The JDM community is one of the most interesting subcultures in the automotive and performance world. Imports of Japanese Domestic Market cars began booming decades ago when Americans found a new alternative to the classic muscle cars they had been accustomed to. Plus, Japanese sports cars were more easily upgradeable and cheaper than most of the exotic European imports of the late 20th century.
Thus, the JDM scene has grown into a force to be reckoned with, and today, people across the globe soup up Japanese sports cars from the ’80s up through the 2000s. There are a myriad of iconic cars which fit into this category, including the Honda NSX-R, Mazda RX-7 and the Nissan Skyline. But, one of the greatest of all time is the Toyota Supra, known for its popular 2JZ-GTE engine and borderline infinite amount of tuning capability. Its hero status in the Fast and the Furious franchise also gave it a notable bump in admiration.
In every community, however there are purists — and the JDM subculture is no different. The Supra is so heralded that obscure customization of the platform is sometimes seen as blasphemous. We recently saw a Hemi-swapped Supra that we highlighted not too long ago, but that swap pals in comparison to the amount of heads this diesel-swapped Supra might turn.
Ashley Whitsey is a mechanic by trade and does his own project on the side to keep busy, and when he was offered a bare Supra shell “for basically peanuts,” he knew he wanted to do something weird. Whitsey underwent the task of engine swapping the classic car and dropping a hefty 5.9L 6BT Cummins engine under the hood.
“It took four to five years to snowball into what it currently is,” Whitsey says. “It started out as a dumb joke to trigger some purists and it worked a treat.”
The Cummins engine was originally a 600-hour mil spec 250-hp unit with a P7100 fuel injection pump that Whitsey obtained as a surplus. There aren’t a ton of additions to the engine, but it makes a respectable amount of power and is able to roll coal with ease. It’s not often you see smoke coming out of a Supra.
The engine features an ATS manifold with an HX40W turbo, a large intercooler and piping, dual plane intake, a Fluidampr and new fuel pump, PPD fuel injectors and delivery valves, and an AFC controller for in-cab fuel tuning.
The engine is paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox out of a Leyland DAF-45 and a Lexus IS220d differential. To fit such a large and heavy engine into the frame, Whitsey obviously needed to adjust the frame as well.
“It has performance bags and sleeves with full tub rear arches and custom tunnel and chassis spreader plates for all of the mounts to help it with the added weight.”
The body sits on 2” lift blocks and a 5” universal airlift that adds some much-needed height above its abnormally large wheels.
All things considered, Whitsey has created an extremely unique vehicle with an awesome custom-swapped engine.