Over the years Turbo has been at the forefront of covering high-powered MK IV Supras. The epitome of performance was Ken Henderson's now 1,100-plus-wheel hp twin-turbo monster. Many MK III owners feel they've been left out in the cold. One such owner is Manny Akim of Queens Village, N.Y. Manny approached us and wanted to know if we would be interested in photographing his 1989 MA70 Supra Turbo.
First impressions are always important and Manny's Supra definitely made a memorable one. The red targa is immaculate, right down to the flawless paint job. Manny tells us that though the car looks great now, there were plenty of ups and downs during the transformation.
Like many project cars, the MA70 started out as a daily driver equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission. After purchasing the ride, Manny quickly tossed aside the stock wheels, outfitting the MK III with a set of 18-inch Volk GTCs. After a month of ownership Manny got bad news. His mechanic diagnosed the 7MGTE engine with a blown head gasket. Not wanting to part with his MK III he forked over the money to perform a quick rebuild using an HKS 1.2mm metal head gasket and ARP head studs.
With the 1,200-mile break-in behind him, Manny added some performance upgrades to help cure his need for speed. A Spearco front-mount intercooler, HKS EVC II, A'PEXi GT-spec exhaust, Random Technology downpipe and catalytic converter would make their way onto his ride.
Unfortunately, his cure for speed would be short-lived. On his maiden pass at 15 psi, the stock C26 turbocharger took a dump. Luckily, Manny sourced a low-mile stock JDM CT26 turbocharger from CT Crew. Manny was running high once again.
Unfortunately, his thirst for speed wasn't quenched and a month later the CT26 was sent to Majestic Turbo for a 60-1 upgrade. With the newly revised turbo on board, the Supra generated 331 hp to the wheels at 18 psi.
While cruising down the New Jersey Turnpike the Supra took a turn for the worst. While he had the pedal to the metal, Manny heard an ominous "pop." Hoping for the best, like it was only a blown-out intercooler pipe, he opened the hood. It was not to be. He saw oil all over the BOV and passenger side fender well. He hobbled the car home. The next day it was towed to SPI and there the crew diagnosed a melted number five piston.
Instead of swapping in another stock MA70, Manny got serious and invested in a bulletproof engine. SPI rebuilt the bottom end with a set of .040 over 8.0:1 compression JE pistons hung with Crower rods. The entire rotating assembly was balanced and blueprinted.
The bottom end was rebuilt with all new bearings and seals. The top end was freshened with new seals and a three-angle valve job. The two halves were sealed together using a 2.0mm HKS metal head gasket and ARP head studs.
To fully realize the performance potential of the engine Manny reached into his bank account once again and purchased an SP63 turbo kit capable of producing enough airflow for up to 550 hp.