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 |   |  Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!
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Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

Giving the '80s-era sportscar a potent single-turbo makeover

Rodrez
Oct 3, 2020
Photographer: Patrick Lauder

Based on the number of Toyota Supra features and specific events that we cover (not to mention the release and extended coverage of the A90 MK5 model), it's safe to say the Super Street Network has a thing for the long-running, recently reestablished RWD sportscar, but what we don't see often are pre-Mk4 model feature cars like this 1985 Celica Supra P-Type. You could probably even bank on the fact that many younger generation enthusiasts have no idea the Supra family extends all the way back to late '70s.

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Driver Side Front View Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

Lust at First Sight

Evan Poole took a liking to the Supra early on, right alongside Toyota's AE86. "I lived in Virginia Beach, where there is a large Filipino community from the Navy base, and I would see these cars around in the late '90s." In '97, Evan's service in the Air Force sent him to Oklahoma; "B.F.E. Oklahoma, at that." Almost immediately, he took notice of an '85 Supra that a pilot he worked with was scooting the base in. "It was Maroon Metallic (brown to some people), not a common color. It was immaculate. I would always see him and his wife in it and I would always talk to him about it, and we'd shoot the stuff about Toyotas. He loved that car. He'd got it after graduating the USAF Academy."

For a few years, Evan drooled over the spotless, mid-'80s Supra, but in reality wasn't anywhere near being able to afford one of his own. In the late '90s, they were fetching $12-15K, and as an E-3 service member at just 21 years old at that time, it wasn't in the cards. He began a search for a more affordable AE86, but his timing couldn't have been any worse, as the hype of Initial D and the incoming drift movement put a heavy tax on even the most distraught examples, with people in the Dallas Ft. Worth area demanding $6-10K. Back to reality, Evan pulled back and made do with his '90 Accord.

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Front Seats Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

Opportunity Comes Knockin'

An opportunity for Evan came about in 2000, the sort of opportunity that rarely, if ever, comes along and one that you don't waste time thinking about—you take action. "In the summer I noticed the Supra was sitting in the parking lot of the squadron I was in for months and hadn't moved. I asked around and was told the pilot was stationed out of the country and couldn't take his car, so he was going to leave it and deal with it when had time." Evan emailed him right away, not to try to buy the car, but rather to offer a helping hand and told the pilot that he'd be more than willing to help care for the car in his absence, even offering to keep it secured in storage until he got back. The pilot wasn't at all interested and instead told Evan that he would sell him the car if he wanted. "I went silent. I was in disbelief, and I stuttered 'Sure, I would love to buy your car sir, but I can't afford it." The pilot was well aware of his financial status and he threw out a number that absolutely floored Evan. "I know how much you enjoy the car and I would love for you to have it—I know you'll take good care of it. How does $750 sound?"

You Need More Supra in Your Life:
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1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Pillar Badge Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

An Act of Kindness

A mid-'80s Celica Supra in mint condition at that time was still fetching five figures and this was a once in a lifetime thing, but admittedly, even that price was out of reach for Evan and his current pay at that time. That didn't matter, as the pilot told him he could just make payments and that's exactly what Evan did, like clockwork, month after month sending him money orders for $100 each as his tight budget barely allowed. As promised, the consecutive payments didn't stop until the car was paid off. That was 20 years ago, and today the car remains in excellent condition. Everything still works as it should, it's never been in an accident and never seen a spec of rust, though, it didn't remain completely stock over all of those years.

In 2010, Evan returned home from his second tour in Afghanistan, and having put away some money he decided it was time to get the car repainted in its original unique color, being that the California sun caused some clearcoat fading and peeling. A full body-off respray revitalized the 25-year-old paint before his attention was turned toward completely updating the suspension. He adds, "I did some research and cross-referenced part numbers, spent time on forums and figured out how to build my own front coilover system using Ground Control adjustable springs/sleeves with KYB gas inserts from a Ford Focus RS. The rear springs came from a company in New Zealand." New control arms and pillow ball upper mounts joined a set of sway bars to complete the handling makeover.

