Barn Of Abandoned Projects: Toyota Supra Package

Near my house is a gentleman who clearly likes Mitsubishi 3000GTs, as he’s got several of them strewn about his property with no evidence of recent attempts to work on them. I’ll bet he wishes he had a barn like this guy to chuck his half-finished projects into. This trio of Toyota Supras all suffer from a mechanical malady of some kind, and the seller has listed them here on craigslist as a package deal for $3,500 (go here if the ad disappears).

The seller says he has one Supra Turbo with the five-speed manual and two non-turbo cars, one automatic and one manual. The Turbo and one of the N/A cars have blown headgaskets; the third is simply locked up. These seem like a trio of parts cars, but the turbocharged model could be worth bringing back. I can’t be sure, but I believe it’s the black car up top. While desirable, this generation of Supra is the least valuable, at least compared to the next generation platform.

Not helping is the seller’s warning that he’s not taking more photos than he already has; “…if you’re interested, come look” is all he offers to that end. The seller says that despite the motor issues, all three cars are complete, so I will give him that the $3,500 asking price constitutes a good value in parts alone. But if any of the engines turn out to be terminal or reveal more issues that a simple headgasket fix, that asking price could quickly look expensive.

There’s at least one other vehicle in the barn, which looks like an old Chevy pickup. But the only horses leaving this barn are those under the hoods of these Supras, ranging from 200 b.h.p. for the N/A models to 230 b.h.p. in the turbocharged example. The bodies look straight across all three, and rust wouldn’t seem to be an issue in Kentucky. One of the Supras lacks a title, so factor that into your building plans if all three cars appeal as projects.


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  1. slickb

    I’ll take that truck…

  2. TriPowerVette

    My dream is to perform a complete restoration on a Japanese car… said nobody, ever (with the obvious exception of the Toyota 2000 GT and Supra Twin-Turbo.).

    People are willing to spend big bux on modifying performance cars from the land of the rising sun, but so far, there just is not a broad-based support for full-blown restoration of those cars (yes, every now and then, someone restores a 240Z or a Land Cruiser). I see some willingness to refurbish certain NSX builds, but there is nothing like the support for them that, say, a Mustang, GTO, or Camaro has.

    Part of it has to do with the complete lack of factory support for such activity, in contrast to (for instance) the Chevrolet Heritage Project. Once 5 model years have passed (or a certain number of miles), historically, Japanese manufacturers abandon their customer base faster than Microsoft with a new release of Windows.

    Sad, really. But, their policies are developed based upon their own domestic market, which dictates that a 5-year-old car is simply the sum of its parts. They have never really understood the American marque enthusiast, nor apparently have they tried to.

    They want loyalty, they want enthusiasm, but only for new cars, and they consider those as disposables. They don’t give a rip about the older stuff (or their adherents). At least not right now.

    Even though the Turbo looks intriguing, it isn’t the world-beating Twin-Turbo, so it will likely sit.

    Too bad.

    • Bmac Bmac Member

      Agree, with the exception of the Z cars. Doing a 77 Celica liftback, finding good parts is making it a career!

      • TriPowerVette

        @Bmac – My case rests. You’re hanging out in the breeze for support, huh?

        As an example of the exception to my assertion: the factory actually had a program to completely restore 240Z’s (This was many years ago, 1996-97). The problem was that the resultant product (although spectacularly finished) was priced at some $27,000, which was a lot of money for a 150H.P. sports car at the time.

        See the article at Jalopnik here for more:

    • glen

      I wouldn’t mind a Skyline!

      • TriPowerVette

        @glen – I’m sure you wouldn’t. Most folks on this site would trade body parts for one (I, myself, prefer to trade other people’s body parts… but, still…).

        But how would you feel about one with a shot interior, run out engine, missing parts and rust, like any number of the projects on BF over which readers regularly drool?

        The restoration question is an evil one, isn’t it? Sure, you’ll be willing to paint it. Or even do a little upholstery. But a full on resto? Now ask yourself about an XK-E or a Z-28 or a Shelby Mustang or a Corvette…

        Interested in restoring one of those? Thought so.

      • glen

        I can dream.

    • MotorMouth

      This is dumb. Remember when kids used to restore Bugs and Midgets? Well now they restore Hondas and Miatas… Personally, I’ve restored a Miata and I would never, ever own a Mustang. Never. Yuck. All years, yuck. I’ll take a Civic Si any day.

  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    A Toyota Super? No, a Supra. ( Seinfeld music)

  4. Jared

    I live in Lexington, KY. Hmm 2jz or 2jz swaps anyone?

  5. Steve A.

    If he wants to be a jerk about taking any more pictures, I say let him keep his JUNK

    • mike D

      his ad comes across as being a jerk about it ( not just the pics) for me , a drive to Lexington would be 800 mi. long way to go to just decide they aren’t worth it , no mention of miles, or condition otherwise , they would certainly be unique ( here anyways) a few more pics would do a lot

      • Rick

        Agreed, 100%! Selling a used car, or three, takes some work. With the availability of digital photos, and lots of well composed ads to use as a guide, classified ads like this are just pathetic. To me, it just says; “bad experience, move on”. Rant over…

  6. Jeremy holmes

    I’ve owned many of these first thing I would do is a new metal head gasket. Nice cars but also my least fav body style of the Supra. I think you would be better of finding a nicer example and cheaper than fixing any of these.

    • TriPowerVette

      @Jeremy holmes – Don’t tell me that you, too, are a Japo-Restorophobe?

  7. Chuck Simons

    900.00 for all three and that would be the closest yard. Return them from whence they came, and enjoy the beverage that comes out.

