- Originally “purchased” new by Toyota’s marketing department, Edwin Mangune took ownership 24 years ago after helping build the car.
- Tuned by HKS and top speed tested by esteemed racing driver Mario Andretti in 1998, it has remained relatively untouched since its heyday.
- The 2JZ-GTE HKS parallel turbocharged engine generates an impressive 637 whp and 539 lb-ft of torque in its current spec.
When I first moved to California years ago to work as an editor for Import Tuner magazine (God rest her turbocharged soul), drag racing was still all the rage. It’s what my friends and I had built our cars for and what filled the legendary stories behind the import and sport compact explosion of the early 2000s — especially how it grew Southern California’s hallowed industrial streets. The idea in street racing is simple: If the other guy doesn’t spot or understand your advantage, it’s fair game. Coming out of an age where cylinder count and displacement were the metric of performance, our high-tech, small-displacement machines were a force to be reckoned with.
I was enthralled with the unending tales of muscle car takedowns I’d heard from my new colleagues, like the one about a street racing team fielding a mildly modified Datsun 280ZX that would be offered up for races, and then secretly swapped for a matching, but much more highly modified, twin before rolling up to the line. When I talked to Edwin Mangune — the owner of this immaculate, timeless JZA80 Toyota Supra, and Sales Engineer at Hawk Performance — I realized he’d been directly involved with many of the tales that inspired me in my younger days and that he’d been doing it since before I was born.
Edwin’s own drive in import enthusiasm dates back to about a decade before the JZA80 was even a pencil sketch on Isao Tsuzuk’s desk in Toyota City, Japan. The year was 1981, and 16-year-old Edwin had just bought a ’73 VW Scirocco and modified it with an exotic stroker crank sourced from a race team in Germany, a milled head for higher compression, higher-flowing carbs, and a host of Neuspeed bits. He had been going to the Irwindale drags with his dad since at least 1970. He later developed an obsession with carving the Malibu canyons and liked the idea of a welterweight FWD being competitive against the hot rods and Porsches he’d grown up around.
But Edwin’s heart, and his destiny, lie in turbocharging. He’d been studying it even before he’d owned that Scirocco, and in 1987 with the purchase of a ’78 Mazda RX-3, he got his hands dirty. At the time, sporting a GTU-class Cunningham Racing engine was unheard of on the street, as was having Ak Miller (dubbed by Hot Rod magazine as “the best hotrodder in the world”) turbocharge its carbureted rotary to the tune of around 350whp, but Edwin made both a reality. Nearly everything under the hood had to be custom-fabricated, with only EGT readings and street tuning used to determine proper air/fuel mixture. If you know rotaries, you know how crazy that was.
Edwin racked up tons of his own wins on L.A. streets in the late ’80s, thanks to no one really knowing what a turbocharged rotary engine even was. Edwin never popped his hood, and all anyone knew was that there wasn’t a V8 or turbo-six under it. After enough challengers tried and lost and his winning reputation was forged, Edwin couldn’t get a race. He eventually employed a trick of his own, mocking up a non-functional nitrous system in the car, only so he could “confess” that it had been installed all the while, agree to take it out, and continue racking up those wins like he always had.
Edwin’s prowess for the dark arts of turbocharging and street racing eventually caught the eye of the folks over at HKS (at least one of whom had been taken by Edwin’s teammate’s legendary Datsun switch), who offered him a job that led to a 10-year career helping to elevate standards within import and sport compact tuning in immeasurable ways. His parting gift to himself: this Supra.
The Supra that came to be Edwin’s was “purchased” new in 1997 by Toyota’s marketing department, headed by a guy who also hailed from the racing scene to showcase the limits of their latest Japanese muscle car. HKS agreed to take the car on as a test/development mule and easily met Toyota’s initial goal of 400 whp through the factory catalytic converters, thanks to HKS ball-bearing sequential twin-turbos and nearly the entire catalog of bolt-on parts available at the time — including some prototype bits, and some that were never sold on our shores.
The following year the car was designated by Road & Track magazine as the fourth Fastest Street-Legal Car in America, with Mario Andretti at the wheel (his signature can still be seen on the car’s passenger-side dash) in a competition that included a McLaren F1, Ferrari F550 Maranello, Hennessey Viper Venom 600 GTS, two Lingenfelter Corvette ZR-1s and a RUF CTR 2. Edwin wasted no time buying the car when it was offered for sale the following year and continued its high-profile exploits.
You might’ve caught a glimpse of it in the original Fast and the Furious flick, especially in the Director’s Cut, which included more footage from the Race Wars scene. When the producers decided to do some authentic drag racing on set, Edwin knew it was a chance to clean up. After swapping the HKS sequential turbos over to larger HKS parallel twins, Edwin’s friend Dave Jusko, former crew chief to Christian Rado and then-current drivetrain engineer for Toyota, drove out to the set and did just that, crushing egos and impressing production. Not too much of the car is seen in the film (since Edwin wouldn’t allow production to drive it), but soundbites of it can be heard throughout, as background effects in the Race Wars scene and synced to running shots — including the unmistakable flutter of its HKS Super Sequential Blow-off Valve.
With the addition of some of the other goodies listed in the spec sheet below, Edwin’s Supra was tuned to a comfortable 637 whp and 539 lb-ft of torque at a conservative 6,700rpm redline, at 24 psi, and on 100-octane gasoline. And for the most part, that’s exactly where the car has run reliably for nearly 24 years, mostly at drag races and test-and-tune days at Irwindale, and at a 2004 Redline TV competition at Willow Springs, where the Supra handily beat out the best of the U.S.’s top tuning companies in areas such as track times, drag e.t.s, braking, and lateral grip.
Edwin and the Supra’s only point of maintenance has been some repairs to its differential, in the wake of all those hard drag launches. But, having survived so much craziness over the years, he’s happy relegating the car to occasional spirited street driving on the weekends, today. He tells us his days of modifying it further are over and that he just wants to enjoy it as a slice of the good old days, gone but not forgotten.
Then again, knowing Edwin, maybe that’s just something he’d say before asking for a race.
Edwin Mangune | 1997 Toyota Supra Turbo
|Engine:||Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine; HKS 264 intake/exhaust cams, steel cam gears w/anodized billet centers, modified GT2835 parallel twin turbos, Racing wastegate (x2), Racing Type II blow-off valve, R-Type front-mount intercooler, pipe kit, downpipe, Titanium Racing muffler, ETCS Less kit, R Type oil cooler kit; K&N air intake filters; TRD racing radiator cap; SP Engineering carbon-fiber cooling plate; Denso Iridium spark plugs|
|Fuel/EMS:||HKS V-Pro EMS (tuned by Jon Kuroyama), two-step rev limiter, A/F-Knock Amp, DLI Twin Power ignition; 720cc/min fuel injectors, in-tank fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, fuel rail|
|Driveline:||Centerforce DFX clutch; TRD limited-slip differential, ring and pinion|
|Suspension & Brakes:||HKS Hipermax RS coilovers; TRD anti-roll bars, strut bars, brake lines; DBA Series 5000 front brake rotors, Series 4000 rear brake rotors; Hawk Performance HPS 5.0 brake pads, HP660 brake fluid|
|Wheels & Tires:||Work Equip wheels (19x9.5-inch front, 19x10.5-inch rear); Toyo Proxes Sport tires (255/30-19 front, 285/30-19 rear)|
|Interior:||Sparco harness bar; HKS 46mm boost gauge|
|Gratitude:||HKS, Hawk Performance, DBA, Centerforce Clutch, Dave Jusko, Wife Tammy, and everyone else — they know who they are!|