, the Supra has been fitted with a number of other upgrades over the years. The drivetrain, for example, has been beefed up with an OS Giken clutch and a TRD 1.5-way LSD. Suspension-wise, KW V3 coilovers help improve both handling and ride quality on the street.


The wheels are custom-built CCW 505As measuring 19×9.5-inch up front and 19×11.5-inch in the rear. Tires are Nitto INVOs, 265/30R19 in the front and 315/30R19 out back. No slam and stretch here.


As for the body, it’s essentially been left stock. The car was, however, stripped down to bare metal and treated to a House of Kolor three-stage red paint job with a white basecoat. The only aftermarket addition to the exterior is a Titek carbon fiber lip up front.


Inside the Supra you won’t find a sea of crazy modifications. Instead, you’ll see a lot of upgraded and refreshed OEM components mixed with a few choice aftermarket upgrades. The carpet is blend of wool and silk, while the original seats have been reupholstered with textile-grade hides. The steering wheel, shift boot and other components have also been refreshed with subtle red stitching.


Aftermarket additions include a Do Luck floor support bar, new gauge faces and a TRD tachometer. There’s also a double DIN stereo unit that comes in handy on those long road trips.


In nearly a decade of ownership Brent has seen his fair share of ups and downs with the car, and after testing so many different parts and setups he’s been able to give a lot of advice to other Supra owners. Brent says that being able to help out the fellow enthusiast has been one of the most rewarding things about the car.


In the end, Brent’s car is perfect embodiment of the following that surrounds the MkIV Toyota Supra. It’s been well preserved and tastefully modified, but at the same time its engine setup has continued to push the limits of what’s possible with the now-iconic 2JZ platform.

Even if Toyota does in fact build the oft-rumored Supra successor, that might only serve make the legendary JZA80 even more special. It’s a modern classic in every sense of the term.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike

Cutting Room Floor


Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I simply love it! Heck... I love anything SUPRA & 2JZ GTE... I'm a fanatic!!!


This will be gorgeous forever, supra will never die!


Why does almost everyone love this car..? Simply put...because Supra


pure JDMness


Engineering and persistence! It all pays off. Wow! 21 mpg with 948 horses! Mind = BLOWN!


10/10 perfect car. the interior is so tasteful.  Great job on this shoot guys, these photos were drool worthy.


This Supra is just a compilation of surprise ...
First of all , I didn't expect to see a modified Supra with only front lip being changed , I always see Supra with bodykits & so on , personally I always prefer Supra in stock looks , it just looks better ... and the interior , it is a surprised to see they use Toyota steering too !
Secondly , I'm surprised by the fact that 2JZ is really reliable when you do it right , and the 21-MPG is even surprising , I know it was possibly just highway figure , but big turbo small engine with 21-MPG ? That is surely amazing !

Lastly , the 19-inch rims looks so good on Supra , I always thought 19 will looks too big .


This almost exactly what I've been dreaming about for years now! Fairly stock looking body, just trimming bits here and there...Though I would most likely have settled for a little less power, but thats how it goes I guess;P


But one day a Gatebil example will drop to a bloke on Pebble Beach for the price of a Ferrari 250 GTO today. I guarantee it.

It should give you an idea as to how much a restored stock Supra-4 would sell there when Sotheby's hang it around with a string


4th gen, 2jZ done right


At first i think this is just some article with a beautifully restored Supra, but man..
The outside look didn't do the justice of the engine, really. Just like a sleeper. But how could one possibly call a Supra 'sleeper' :D
Very nice!


This is the ultimate sleeper.


simplyraka In what world would a Supra ever be a sleeper, stock or not?


UWerqxTeam_MJ Maybe when there's 36 left..... brb going to go crash some supras.


Excellent article and photos as always.
I wish you didn't use such a short focus so more details can be made out and not blurry. The interior has so much to see that I wanted to take in all the details.


What a great looking car, and fantastic engine work in achieving a clean powerful setup!


Well done with the whole conservative sleeper look.


See more pictures on my under Rocketman1000R There are 10 Library folders for the supra build at different stages.


FD > Supra

But this is still a nice example of the latter.


Speedhunters you keep on featuring absolutely amazing Supra's! Brent your car is amazing!


