Heki's Celica Supra

 

  Heki is one of my best friends ever, and as a result of that, he felt victim to my Toyota illness, and before he knew it, I persuaded him to get a 1985 US-spec P-Type, auto transmission Celica Supra MA61. The car needed much work to become an absolutely fabulous piece of work, what it really is today. So, how it all started? Well, here is the story...
It was the fall of 2004, I was sitting in the small cafe of a friend of mine in the town of Blagoevgrad, (about 100km South of the capital Sofia). Then came in a guy whom I did not know, but he seemed to be a good friend of my friend...:) While sitting on the table we somehow bagan chatting about cars, and obviously few minutes later he knew I was a Toyota freak, and then he mentioned that he knows a guy in a small town near by, who has this old very sporty Toyota, but has no idea which model exactly it was. Well, it was about 10:30pm, but hey we are talking Toyota here, so I basically almost dragged the guy into my car and off we went to the town of Rila (a small town in the Rila Mountains, close to the famous Rila Monastery). It wass the perfect horror movie night, raining cats and dogs, foggy, lightnings, etc. So we finally managed to find the house of the dude in question who turned out to be in the local pub, as his father informed us. Soon enough we found him, and then we went to the outscirts of town, to this farm, we had to drive through this really deep hole full of mud and water from the rain, but the AE86 managed to get in and out with no trouble. And under the lights of my car I stumbled upon this MA61 Celica Supra P-type, auto transmission, US Spec. with lots of dust on it, parked under this sun cover. A quick examination and phone number exchange followed, and off we left.
A month later or so, I found my Celica Supra with stick (manual transmission) on the net in a small German town. The idea of getting the auto tranny one in Bulgaria quickly disappeared, since I wanted a stick version. So how does this story connect to Heki, I hear you ask me? Well, at that same time Heki was searching for months for a new car to buy. He is the relaxed auto transmission-lover type of driver, and after he and I took a close look at the offers around, we decided that nothing really was fitting his desire for a new car. Thus some time in January 2005, one day I came up with the idea, of him getting the auto tranny Supra, restoring it as new, and thus resolving his problem of finding a car which he actually likes. Honestly, I was not counting on his positive responce to this idea of mine, knowing Heki as the serious and soberly thinking person that he is. But, I guess the Toyota madness desise had infected him as well, and he actully decided to go and see the car and then decide, on actually getting it...or not. After few phone calls between Florence, Sofia, and Rila, he went, saw, liked, and decided to buy the Supra... Boy was I happy!...:)...another good Toyota saved from unglorious delapidation under the sun shalter of a stinky farm in a small town in Bulgaria! Besides, this car has an interesting history: was originally bought in 1985 in the US as new, then someone got it and took it to Canada, and then a Bulgarian sailor bought it in Canada and shipped the car all the way to the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Bourgas (East Bulgaria), and then this guy from Rila, in the West of Bulgaria got it! Such cars are definetly worth of being saved, restored, and preserved!
After organizing the trip to pick up the car on a trailar with Ventzi-the trailar man, and father of one of our club members, namely Miro also known as the GhoastRider, (and actullay the only AE86 professional Rally driver in Bulgaria) they went to Rila to pick up the car and drive it to Sofia. So, here under I will continue the story with more pictures and fewer words, the way most net serfers like it...:), so enjoy it! 

The car as it was found in the stinky farm in the town of Rila in Bulgaria early 2005.
 

  And here is the dirty old and worn out intirior of the car then.

  The Supra arrives at its new home in Sofia. Ventzi the trailer-man is about to unload the precious buy!

As soon as the car arrived, it was put under heavy guard against anyone or anything! DANGER! Don't mess with this one!!!

Time was not wasted and dismantling the engine head began soon enough!

According to the previous owner there was a burned valve in cylinder #3.

  Hey! It's a miracle, all valves seem to be fine!

Miro the GhoastRider seen here dismantling the 5M-GE head...a tiny bit different than the 4A-GE, huh?
 
So after the head was dismantled, it became apparent that a through clean up of the head and its components was badly needed before it went to the machine shop to be inspected and decked a tiny bit. Heki is definitely the man for the job, just tell him what needs to be done and you will see a fully committed man doing his work with attention to the last detail!

Here is a very good example, Heki himself happily sand papering the head, and enjoying it on top of all!!!

Check those hydrualic valve adjusters out! Cleaned inside out and looking like new...ready for another 25 years of service!

So here I come back into the picture, yet again! :) Heki and I put back the head and the rest of the engine together. All excited, we tried to start the engine... but NO GAS! Damn, fuel pump!

Isn't that a Great picture? Me digging all over the fuel tank trying to get the pump out, while Heki's brother in law, ties to help with the light, on a beautiful May spring evening... if that isn't art, then what is? :)

It turned out the lower "sucking" plates were stuck to each other from staying dry for so long. Also the tiny graphite bearings were cracked. New custom bearings were cut, I cleaned up the plates and put the pump together, and the unit works fine, once again. With the pump up again the engine started fine...until a knocking sound apeared...:( After a quick intervention through the oil sump, I figured we had a dead con-rod bearing on cylinder #6.

  Unfortunately the con-rod was also deformed :(.

While I was looking for a spare con-rod (which finally came from Canada: Thanks Bob!), Heki took care of the interior. Custom seat covers were the order of the day, and a new carpet as well!

Heki did not foreg the steeing wheel as well! A really nice custom job of 100% leather, turned the worned out wheel into a new and very sexy unit! :)
 
After the spare con-rod came, the crankshaft was machined, new main and con-rod bearings installed, and the engine was finally in a perfect working order. Heki installed all new exhost system, and a new catlitic converter. The rear springs, and shock absorbers were also changed. The last step in restoring the Supra was the body and a new paint job. The worst and visable from the outside rust areas on the lower side of the car just before the rear arches were repaired, and then the car basically stood few months awaiting its time to be taken by the master body batter Yavor. After few months of work, basically geting rid of all rusty spots, repainring rusty places by substituting with new pieces of sheet metal, etc. the car was ready to be painted. By the end of the summer 2006 Heki's Supra looked, operated, and felt like new! :)  
 

Here you can follow few months of progress of the body being restored and the car prepared for a new paint job.

  Now that the car had been preped for the paint job, Ventzi the trailer man yet again comes into aid, and gets the car to the paint shop.

  Oh yeees! Don't you just love the freshly painted car? Sooo shiny and clean! The color was Heki's personal preference, and a top quality paint as well!

OK, a bit off the "paint topic" here. It's wheel and tire talk now! The Supra original wheels are 14x7 +8offset, with 225/60/14 rubber...yeah, try to get such size tires here in Europe, just try, and you'd know they'd been out of the market for good 20 years or so. So, what do you do? Order from the US or Canada, pay shipping, pay taxes? NO! Heki got those 15x7 wheels off a Volvo, with the same 114.3x4 PCD, but way too positive offset! Found a nice set of 225/55/15 tires, and the only other thing needed was... yes, wheel spacers! Here Jamie came into aid, he custom made those 50mm spacers for Heki's car. The plan worked out fine, and now the wheels are like -8 offset (or there abouts)!

So here it is...ENJOY!

A nice pic here, the all restored and shiny 1985 Supra bahind my old and worn 1988 AE92 Corolla GTi.