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Old 06-28-2009, 04:50 PM
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Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Default StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

Chuck and I were standing in the summer heat of central Florida. It was over 90 degrees. His Toyota Supra sat in front of us. We were in the parking lot of a church.



It was quiet. I'd just finished taking pictures. We were miles from the city. This was true, rural, Florida. The roads here seemed to go on for miles with no turns or noticeable features. In the distance you could only see the blurry outline of where the road went. It's something like what you'd think the Midwest might be like, except its in Florida so it's green. There were only a few houses around, and their driveways were all strangely paved short of the road. And the road seemed to travel to nowhere, being separated from farmland by expansive stretches of grass.

In other words, it was the perfect road to see what a built Mark IV Supra could do.



And out of nowhere Chuck offered me the keys.

!

NO, thank you, though.

Unphased, he re-offered them. Again, No -really, thanks! I'm good man.

But he insisted, and pushed the keys on me without me even taking them. He then quickly took a step back.

Now I was stuck. I had the keys. I didn't want to insult him and decline the offer. But, at the same time,I really didn't feel comfortable. But Chuck was already moving toward the passenger side, leaving me standing outside the back of the Supra, keys in hand, empty road ahead.

And this wasn't any Supra. It had been blessed by Titan and BoostLogic. It's the real deal.



It was the most powerful car I'd ever attempted to drive. I had no idea what to expect when I opened the door and slid into the leather factory seats. The gauges were all clear and clean, with the tachometer straight ahead and the speedometer on the right.





I inserted the key into the ignition and twisted it to its second position. The car's engine support systems came alive. I could feel, and hear, everything required to flow massive amounts of fuel into the 2JZ-GTE hum , whir and whine into life. The fuel system alone left the cabin sounding like the interior of a small turboprop aircraft.



It was time for ignition. I held the second twist as the systems began cranking the beast to life. Moments later the engine started... and died. Add a little gas, Chuck suggested. I tried again, twisting the ignition. The motor started to catch and I presssed the pedal to what I thought was 1/4 of the way. The engine sprung to life immediately, RPMs shooting up past 3,000 with haste. I was surprised, instinctively letting off the gas. The RPMs dropped and settled back to idle.

It was time to set off. The car was in neutral. I slid it into first and tried to ease out the clutch slowly. The car stalled...

It was taking me a minute to learn how to control this powertrain. On our drive out, Chuck had made it look fairly easy. But he was accustomed to it. In reality, it was a transmission built to reliably handle more power than I'd ever felt in my life. So I was trying to learn as I went, what the car responds well to, and what it doesn't.

But still, I hadn't gotten the smooth start I was looking for. I tried again, starting the car and slowly easing off the clutch. Chuck said to take it slow, and to give a little gas. It was a single disc clutch he explained. I wasn't listening to the specs very closely though, I was just trying to get the car on the road. Once again I tried and once again it died. I was trying to learn as quickly as I could and so far, all I'd learned was that the clutch engages sharply.

On the third attempt, I gave it some gas. Long story short, I again failed. The next lesson? The first 1" of pedal travel is enough to send the RPMs upward by the hundreds. Instantly. Chuck said it was because of the size of the throttle body. In my head I envisioned the massive turbo that was sitting under the hood- almost the same size as the motor itself- and its piping into the engine head. I started to think that maybe the 2JZ was really built to support the turbo, and not the other way around. Maybe this was why I was having trouble?



Chuck however, was confident I'd figure it out. He explained that all the high clamping force clutches were different and all felt different. He also commented that every so often even he stalled it. I appreciated the vote of confidence he was trying to give, but in this condition, controlling a powertrain of this type, I felt like I was an F-22 pilot trying to control an SR-71. And I was still on the steep end of the learning curve. I told him I'd try once more. Clutch fully in, I twisted the ignition, commanding the 2JZ to come to life. I then let out the clutch super slowly anticipating the instant grab point and simultaneously gave a few millimeters of extra gas pedal.

It worked. It was enough to set us off at a few miles an hour, which felt like a big accomplishment. We pulled onto the main road and away we went.

On the wrong side of the road.

In all my focus on the machine, my brain had set all other variables to default.

It didn't matter though, it was just us out there. Quick lane change and we were set. I was driving the fastest car I'd ever been in. At a god almighty pace of 40 miles per hour.




In the few minutes I'd been at the controls to that point, the car had left a massive impression on me. It was nothing like what I'd expected. The throttle, I was realizing, was super sensitive for the first inch or so, especially with the clutch in. Clutch out, it was still responsive for the first moments but quickly settled down into a muted response where more gas equated to more rpms, but not at an unreasonable rate. From 10% throttle, it was roughly what I expected such a Supra would be like... up to 5,000rpm.

I was driving for a mile or so at this ridiculously slow pace, until an 18 wheeler used the lane for opposing traffic to pass us. Oh. Maybe I was going to slow. I picked up the pace to 55ish, proud to be in control as we made our way toward nowhere.

I took some time to feel out the car. I shifted up and down several times. I tried to put the drivetrain in terms I could understand, attempting to rev match downshifts and using this to understand how the clutch and transmission felt when everything was in motion. Coming from my benchmark of a manual transmission, the S2000, the Supra's transmission is not bad at all, considering the sheer power it's built to handle. Shifts are positive, clear and concise. The throttle, feeling very mechanical, was easy to deploy. In combination with the heavy clutch, rev matching was challenging at first, but I could tell that it wasn't too difficult to learn to get right, at least at low rpms.

