Whilst the all-new Toyota Supra is a very good-looking sports coupe, the raw tunability, power and soft shaped design of the legendary A80 has only been replicated by the Nissan R35 GT-R.
The rear-wheel-drive A80 Supra is a popular car among the tuner crowd as it is well known for being one of the cheapest ways to get into a 1000 bhp car, sure the stock car produces around 330 bhp, but the standard internals are good for 700 bhp and then, with a big single turbo and some fuel modifications, 1000 bhp is within reach.
The replacement A90 Supra was designed in partnership with BMW so whilst it has an all-new aggressive body, its internals are mostly based on the Z4 and the BMW 3 liter is good for about 385 bhp. Whilst this sounds like a better base than the 2JZ fitted to the A80, it is actually only possible to squeeze approximately another 100hp out of this BMW engine.
The Nissan GT-R however, is different. Originally the successor to the old R34 Skyline GT-R (which competed directly against the A80) it has been out for 12 years now and the recipe is relatively unchanged with a 480hp 3.8 liter 6-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and 4 wheel drive.
On the surface, with the power and drivetrain differences, these cars don’t seem very similar at all, but when you start to tune these beasts, their value and supercar humbling levels of power draw distinct parallels between the two.
Whilst subjective, there are similarities that can be seen with these cars, there is a distinct roundness to the styling of the A80 Supra and it is done in a sleek fashion which makes the car seem dwarfed by modern standards.
In comparison, the Nissan GT-R looks like a monster, but in looking at its predecessor the R34, the R35 GT-R is a more bulbous and round shape begging the question to be asked, did Nissan feel they needed to draw some influence from the legendary Supra to make their car more appealing to the modern market?
The Supra’s design looks far less bloated in comparison and a lot of that is to do with the fact the early 90’s design is completely unhindered by modern safety standards meaning it could have a lower, steeper bonnet line, evoking a more sporty look and better flowing lines.
In terms of performance, at stock there is no comparison, with the extra 150 bhp and a highly sophisticated AWD system with launch control, the GT-R gets to 60mph in a staggering 2.9 seconds (that’s hypercar territory!). The RWD A80 Supra meanwhile will take around 2 seconds extra to hit that milestone.
Both of these cars are immensely tuneable however and this is where the real possibilities come, pushing these machines to the max! In the Supra uprating the standard cams, installing a custom ecu, and using wider opening fuel injectors alongside a single big turbo to replace the original twin-turbo setup, it is possible to remap a 2JZ engine to well in excess of 1000 bhp, although at this point forged internals are also worth looking into as well, because whilst the 2JZ is a very durable powerplant, even it has its limits of 700 bhp or so.
Once these ridiculous figures are reached that 20+-year-old chassis and braking system will need some love too, 6 pot brakes like those from AP racing are a necessity to bring you down from stratospheric speeds safely alongside a set of racing coilovers to keep the car rigid on the road. Another option is to widen the arches and fit some bigger semi-slick racing tyres for ample traction as 1000 bhp and rear-wheel drive is a recipe for wheelspin. Despite its hindrances, it is still perfect for performing highway pulls.
Achieving 700+hp is again easy enough on a standard GT-R engine, Lichfield tuning will remap or replace the ecu and fettle with turbos, fuelling, and exhaust systems to get to this figure, but for the crazy among us, there are a couple of package options to achieve four-figure horsepower. All these options run with a similar concept, use a custom-built GT-R engine with forged internals and a new, more robust gearset.
The GT-R is more capable of handling this power, however, thanks to its advanced AWD system, and it is quoted that a 750 bhp GT-R is capable of out-accelerating a Veyron with 0-100mph coming in at just 5.65 seconds! It’s a truly devastating car in a supercars drag race.
Whilst these cars are about a decade apart, prices are astonishingly close to each other at around £25,000-£30,000 ($34,000-$40,500) for a manual Supra (automatics are much cheaper but are not as desirable for obvious reasons) and a starting price of £30,000 ($40,500) will allow you to search for an early GT-R.
Of course, by the time these cars are tuned the cost is slightly different, £14,000 ($19,000) of upgrades will be needed to take the R35 to 750 bhp and it’s an eye-watering £50,000 ($67,500) to get to 1000 bhp with a custom Lichfield engine.
As for the Supra, there are reports across the pond of $35,000 needed to be spent to get the car up to a place where it could handle 1000 bhp and it can take more than that depending on which tuning route you take.
Whilst expensive let’s look at this in context, for £45,000-£80,000 ($60,700-$108,000) you will have a car that can outperform the iconic Bugatti Veyron that is worth more than 10 times as much. Hypercar performance from a sports coupe!
Sources: EVO, Fastcar, Torquecars, Caranddriver, Lichfieldmotors, Youtube
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