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type 2JZ GTE Swap Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

Treat Yo' Self

Just a few years later, in 2013, a third tour in Afghanistan provided sufficient funds to make the biggest upgrade to the build. "I always loved the Mk4 Supra but have a real soft spot for the boxy Mk2. I figured what the hell, let's put a 2J in my car. I'd been wanting to do it since the mid-2000s and I figured if I made it back alive, this was going to be my present to myself." While on tour, Evan did his research on the swap and its parts, as well as which wheels he'd be using, and as the return home grew closer, he began sourcing those parts.

Once stateside, Evan found a shop in the Bay Area whose owner assured him they could make the build happen. The engine and associated parts were dropped off with the car and, over time, more parts ordered to help make the swap a reality. Things were going smoothly, but along the way a few issues arose and tested Evan's patience. "The owner did a great job assisting me with the whole build process and working with me to get the goals I wanted. However, I had setback after setback with the shop's foreman and it was frustrating." The shop owner wanted to make Evan happy and help him see his vision through, so he brought the car to Alex at Limitless Motorsports—but didn't just send him on his way, he also spent some late nights at the new shop with Alex to help complete the build.

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Garrett Turbo Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

In 2016, after almost three years of progress, Evan finally got to drive his 2JZ-powered Celica Supra. Alex provided a base map to get the car on the road, but in order to fully dial it in properly, he recommended taking the car to Lawrence Shipman, a well-respected 2JZ tuning guru in Santa Rosa who would not only provide the tuning aspect but also fabricate some additional pieces for the build. On the rollers, the completed tune on the single GTX3582R turbo-converted swap produced 430whp on pump gas, with 500hp available on race gas—more than enough to keep Evan happy.

Too Much Is Never Enough

About a year after the initial tuning, Evan brought the car back to Lawrence with some additional upgrades that called for a new set of maps. "That's when numbers really got wild—upwards of 530whp on pump, 610whp on race and that wasn't even maxing out the turbo or the amount of boost. Lawrence is a mastermind on these 2JZ tunes and builds." Achieving such a big jump in power was the result of a Supertech-enhanced valvetrain and Kelford T202-C cams, as well as a more tuning. You've seen these engines make over 1,000hp and it's almost become commonplace, but this is a street car and as Evan notes, "I have lots of room left with my turbo but with a car that weighs less than 3,000 lbs., it can get a bit scary."

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type RS Watanabe Wheel Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

The outside of the Mk2 has remained relatively stock over that chunk of time. The RS Watanabe wheels that he fell in love with during that third tour in Afghanistan remain, and in fact, he has a set of R Type and a set of magnesium to choose from. Inside, there's no race buckets or complex roll cage tubing to contend with, and plopping down into one of the original, 35-year-old seats is a time travel experience.

Final Touches

Some of the more recent updates to the swap include a Sharp Customs one-piece intake manifold, a completely reworked fuel system, improved cooling and overall lower engine temps. The changes came as a result of working with a local Sacramento builder at the suggestion of Lawrence. "Since Lawrence moved out of California and going to the Bay Area to get my car worked on was a bit much, having a great builder in Sacramento really helped. So now he takes my car in when I need things done to it."

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Pasenger Side Front View 01 Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!

The dust, dirt and occasional bump or bruise that you'd expect to find on a dedicated street car is certainly there, but you'd be hard pressed to find too many other MKII Celica Supras in the sort of condition that Evan's car is—especially when you consider that he bought it for a cool $750!

With over two decades spent with his '80s icon that now makes more than three times the power Toyota had ever intended for the chassis, what's Evan's next move? "I'm considering going to an E-85 setup and I'm currently developing a front air diffuser to mount to the car as I want to start competing in the Never Lift Drag/Race events in SoCal. Overall this car has been a part of my life for 20 years and I plan on keeping it forever and passing this down to my kids."