The steering feel of the car was surprisingly good. It was fairly direct and easy to point and get around. Obviously it's not a car setup to conquer corners flat out. But, it doesn't feel inept either. It's easy to direct around, and at the same time it's about what you would imagine the handling to be like for a proper modern GT car, if not a bit better, all things considered.

It was also supremely comfortable. The ride quality was such that you could drive this car hundreds if not thousands of miles without blinking. The suspension, still factory, soaked up tiny irregularities without a problem while at the same time transmitting a broad image of what the road was like. In the few turns that I made, the car felt surprisingly good.

Then, just as I was starting to feel like I was starting to understand the feel of the car and transmission and supporting drivetrain setup, Chuck said that I should take it through second gear, and feel what it could do.

Second gear? Chuck had mentioned the car was tuned down and still getting tweaked but even still, was running upwards 850 horsepower. To the ground. In my head I was already running the #s - in second gear on any car, torque multiplication is very high. That's what a low gear is about. We're talking about thousands of pound-feet because of the gear multiplication factor. All of this would mean that second gear would run out fast. It also meant that traction could possibly, no probably, be a concern. Wide open in second gear? You sure about that? I asked myself.

But Chuck, being Chuck, said it wasn't a problem. Second gear would be fine he said. The BFG Drag Radials WILL hook.



Second, he insisted, would be fine.

Second? As opposed to what, I wondered? First? That would be insane! Or was he referring to third? Which would have more traction.. but at even more speed? Either way, going flat out starting from second seemed like a particularly crazy idea and not something I was completely comfortable doing...



But here I was in an 850 horsepower Supra, with a road to myself. An F-22 pilot strapped into an SR-71. And Chuck was insisting I discover the experience. OK then, lets do this. I began to mentally prepare myself. Then I started to slow the car... bringing it down to 30, attempting to rev match the transmission into second, which I did passingly well. I then held the throttle steady....

And buried my right foot into the floor.

For the subsequent few moments the RPMs began to rise at quick pace. That much, I was ready for.... the acceleration was fully manageable. It did not suck me back like the GT-R. I started to think, "this isn't bad at all" But I knew nothing had happened yet. I was bracing for the explosion.

Then the centermost needle started to swing through the 5 label. In moments I was hearing the turbine spool as the G forces rose until BAM.

We were gone.

The supra leaped forward in a massive display of strength and speed. The 2JZ-GTE was screaming like an insane, wild banshee on crack. It was the kind of speed that makes you forget, for a moment, where you are or how fast you're going. Your brain automatically switches from a normal coordinate system, where you know where you are and where you're going to, to some kind of differential coordinate system, where all you really know is the direction you're headed and the fact that you're going there really really fast. You neither know where you are at the moment, nor where you'll be in any particular moment in the future... nor even how fast you're going or accelerating. All you know is you're going where the nose is pointed, and you're going there really f-cking fast.

All of this, in only a second or two, as the needle swung straight upward. I shifted.

Wow. I was wide eyed.

The experience couldn't really be understood by longitudinal G-force, nor could it fully be expressed by numbers. Not today, not with the only frame of reference being liter bikes (slower) and ZR1s (much slower).

Chuck would drive again, demonstrating the depth of the speed to me. The acceleration seemed more impressive each time it was demoed. It never, ever seemed to let up. The acceleration forces just don't want to end as speeds increase. It's deceptive because you think that due to the powerband and shifting, maybe it wont push that hard come the shift... but then you find yourself very wrong milliseconds later when the throttle is reapplied. If anything it seems even more impressive as speeds climb. 25, 75, 125? doesn't matter. The car will pull the same. I can't see the acceleration becoming near sane anywhere shy of 150. At least.

We made our way back to where we first met up.



Later that day, I hit the road again, a new driver. I never knew NASA built a white SR-71. It was a different aircraft for a different mission than I'm accustomed to, but it was something I could feel. It made abundantly clear what the 2JZ-GTE is capable of. It was revealed to me what speed is and what speed feels like. It's violent. It's merciless. It's dangerous. It's amazing. But of everything, it was most of all extremely awesome.
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Old 06-28-2009, 04:51 PM
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Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Old 06-28-2009, 05:02 PM
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Tekknikal Tekknikal is offline
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Old 06-28-2009, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

That has to be the most BAD ASS Supra I've ever seen. Holy Frack. That was an amazing ride!
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Old 06-28-2009, 07:57 PM
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LiL chino LiL chino is offline
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

Ey wathca ya dis is something i would love to ride in i llove speed and it sound good to dont worry one of these days dis lil chino
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

it is something about white supra's that makes then look so serious dread. nice write up tekk! i got goosebumps reading this post bro! Chuck c big up to you dread that car is a dream dread, and on top of that 15th anniversary too
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:53 PM
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cruzan7m cruzan7m is offline
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

^^^ Tekk you experienced something i have only dreamt of, i envy you dread....lol
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:03 PM
M.C.Williams M.C.Williams is offline
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

That is one beautiful machine. About the story you should be an editor for Road and track

Last edited by M.C.Williams; 06-28-2009 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

Great writeup Tekk! Really cool to read other people's impressions of the Supra. Your welcome to come over and take it for a spin anytime you want.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:20 PM
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3tc power 3tc power is offline
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Default Re: StreetSeen in Orlando | Chuck's Supra

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_H View Post
Great writeup Tekk! Really cool to read other people's impressions of the Supra. Your welcome to come over and take it for a spin anytime you want.
i will hold you to that comment Chuck! i'm only a hop and skip away
but all jokes aside, that car is a serious machine.
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Last edited by 3tc power; 06-29-2009 at 02:01 AM.
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