A "floor support bar"? Sounds an awful lot like subframe connectors


Yeah that's what I thought. These do little to nothing without being welded in. Mustang guys have used them for decades for chassis stiffening


Did they need to do something to the chassis? I kick myself every time I didn't purchase one of the last ones. I knew that it was the last production year but did not. I was living in Atlanta Georgia then and they were quite popular.


Thanks again Speedhunters for the kind words and amazing pictures from Larry Chen. Brent loves to share this car with other enthusiast. I'm glad he does, as it features the work that we do. In it's latest state the car is a blast to drive. Adding the VVTi head helped the engine make an extra 300 to 350 ftlbs of torque and same for total WHP vs the Non VVTi head. These gains have never been seen in the Supra game before from just a head upgrade, and moving the spool to almost 1000 rpm sooner with out the aid of Nitrous or any other type of gimmick was unheard of. I have added a picture of the dyno sheet difference between the VVTi head and non VVTi head. The solid red line is the VVTi power curve and the light colored line is the old non VVTi head.


tompen53  the Unibody on the Supra is over kill. It handles the power naturally. It does come with at a price. The car is heavy. It tips the scales at or around 3600 lbs.


This is the current look of the engine bay, Its not a Larry Chen photo by any means.


Clean supra. My favorite Supra is still Björck's one. Everything on that is perfection :)


@asdcvcb I too agree that this was the finest supra to ever grace this site.


I didn't know the supra had such a plush interior! That alone makes this example even better!


@pooft lee
Du Luck floor bar keeps the unibody stiff when the targa top is off.


...but pistons


BrentHuckaby what time


I want to thank
Speedhunters for a great write up and photos. Mike Garrett and Larry Chen are
my heroes! This project car was recently modified after this photo shoot for
the Supra In Vegas event and a VVTI vs Non VVTI swap comparison. The engine bay
and performance of the car is constantly evolving. I also want to mention and
credit the sponsors that recently made this happen. From the day I met Jose
Valle of Kaizen Motorsport I have been pushing him to further his fabrication
and design limits. We have came up with some pretty cool ideas and made them
work regardless of the others saying "It'll never work". But indeed
it worked and worked well. This is why we were able to get a 1000hp plus car to
get over 21 miles mpg on E85 with big cams and 2000cc injectors on a
mountainous terrain from Vegas to LA. Special thanks goes to AEM for the
Infinity 10 and Beau Brown of BBRtuning who put the magic touch on the ECU
tuning to make it all work right and safe. Joe Delgado of Compturbo has been a
great help in so many ways. Comp Turbos are the cutting edge "Made in
America" Bespoke made turbos. PurOL USA oil was used in our testing and is
the latest in the technology when it comes to exotic car and racecar protection
oil. PurOL is an aerospace oil producer that got into the automotive market
after Bisimoto "Honda aftermarket GURU" coxed them in to making an
blend no one else makes. Supertech Performance helped us with making the VVTI
head project happen, their valve train is bar non the best on the market. Tomei
Power USA also is a high-end engine parts manufacture that makes parts that
just last under the most rigorous conditions. TurboSmart has been a lifesaver
helping us with waste gate parts and service, their customer service and parts
are superior. Powerhouse racing has saved us more than once, over nighting
parts like singe piece chrome moly drive shafts, triple pump billet Walbro 485
flex fuel pump system to help make our dyno and testing dead lines. Powerhouse
racing customer service and parts are awesome. All of their parts fit and work
and are made of the BEST "Military grade" materials. Superior
Automotive and Engineering is just that, Superior and they engineer EVERY part
of the engine build, "measure twice cut once". Superior made sure when
both heads we tested were identically built in every aspect with the exception
that one was non VVT and the other was VVTI. GSC Power Division made me a set
of S2 VVTI cams, (No these are not available and were made for the test only)
but call Greg and bug him to make more because we gained an additional 100-300
ft/lbs of torque from 2000-5500rpm on the VVTI head and great gas mileage.
Lightspeed Innovations in Canada is now the North America distributor for ARTec
titanium exhaust, these exhaust are literally a work of art and engineering marvels. is installing the  exhaust system now and will be
posting pictures soon. An M&W Pro 16 CDI box coming from Lightspeed
Innovations to prevent the spark blow out from all the serious torque we are
making with this VVTI head. TMR Inc. fabricated us some bespoke F1 Racing
series fuel lines and fitting along with supplying the Wiggings clamps to keep
all of the boost in the 6” Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) intercooler and
custom intercooling piping. Thank you Mike Welch and crew from Road Race
Engineering for all the late night dyno sessions. Thank you all for the kind
words and check out my sponsors websites, my Instagram Rocketman1000R, Facebook
at 1BAD2J and photo bucket under Rocketman1000R also.


