FEATURE: STEVE STARR

You wouldn’t be able to recognise this Supra for the genuine Baltic Blue it truly is.

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Ex-V8 enthusiast Steve Starr once doubted the Supra, having said “pfft how good could this thing really be?” Little did he know this alien Japanese machine would accompany him and help him through the best and worst times of his life.

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The obsession with Supras started back when Steve was still drooling over big blowers erupting out of cut bonnets. A friend of his – who was an importer at the time – took an RZ around to Steve’s house to show off his new Japanese power to where our V8 loving friend was successfully converted to a 2J man.

This lead him to buying his first Supra in 2001 – a 1997 RZ in factory quicksilver which he regrettably sold in 2010. In the time he owned this car, it offered him an escape from a nasty break up he was going through and was the strongest distraction he could find after being cheated on and taken for a ride to the bank by his ex-partner – ultimately losing his home.

Sadly, he was drawn to the wrong crowd, lead to alcohol and substance abuse, and admittedly on the verge of suicide having felt incredibly lost and betrayed. His work suffered, he isolated himself from friends and family – introverting himself.

Throughout this troubled time and the derailing of his personality, his Supra was a robust cure to his pain and was the one thing that kept him sane and positive when he had no where else to go and didn’t know what to do.

Whilst spending his time on a friends couch, his friend grew increasingly concerned for his wellbeing – one night inviting some friends over to show Steve a slice of society. Thinking he’d lost his mojo, he was introduced to a women who made him feel instantly connected to the world again. Coincidentally she also loved cars, which allowed a gateway for Steve to tune back into his Supra senses.

This woman, Peta, is now his wife today.

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In 2012, Steve had found the ideal Supra – a 1994 GZ, a genuine Baltic Blue aerotop – at the time, one of two in Australia. It flew him from the mines where he worked in Mount Isa to Tasmania, where he embarked on a picturesque road trip up the east coast to return to the ‘bigger island’. With only 90XXXkms, the car ran without a flaw, causing him to fall further in love with it.

After the Supra had settled into Steve’s home, he remembers being in a happy place. Life was good and he owned a rare, genuine and unmodified Supra!

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A month later in paradise, Steve had to surrender his beloved Supra to his wife whose car was off the road getting repaired. She drove their 18 month son to day care and was on her way to work – just enjoying the flutter of a 2J.

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Until a garbage truck wiped out the front left side of the car as she sat stationary at the intersection waiting for the light to turn green!

Fortunately she was not injured in the crash but Steve faced the devastation of a ‘different’ love. Gone with the wind, he watched the car be towed away and will never forget that eventful day.

He describes this time in his life as ‘spiralling’ – punching walls and drinking to deal with his frustration. Steve was a broken man.

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He decided to buy the Supra from the insurance company, uninspired by his lack of motivation – he was determined to rise above his depression and rebuild his wreck into something he wouldn’t have ever thought of if it weren’t for the devastating incident that had struck.

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When he got the car back from the insurance company, he remembers not even thinking about it and just staring at it for a week in shock. Upon examination, he discovered the chassis rails weren’t bent and most of the damage was cosmetic and would need a new front end.

He could’ve restored the car back to original, but that was not what he had in mind. He finally came to his senses and approached his father for help to customise something truly unique – a one-off widebody Supra. With 50 years of experience in the fibreglass industry, Steve saw this as an opportunity to turn a vision into reality and also work alongside his old man doing what they’re both passionate about.

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“I didn’t want a hideous, bulky monstrosity – I wanted to pay tribute to the already perfect lines of the Supra and ‘enhance’ its shape. This was incredibly difficult”

Every single panel was craft by hand, modified with fibreglass except the roof panel – being removed, moulded, shaped, sanded, fit and painted in Quicksilver – piece by piece – evolving into what it is now 5 years later.

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As it sits today, the car is completely seamless, meaning the main body has no joins anywhere – enhancing his vision of a ‘subtle’ widebody.  The Supra has undergone a complete V161 6-speed conversion with RZ running gear but remains completely stock under the bonnet. It’s only performance modifications are a front mount intercooler and a 3″ Mandel bent stainless exhaust – running its original 2JZ-GTE (non-VVTI) engine making 330bhp.

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It wears “19 Vertini Drift with a Mustang fitment from the USA on TEIN coilovers and has significantly wider rear guards with an extra 11cms on each side. The rear bar features a Trial diffuser which was moulded to a factory rear bar, making this another one-off piece by Steve and his Senpai of a father. Giving it an S2 appearance, the Supra has upgraded S2 headlights, S2 rear drive lights and S2 front turn signals. The man loves his lights with Harry Moore custom LED indicators and Pro Spec Imports Sniper tail lights.

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The interior boasts genuine reclinable leather Brides, a carbon fibre dash set, TRD clusters, ‘extra wank factor gauges’, Go Fast Bits, a Momo steering wheel. It also features a black S2 carpet and mint condish OEM floormats to finish it off.

People say Steve is crazy for ruining an extremely rare Supra – but he stayed true to his word and for the best. He didn’t return to V8’s.

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Just kidding. Over those five years, Steve has truly created something unique out of pain and passion. Fueling this idea and focusing all his energy on bringing it to life kept him sane through some really rough times and was a healthy release to him which kept him away from alcohol, drugs and all the people who come with that package.

“My Supra has literally my therapy, my escape from my day to day problems – my one true passion and obsession. This Supra saved my life.”

With plans to upgrade power to 600RWHP, Steve owns Supra Garage – inspired by his own journey with his car –  buying incomplete Supras, piecing them back together and giving them a new life on the road.

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Steve says his Supra is an extension and reflection of himself – a once broken man – now reinvented. He would like to give a tribute to his wife Peta who was constant support and motivated him throughout the process and ultimately helped him become a better man. He also thanks his father – who without, the car in its entirety would not be possible and done at such a master level.

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This story is important in understanding why cars are important and encourage these ideas as a healthy way to deal with stress and depression to overcome issues and achieve something you never thought you could do.

Stay true to yourself. 

~ Z