1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Taillights Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!
1985 Toyota Celica Supra P Type Pasenger Side Front View 02 Photo 25/25   |   Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!
By Rodrez
919 Articles
Classic 1985 MKII Toyota Celica Supra P-Type Packs A Modernized 2JZ-GTE Punch!
Tuning Menu
Car: 1985 Toyota Celica Supra P-Type
Owner: Evan Poole
Instagram: @tokenblkguy78
Engine: 2JZ-GTE; Drift Motion engine mounts; Garrett gTX3582R twin scroll turbo; Kelford T202-C cams; Supertech SPRK TS1015 valvesprings, GCS; Sharp Customs 1-piece intake manifold, 90mm throttle body, 2JZ fuel rail; HKS Bosch 1,000cc injectors; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; AEM fuel pressure regulator; JDL Design T4 divided exhaust manifold w/dual wastegate ports; 2JZ short exhaust studs; TiAL 38mm V-band wastegates w/dump tubes x2; GReddy Type FV blow-off valve; custom 3.5-in. downpipe w/full 3.5-in. v-banded exhaust; Apexi N1 Evolution R-muffler; LS Fabrication custom catch can/dual-breathing system; Koyorad MK3 Supra aluminum radiator; Mishimoto R-Line intercooler
Electronics: AEM Infinity 6 ECU w/flying leads harness kit, IAT sensor, 4100 Tru boost controller, gauges; MDS tach adapter
Drivetrain: Toyota Soarer R154 transmission; ACT PL Xtreme pressure plate, custom T014 ACT spring disk; Driftmotion upgraded R-154 clutch slave cylinder, pulley kit; MK4 Supra V160 lightened flywheel; custom 3.5-in. 1-piece diveshaft; Trutrac LSD; Redline differential and trans fluids
Suspension: Ground Control coilovers; KYB adjustable shocks; Cusco pillow ball upper mounts; MA60 Cusco shock tower bar; Techno Toy Tuning RCAs, LCAs, camber plate upper hats; Whiteline front/rear swaybars; Dobsinon rear sport springs; Superpro poly subframe bushings
Braking: Toyota T100 brake master cylinder; Garage Stat BBK, Stoptech ST-42 4-piston floating calipers, 2-pc. pillar vane slotted floating rotors, race pads; Goodridge stainless steel brake lines front/rear; Super ATE Dot 4 amber fluid
Wheels & Tires: 15x8.5 -6 front, 15x9.5 -19 rear RS Watanabe R-Type wheels; 215/50 front, 245/45 rear Achilles ATR-K sport tires; 15x8.5 -6 front, 15x9.5 -19 RS Watanabe Magnesium wheels; 225/50 front, 245/45 rear Achilles ATR-K sport tires; RS Watanabe valve stems; titanium lug nuts; ARP wheel studs
Exterior: Factory Toyota maroon metallic respray; Raybrig Racing headlights; MK3 Supra yellow fog light mod
Interior: TOMS Racing steering wheel; Nostalgic grains wooden Celica shifter; Kenwood KRC-301 cassette deck, 10-disc CD changer
Thank You: I want to thank first and foremost my fiance Joy and my kids. She has stood beside me and supported me since the beginning of this build. Countless JCCS trips, shop visits with me, and emergency funding of parts when I needed help. I owe as much of this build credit to you for sticking it out with me. My kids have spent many of days washing Daddy's car and helping turn wrenches when I needed a spare hand. Shout-out to: Norman T.@ N1Concepts for starting this build with me, appreciate the friendship we built despite some of the road blocks we both faced. Alex @ Limitless Motorsports for helping us complete this endeavor and always being a stand-up builder. Lawrence @ LSFabrication for the countless hrs. tuning and dialing in this beast and coming to my aid when I needed it. Mo K. @ Ava Dynamics for stepping up and helping the NorCal Supra community and especially the continued fabrication and build work and taking care of me and my car like it was your own. Kiyo Enari for helping me source RS-Watanabe wheels back in 2013, via just meeting online and making the whole purchase solid. George @ Raptor Racing for suspension bits and continues support for the Celica Supra Community, Kenjo @ Garagestar for sponsoring the BBK setup and continued wheel and build support. Henry@ Motorsports Dynamics for continued 2JZ parts support and assistance on my build. Tom@ Secret Factory USA for my 2nd Set of Magnesium Watanabe wheels. Matt@GummyGrip for all my tire needs. Big ups to Pat L.@ Superstreet for introducing himself to me at a Bay Area Japanese Classics meet and putting together this feature. I really appreciate the time you took out of your weekend to meet with me for the photoshoot. And lastly to the rest of the MK2 Supra community for all the great collaborations and conversations on how to "Save the Dragons".

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