The world's fastest Toyota Supra is for sale
The Japanese car scene produced a myriad of infamous, modified supercars in the 1990s. Amongst these enthusiasts was Top Secret, a tuning shop famous for creating the world's fastest Toyota Supra, which is now going up for auction in Japan.
Built for Top Shop's owner, 'Smokey' Nagata, this Toyota Supra is the only one powered by a V12 engine giving her over 900bhp. Amongst other feats, it also holds the record for highest speed on a British public road, going over 317 km/h on the A1 motorway.
This rather concerning record was achieved by Nagata himself in the Midlands in the United Kingdom at around 4 AM during the early 2000s. Following the incident, the car was arrested by local authorities and deported. In fact, Nagata was pulled over and arrested seconds after achieving this speed stat. He later claimed he was aiming for 200mph but feel slightly short due to rain on that day.
After reportedly going after a similar record in New Zealand, Nagata finally decided to rather pursue his quest for speed on the tracks. On the Nardo Ring in Italy, Nagata reached a top speed of 357 km/h. Once again, the ambitious Japanese street racer said he fell slightly short of his target for 400 km/h.
A popular car built by Toyota, the Japanese car manufacturer, from 1978 to 2002, the Supra earned a strong reputation amongst the racing community, notably by appearing in franchises such as Gran Turismo, Need for Speed and Fast and Furious movies.
What makes this particular Toyota Supra impressive is the fact that a regular model came in with a base output of just 220hp, whereas Nagata's modified version has an engine of over 900bhp. Under normal conditions, it also can't go past 240 km/h, nearly half less than the top speed of the car now up for auction.
To achieve this increase in performance, Top Secret replaced the Supra's original engine with a Toyota V12 engine retrofitted from the manufacturer's only luxury sedan, the Toyota Century. On top of this, the tuning shop added two turbochargers, a nitrous oxide system for short accelerations and a six speed manual transmission. Its total output was estimated at 930bhp, triple the regular one found in a Supra.
According to BH Auction, the company in charge of selling the street racing car, the estimate to start the bidding will be anywhere between €1 million and €1,5 million, however the final price could go well over in a bidding war. Their website does however indicate that the car will only be able to be used on a track and not licensed for the road.
Nagata, who still owns the car to this day, however guarantees that it is still able to reach the speeds it was once famous for achieving. In fact, in 2008, Nagata achieved a top speed of 358.22 km/h on the famous Italian race track of Nardo. At the time the speed was registered, the car was in sixth gear and at 7300 rpm.
In addition to having tuned out the engine in order to reach the top speeds the car is famous for, Nagata also redesigned the car's exterior look. Its front was widened in order to accommodate for larger tires and its headlights were also modified to provide for a sleeker look. To many, this is the racing supercar that Toyota should be selling, but doesn't.
Despite its high estimate and development costs, the interior of this unique Toyota Supra is very much functional and meant for race drivers rather than comfort and use. It features a racing-grade steering wheel and Sparco seats, not found in regular, production vehicles.
The car's controls and layout are also very much meant for a (street) racing application. Buttons to control every aspect of the cars functioning, including its No2 system are laid out all around the wheel for quick access. A frame was also reinforced all around the Supra to try and protect from strong hits in the Supra.
A Japanese automobile tuner and parts manufacturer, Top Secret was founded by Nagata in Chiba City, Japan. The company is most infamous for its illegal high speed runs, street racing and professional drifting activities. A regular exhibitor at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the company introduced a tuned version of the R35 Nissan GT-R there this year.
The Toyota Supra's golden paint scheme, in fact, comes from an internal scoring system that Top Secret operates with the cars than it makes. Each time that one of its cars performs well and achieves something spectacular, it gains tuning points, which eventually let it get repainted into another colour scheme, gold being the highest level. Cars start off as white.
Born in Hokkaido, a Northern province of Japan, Nagata's parents were farmers. At a relatively early age, he became interested in automobiles, going to work as a mechanic at a local Toyota dealership, where Nagata first began modifying cars and street racing.
Shortly after, Nagata moved to Tokyo and became a shop assistant for Trust, a local tuning company. During his career there, Nagata stayed after hours to work on his own parts. When company executives found out, they advised Nagata to keep his activities top secret instead of firing him. This ultimately inspired the name of his company.
Relatively secretive to this day, Nagata's shop remains one of the most active in street car tuning. During the 1990s, Nagata was thought to be a member of the Mid Night Club, a street racing association that hosted illegal, top speed themed races on the Bayshore Route, between Tokyo and Yokohama.
The Mid Night Club, formed in 1987, was famously difficult to get into. Despite being illegal, those street car races were difficult to stop as cars could reach a speed in excess of 300 km/h whereas police cars were limited at 180 km/h based on a regulation from the government passed in 1977.
At its peak, the club had 30 members who would meet at specific spots at midnight for their races, as the name implies. The locations were distributed through classified ads in newspapers under secret codes. Disbanded in 1999 following a large crash, the Mid Night Club remains an inspiration for many street racers to this day according to automobile experts.