K&N Filters co-engineered the ram air intake


Another amazing Supra, loving this trend. This one is so clean. More please, Speedhunters!


BrentHuckaby  Brent, I hope you will join me and help others remember that theses are not Porsche's rather they are Supra's and that being said it is a Sport Roof not a Targa. Thanks!


These are amazingly engineered machines. Stock or all tweaked out, favorite ride!


nice clean build with a wicked engine!

not digging the rims though.  lol.


@skogie BrentHuckaby  A very very very very very very very important thing.


RDS It sounds as if you never knew anything about the Supra to begin with.


@lapdaykid simplyraka Well Im guessing stock nonTT's are pretty slow.


autostradafd Not if youre talking all out performance.


So clean and beautiful! Hey Larry can you make the second photo in high resolution?


I love Supras. My favorite Toyota ever!


To me , a modified Supra always not that good looking , and I always thought the 2JZ would be like a 2MPG engine instead of anyway near 20MPG ... as for the rim wise , I didn't notice them before .


Super Supra. Also, nice license plate :)


kaizen_motorsports That's seriously impressive stuff. What is it that has people hesitating from the VVTi 2J engines then? I always hear everyone saying for big power you want a non-vvti engine.


The hesitation has been lack of knowledge on how to tune it, I even had one part mfg say they didn't think the vvti system would handle extreme power but once we sent them the data they were blown away. Toyota has the most robust built variable valve timing mechanism in the automotive industry.


MichaelKN all the images are available in High Res, on a computer, you can hover over the photos and click on DOWNLOAD WALLPAPER or PRESENTATION MODE, right click and select Save Image As...


BrentHuckaby Awesome! that's my pic! Thanks for using it! SIV was a great time. Can't wait till next year!


Are we spltting hairs over nomenclature with trade mark names or an actual design difference? Lol


nurgemedia BrentHuckaby Thanks for the great photo at SIV. If you have any more please email me them at and post them here too. I tried to look your website up to see if there were more pictures but I didn't see one when I googled it.


shiftyXTI MichaelKN Okay, but second and third photos are not avaible in presentation mode and you can't dowloand them. I want this back quarter image in hi-res cause it could be very nice second desktop.


Smiggins simplyraka It's a red, 2 door sports car with a big wing, sleeper, really?


Continue the refining, Brent received a new Artec Titanium 4" exhaust and we have the pleasure to install it.


Out with the old, the Supra previously had an A'PEXi GT Spec exhaust welded  directly to the downpipe.


BrentHuckaby nurgemedia You're very welcome Brent! I just sent you an email a few minutes ago.


shiftyXTI Smiggins simplyraka because it's looked stock I guess


We had to cut the old exhaust because the center pipe and exhaust were welded together. Then we had to measure the length of 4" pipe to the v-band flange on the ARTec exhaust.


Getting our tig on.


The ARTec system is a thing of beauty and sounds amazing.


The finished product.


Start up with the new ARTEC titanium exhaust


greenroadster Thanks


New brakes arrived from "The Brake Man" !


Brakes are being fitted! Check this KW V3's out tho! Greddy Racing is now sponsoring me, the external cooler is awesome!


These are the solid steel two pice units for the 200 plus MPH stops!


ETS 6" Intercooler and the Greddy Racing 16 row oil cooler. Pure car porn!


Some recent photos


The Brake Man Brakes installed!


2016 updates include a new gauge cluster face lift from Stu Hagen's modern but custom OEM'ish TRD look. The Stu updated the HVAC with new buttons a LED lighing. The gauges are also LED back lit with his custom circuit boards to keep the lighting evenly lit and an adjustable tach light that flashes the whole cluster red when you hit the designated RPM.