  8. Fred Bowers

    Maybe actually found in a barn but still foreign junk

  9. Maestro1 Member

    Agreed, Chuck. $900. is a good number, and the Seller is apparently on his own agenda. So let him sit with the cars until he grows up enough to do some intelligent marketing.

  10. peter

    Down here in Australia, I had two Cressida’s which have the same non-turbo engine. They were sold between 1988 to 1992 for $62,000 Aus dollars when new. They were a very nice car except for the head gasket issue. In addition, the body was very strong. One of the cars was driven into a tree at about 60mph and of the four people inside it, only the driver received a fractured finger when the steering wheel was pushed back or it rotated with the impact.

    In regard to the engine (7MGE) it is based on an old block and had a series of evolutionally changes, cocooned around it. You can see on the side of the block a blanking plate for a fuel pump but later they were changed to fuel injection. To fix the engine the evolutionary layers need to be removed which adds to the time taken.

    My theory on the head gasket is that nowhere in any manual does it say to retorque the head bolts say after 600 miles like other older engines required. To do this you have to remove a number of items to remove the valve covers and possibly this is why it wasn’t done. Certainly I found the bolt torques had dropped off a lot after that short distance. Some people over-torque the bolts in an effort to solve the problem and I am surprised they didn’t strip them plus others buy expensive aftermarket special high tensile bolts but I wonder if they were necessary when I found the torque loss might have been the real issue. Also, I forgot to say above I think in the evolution of the block it went in stages from 2 litres to a 3 litre engine and the gasket had less head space to cover, possibly adding to the leaking problem.

    If anyone does replace the gasket, they should also replace the seal in the distributor on the non-turbo model (turbo is distributorless). The dizzy sits horizontal and if the seal is worn it leaks oil out over the side of the engine. Use a high temp Viton seal.

    There is one difficult to remove valve cover bolt (6mm thread) at the very front right when standing in front of the engine. It is just hard to get at with everything else in place. I replaced it with a long bolt and with a thick sleeve or bush so the head stood above everything else and was easy to reach.

    It is also worthwhile replacing the steel welsh plugs with brass as there is one at the front and back of the head (as I recall, or in the block, that can be reached with the head off). The back one can’t be replaced easily so consider doing it when the head is off.

    • TriPowerVette

      @peter – Thank you for the EXCELLENT article and information. Very useful.

    • Tony C.

      Peter, I know of a 78 twin cam six Cressida in SA that you could buy for $2500 that has had over $6500 in parts spent on it, (new everything), since the owner died, his son has done the work and is a qualified mechanic, with Toyota training and experience, the car is immaculate and drives like a dream. If you’re into buying and saving it get in touch. I’d buy it in a heartbeat if I had somewhere to park it. These were the ‘Rolls Royce’ of Toyotas when new. This one’s silver/grey with a perfect burgundy velvet interior and electric everything. Where will you find another one of this vintage and condition?

      Tony, Adelaide. Ph. 08 8465 0496

  11. AMCFAN

    First I give kudos to the seller for two reasons. One saving these vintage Toyota Supras. No these are NOT the newer version 92-98 Mark IV which if it was this ad would not be posted and the seller would have over $100K in his pocket. Not rocket science

    That being said these have not matured into being a certified collectible. They are certainly worth saving. I attend several large import only shows (those into foreign junk need not apply) twice a year (spring and fall) one in my state and one we drive 7 hours one way. The smallest with over 4000 cars on the ground Makes the Mopar Nationals look like a church car show. This vintage of Supra isn’t dead and still has a following and is gaining interest. My opinion is most 20-40 year olds don’t have the desposable income. The cars I have seen have single/twin turbo JDM swaps to some very nice originals. The guys don’t need a restoration shop. They build them themselves. Those who may be in disbelief might want to look around on the net other then stalking here. There is a whole sub culture that is growing. Word to the wise. That grand child may not want that vintage Camaro you have been storing. He may choose your wifes Civic. The interest in Japanese cars is growing.

    The next issue is the seller not wishing to take more pictures. Bravo. I agree with him. I have personally fielded several of my own CL ads and I would rather take a bulit……or certainly use mine on some of the DA’s that CL generates. I bet he has had the picture collectors want underside shots. Hmmm. I don’t see a back yard buddy lift in the pics! Bottom line is. No amount of pics will get someone off their butt. Give the guy a little respect. If these cars are for you go see them or at least call him. 9 times out of 10 talking to the guy he may take the $900 as some suggest are the value. Getting off your butt may see his collection of rare JDM parts. May see something of more interest along the way. It is the right way. NOT try and negoaite the whole deal on your phone.

    Besides what else can you do at the house in 15 degree temps.

  12. Pete

    I agree with AMCFAN. These cars are future classics. They were beautiful back in the day. They were not built for racing like a Fast and Furious drift car. The seller is right to not agree to more pics. So many people call and try to dicker with you on the phone and wear you out taking more pics and then they don’t show up. When I advertise a car I tell them. If you want to buy it come and look at it, you will see all you want to know. Wave cash in my face, talk is cheap. Money talks BS walks. As far as getting parts for these cars goes. It is not as hard as you think. Yeah Toyota has limited items to support them. But used stuff is out there. Swapping an engine will run you about 900 to 1100 for a used JDM motor. Toyota used the same engine in multiple vehicles. You just have to swap the bolt on stuff over. Not that hard. His price is not absurd either for what your getting.


    IMO this could be a great deal for someone with time and talent. My everyday fleet is Toyota and they are built very well.

  14. Waltguy

    I was shocked at the “Estimates” on a couple of Supras yesterday at Mecum Kissimmee. Granted, those are running and in very good to perfect shape. But if it’s any indication of future prices, these are probably worth looking into. My 2c.

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