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The ALTAiR Car!

This section is about my (Erik's) personal automotive project. I am rebuilding a 1985 Toyota Supra into the ALTAiR car. When I am done, it will be a cross between Back to the Future and Mad Max. A firm handshake goes to Kurt Harland for beating me to the idea! Keep checking back for updates!

This is the car as it began. The hood has red, white, and blue stripes I painted shortly after Sept. 11th 2001.

[25.Sept.02] - The car with bumper facia removed. Some parts have been primered flat black.

[17.Oct.02] - The mostly-finished new front bumper. Note my really terrible welding job. At least it holds together good. The bumper was constructed using 8-foot barn door rails and expanded stainless steel. I cut everything very carefully and it still didn't line up right. I ended up having to grind a lot of stuff down.

[08.Nov.02] - The painted bumper. At this point, some of the tubing has been added. I realized that turn indicators were needed, so I used 55 watt fog lights routed through two relays. Since the indicators are somewhat invisible from the side (even though they light up the street!), I installed some side marker lights (big rig style).

[25.Sept.02] - A few shots of the interior. Note my custom steering wheel (don't bother trying to find one, I made it) and the pushbutton ignition. The door panels are new, which I covered with some anti-slip floor matting. But everything's about to change.

[10.Feb.04] - More or less completed front bumper. Modified turn indicator lights and added lots of wiring, which at the moment does nothing. Added roof racks with fog lights. The paint job is getting faded and dusty, I guess it's time for some more rattle-canning.

[25.Jan.2005] - Many slight changes, including part of the new dashboard, which I will put up soon. Mostly, I just wanted to say how many countless complements I've received from people everywhere. I had no idea that the car would generate this kind of response. It's just incentive to keep working on it...


It seems that everyone is interested in this kind of stuff, so I put it here for you to read. The information will be updated as I replace parts.
  • Year: 1985
  • Make: Toyota
  • Model: Supra
  • Engine Style: 5M-GE fuel injected inline six, DOHC
  • Engine displacement [cc]: 2.8l [2759]
  • Horsepower/Torque: 161@5600/169@4400
  • Body color: Dark Metallic Blue, partly flat black.
  • Interior: Blue leather
  • Mileage: 240,000 mi.

5-speed manual transmission, rear wheel drive (both very fun to drive). I find RWD to be more controllable than front wheel drive. It drives more solidly. Plus the weight is balanced better, with everything being distributed more evenly. The real obvious advantage comes when you decide to work on the engine or drivetrain. I have absolutely no problem getting at every single part. I've worked on a lot of transverse engines, and they all suck to repair/modify, because eveything is all piled up in the engine compartment.


Here is a basic list of the modification plans I have for the car.

  • Sand and paint body flat black
  • Remove front bumper and replace with custom frame design
  • Replace rear tires with bigger truck-style tires
  • Add a hood intake for future engine mods
  • Add side scoops over corner windows
  • Replace several components with stainless steel versions (like the exhaust)
  • Run lengths of tubing across body
  • Weld a variety of useless but cool-looking stuff to the body
  • Reupholster the interior with black vinyl
  • Build a new dash display, completely digital
  • Build new headlight brackets which will replace the flipup ones. I like flipup headlights, but they just won't work in this design


Although I think the purpose of this kind of project should be fairly obvious, some people don't see it that way. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to have a car that looked really mean. I'm not saying "mean" like the Viper. I am referring to the industrial construction vehicle look. I wanted a car that scared people. A car that was dangerous, literally. Of course, when I was a kid, I had no understanding of DOT regulations, so I wanted lasers, smoke screens, knife guns, huge blades, and all that sort of stuff that makes cops not like you. Now I must remain within the boundaries of friendly society. So I plan to make the car mostly mean looking, not a road hazard.

You see, everyone seems to want a sleek, rounded car that runs quiet. I want exactly the opposite. My goal is to build this car into an angular nightmare of steel tubing and hoses. The kind of car you don't want to cut off on the road, because you know it can just rip right through you. The kind of car Satan might take out on a sunday stroll. Yeah, basically a real bastard of a car.

Why a Supra? Well, partly because that's the car I own, partly because the Supra is easy to modify. The whole car is extremely well built, using thick gauge metal throughout. Plus, I like the design of the car. It has a certain Lotus/Lamborghini look to it. There's a lot of straight lines that lend themselves well to change, not like today's cars that are all bubbly and round. I guess I want to show people that there's more to cars than chrome and clearcoat.