Toyota Supra mkiv

Performance Car
City Eater

Batman may drive the Bat Mobile but Robin gets a much better deal driving this.

This is a N/A 1994 Toyota Supra. I'm telling you that because if you didn't know it, you'd never recognise the radically altered body shell produced by Veilside. In the world of body styling, Veilside is the motoring equivalent of the Hollywood plastic surgeon, coupled with an engine development the equivalent of Arnie's gym.

More often than not, the Japanese manage to hide some of the most formidable machinery on the road, under some of the blandest bodies. This is a boon for the aftermarket industry, and for Veilside.

Little known in this country, the Veilside name is synonymous with big horsepower and over-the-top styling in the mean streets of Tokyo, Bangkok and Jakarta. In these streets 1000 hp beasts with the Veilside name on the side regularly roam the roads. The once characterless and often flawed styling of the original cars from Nissan, Toyota, Mazda and even Porsche all come in for attention at Veilside. The results as you can see, are visually stunning.

This car started life as a bog-standard Supra until the owner got sick of his expensive ride looking like all the others, since Auckland became increasingly populated with imports. The solution: a full house Veilside body kit and the first stages of the engine development. The Veilside kit was not inexpensive, NZ $11,000 list price unpainted - about the same as a late model FX GT. The 18" wheels also from Veilside, were another NZ $10,000 and the P Zero tyres were close to a grand each. On top of that came the paint and fitting. End result: not much change from NZ $30,000 and the engine work has not yet begun.

Go to match the looks

Now that it looked like it would eat your grandmother, it had to be backed up with some extra go. The engine work has just begun and so far consists of a massive HKS stainless pipe and two big bottles of Nitreous Oxide in the boot. It looks so impressive opening up the hatch, that I would be tempted to leave the tints off and let the display of go-gas frighten off the local try-hards.

In the final evolution the motor will have the ball-breaking 750 hp Veilside engine system, which promises to break traction at 250 km/h plus on the strip. Veilside provides the new turbos, cams, pistons, intercooler and pop-off valves as part of the package and supplies the engine builder with all the necessary info to prime the grenade. Yum yum, can't wait for a drive in it, then!.

With the mods so far, it is respectively quick, but not shatteringly fast. Off the line the pickup is sedate and the pipe feels like its hindering, rather then helping the situation. With the bore of a drain pipe, it flows well at the top end, but doesn't aid the gas on it way so much at low revs. Once up into the mid range though, the car really starts to come on song - and what a song it is. The HKS exhaust deserves a grammy award for the music it provides as the tacho sweeps past the 7000 rpm mark and ignites the shift light. Forget the zillion dollar stereo - the sound of the engine bouncing off the motorway barriers is far more evocative.

The car weighs a lot as standard and although the body kit is lighter than original, it is still no lightweight in the beef stakes. This hinders the outright acceleration out of corners, but as a trade-off, it feels like a rock in the wind, stability-wise. Hard thrashing is difficult because of the tall gearing and the massive body. It sits over the road, rather than on the road, in a state of defiance. In the right gear and in the right palce in the rev range, its a fun car to drive, but punch the throttle hard and by the time you're in the fun zone,, the speed ahs reached instant loss of license level.

The front spoiler is also more than a little hinderance. there is no doubt that it helps make the car look as mean as it does, but it is also very low. Average New Zealand roads are not the place to use such a vunerable piece of equipment. Every time I went over the slightest bump, I cringed in anticipation of the sound of shattering fiberglass.

Grip from the massive top of the line Pirelli P Zero's is great, and aided by the body weight, the cornering has a sort of isingle-seater feel. With little body roll courtesy of the beefed up suspension and the grip of Samson, the now under-powered chassis never even flinches mid-bend. Enter a corner and lean on the wheel, is all thats required to make a change of direction.

Ploughing on regardless

Feedback from the road is minimal, but with such grip you almost assume that everything is OK and just plough on regardless. Mid-corner braking makes the nose dip slightly and it tightens line without protest. This may change at real speed, as there is a distant feeling of understeer lurking deep in the handling department. This is not a problem at road speed but above that the lack of power (excellent chassis-Ed) makes it a little unnerving. The ability to use grunt to save a trip off into the other lane would be nice.

From a standing start there is no hint of wheel spin, or any dramatics to make you think the car is picking up speed. The engine revs freely but unimpressively and has no sense of urgency in the way it leaps into life. It feels surprisingly like standing on top of a power station turbine and feeling the power wind out from beneath. With the windows up and the exhaust note out of earshot, the rest of the world may as well not exist and you feel almost distant from the driving experience. Wind the glass down and you're back in the real world.

With an extra 450 hp on board and the Veilside transformation complete, it will be a totally different animal. Power oversteer at will always adds a certain air of fun to any car, oversteer at 250 km/h plus seems sure to give enough fun to leave deposits in the pants! I look forward to driving it after the next stage of engine development. In the meantime the stares from stunned onlookers give almost enough of a buzz to overcome the current lack of engine excitement.

Shortblock and Fair

A short note on the owner is appropriate here. Fair, as his mates call him is a true rev-head and should be thanked for lending us his toy. He even has his own car club that goes by the name of "Shortblock" and they possess some pretty fancy gear, so the next time you see Shortblock in the rear view, watch out.

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Last modified on Monday, April 24, 2000