The trail led to Car Tune Motorsports, a company that specializes in SR20/240 swaps and re-powering the Toyota MR2. Car Tunes is a one-stop shop, providing both the engines and labor. Car Tune made it look easy; it put out feelers and got a hit in about a week. Our trophy prize was a 1995 Toyota Aristo front clip that comes with 2JZ-GTE power. This particular example was backed by an automatic tranny, but the engine was super clean and all- together there.
We've since learned that the JDM automatic shifts crisper and faster than U.S. Supra automatics, so we plan to sell it and recoup some of our $4400 purchase price. It should be noted that the JDM engines we came across inherently had way fewer miles on them compared to motors sourced in the U.S.
The six-speed is the toughest nut to crack for the project. Think about it; all Supras have 2JZs, but only a percentage of these were also backed by a six-speed. Andy C. at HKS turned us on to Dan Phan, who runs rcrew.com Racing in the San Francisco Bay area. Dan says rcrew.com Racing is all about changing the image of the import scene by offering sound advice and fair prices on U.S. and JDM parts and products.
He happened to have a six-speed at his feet when we called. Seriously (or is that SCeriously?). The gearbox had an injured third gear and he planned to have it checked over before zeroing in on a price. The beauty of this deal is Dan uses a Toyota dealership in Whittier, Calif., a 10-minute freeway blast from my house. This would speed pick-up and save on shipping. As of press time no deal had been made.
The nagging little parts that always cause delays in a JDM swap include: wiring harness (we're getting a Supra six-speed harness because the auto Aristo harness won't work), proper relay boxes (part of our clip), oil pan (JDM unit hangs too low, swap to U.S. spec), engine mounts (use U.S. Supra mounts), tranny mounts and driveshaft. For our application, we need a Supra six-speed driveshaft and will have to lengthen it to fit. For those doing the six-speed swap but retaining the SC rear end, the driveshaft will have to be Frankenstein'd to connect to with a Supra yoke at the tranny and an SC yoke at the rear end.
The aforementioned parts are the ingredients needed to transform a Lexus SC300 from a luxury cruiser to street bruiser. We did it for less than $19,000; that's about half the price of a real Supra. True, you get a 100- hp boost right away, but it's the potential of the 2JZ that's the real catalyst for this swap. And it's this potential that we'll explore in the next SCerious installment. We plan to put the pieces together and introduce the hardcore parts that will generate stratospheric streetable power. Stay boosted.
Supra/SC Conversion Cost Breakdown
|1992 SC300/five-speed ||$4000 |
|JDM Aristo clip/auto ||$4400 |
|Supra six-speed trans. ||$1500 (est.) |
|Supra six-speed rearend, driveshaft ||$0 (trade for SC driveline) |
|Supra harness ||$980 |
|Extend driveshaft ||$450 |
|Installation ||$8500 |
|subTotal ||$19,830 |
|Sell Aristo trans. ||-$950 |
|total ||$18,880 |
This is how we did it. The factors with the biggest chance for variation are the price of the car and the price of installation. We got the car at a good price, but were burdened by the automatic tranny that came with our clip. Of course, getting a six-speed clip would solve the tranny issues as well as save money on a wiring harness. Installation price can vary. You may be able to save money by doing some set-up work like removing the stock driveline yourself.