Tom’s previews turbocharged GR86 ahead of Tokyo

Widebody GR86 among six Toyotas – Century included – lined up for next week's auto salon

By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 3 January 2023 / Loading comments

Anyone who grew up mildly obsessed with Japanese cars, absorbing as much Best Motoring and Gran Turismo as possible, will know about Tom’s. A Tom’s Toyota was always worth seeking out, and it remains true almost 50 years after the company was founded: six Tom’s-tuned models will be at the Tokyo motor show the weekend after next.  

The obvious stuff features, with a pair of Supras and a widebody GR86, but it would be impossible to start anywhere apart from the Tom’s Century. Yep, the car famous for shuttling around Japanese dignitaries has been given a transformation by the firm, including windows so tinted there’s no longer any need for net curtains and huge BBS wheels that wouldn’t look out of place on a GT-R. There are even visible exhausts, four great big pipes for the V8 that typically remain out of sight in appropriately demure Century fashion. Maybe not to everybody’s taste, but if Toyota can preview a Century GRMN then it shouldn’t be a surprise to find Tom’s giving it a go as well.  

Furthermore, if the outside is a bit shouty for a Century, then the interior is far more in keeping with expectations. Described as offering ‘the ultimate in individuality as well as the ultimate relaxation space’, Tom’s has reupholstered the inside in Nappa leather, with 15 colours of hand-sewn contrast stitching available. It looks the perfect place to have a rest and take the weight off your feet after a long day of show going.  

Presumably with an eye on some headlines when the show comes, Tom’s hasn’t revealed much about its widebody GR86 turbo. Talk about a car people want to know more of (the tuner’s website suggests there have been delays to the car’s final spec). As well as the pumped-up arches (and the forced induction), we’re told to expect improvements to suspension, brakes, ‘and other parts’. Given the very, very high bar set by the standard ’86, it’ll be fascinating to see what’s been achieved by a company like Tom’s and a turbocharger.  

A Tom’s twosome of Supras is aimed at very different customers, the ‘Tourer’ promising a more refined experience and the other channelling a Super GT car, with 460hp from the B58 straight six thanks to a new turbo and ECU work. There’s also KW suspension, Brembo brakes, chassis reinforcement and a very serious aerokit, previewing what a proper GR Supra could really be if Toyota could do it.  

Don’t forget that Lexus comes under the Toyota umbrella, too. With 5.0-litre V8s and dramatic looks, the flagship models are perfect fodder for some Tom’s tuning. We no longer get the GS F in Europe, but seemingly it remains on sale in Japan, so Tom’s has done the decent thing and employed former F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima to help them make a better one. So the underbody has been flattened out for better downforce, because that’s what racing drivers like, and a new stainless steel exhaust has also been fitted because that’s what everybody else likes. The other Lexus is an LC500 Convertible, described as ‘gorgeous and aggressive’, which sounds about right; it’s based on the drop-top but aims to channel the LC Super GT car, so it looks wider and lower than ever – perfect. 

The introduction of these six cars at Tokyo is part of a broader relaunch for Tom’s, which will now offer a separate site and service for complete cars. It’s not hard to see why there might have been an increase in demand with creations like this available. What more do you need in life than a Century and a widebody GR86? Expect more when the show opens on January 13th…

  • Lexus LC500 Convertible vs. 911 Carrera S Cabriolet 
  • Toyota GR86 vs. BBR MX-5 (ND) Supercharged 

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