Hey! What was that zooming by on the 605 Freeway? Was it a Porsche? No. Was it a Beemer? Nope, not that either. It was Sam Saure in his ’99 Toyota Solara called “Silver Streak!” Yikes, what kind of engine is that “Toy” running? Could it be one of those 220hp V-6 engines that Toyota Racing Development (TRD) supplied to one of only 35 made for the ’99 Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix show? You bet! “The car is #32 of 35 Solaras modified by TRD Pace Cars,” says Sam. “A day after the Grand Prix show this car was transferred to Wondries in Alhambra, California, where I purchased the car and drove it right out of the showroom.”
After making a few essential telephone calls, Sam was on his way to customizing his coupe. That meant going down to Dee Dee’s Auto Body in Whittier, California, for the grafting of the seven-piece TRD body kit from Molly Designs and the shaving of both emblems and door handles. The prepped car was then rolled over to 20/20 Auto Body Tech in Industry, California, where they painted the Toyota using PPG metallic silver with a gold pearl finish.
“Every shop I’ve gone to doesn’t even know what kind of car it is. It’s very unique on its own to be customized,” added Sam, as he told us what else went into the buildup. Looking in the trunk space, you will find hours of work that went into both the audio and air systems. As far as the air goes, “Rocky” over at MGT Customs off Whittier Boulevard installed a full-on setup using as his mechanical skills. Rocky hooked up not one, but three air tanks, one 7-gallon unit and two 3-gallon tanks which are chrome.
Why three tanks? Well, Sam needed to have enough air to clown around on the switches either at shows or on the street, so in this case more is better. The setup includes 1/2-inch air lines, eight 10mm SMC valves and four chrome air compressors pumping out loads of PSI to the air reservoirs which then sends the air to each air bag. The center console is home to five switches, while a kill switch is wired in case a valet get the urge to mess with the Solara. There’s more to the suspension as a set of Solara TRD Eibach springs and Bilstein struts and an upper strut tower bar add to the road running ride.
As for the audio setup, Jameel Farraj at Stereo 1 in Industry designed and installed the gear that would entertain Sammy and any occupant lucky enough to hitch a ride. A Pioneer Premier DEH900 head unit operates a load of gear that includes a pair of Clarion video monitors mounted where the sun visors would be found. Sam can activate either a Clarion hi-fi VCR, Nintendo 64 or Sony PS2 for a bit of game play against whoever is sitting shotgun. Jameel installed custom kick panels with Diamond Audio midrange separates and used Kicker mid-bass speakers and Cerwin-Vega tweeters in the door panels. Three chrome PPI amps sit beneath a Plexiglas false trunk floor, which sits right beneath a Plexiglas “shelf” that is home to the air compressors.
The mirrored bass enclosure adjacent to the amplifiers is home to a pair of 12-inch JL Audio W6 subwoofers. A Lighting Audio capacitor is wired in for those power spikes, while an MTX crossover, SVR battery and a knob that controls the bass gain help out in the tweaking of the 1,400-watt audio system. Fernie Navarro at Stereo 1 gets the credit for wiring the Toyota power windows, trunk release and door actuators to a Viper 800 alarm. He even wired a 12-channel remote to operate the air suspension that can freak those who don’t know about the souped-up Solara.
The upholstery found in the trunk and interior was done by Julio at E&J Upholstery in Santa Fe Springs, California. The two-tone skins of light gray and black cover all of the panels and seating, which features the Connected Car Club logo embroidered onto the headrests. Other interior benefits include a custom carbon fiber kit by Street Design in Whittier. Street Design also hooked up the matching pedals and carbon fiber decals found on the Solara. The windows were darkened by Kar Tint who used a titanium film to cover the glass. There is also some extra lighting in the trunk–neon and strobes activated by three dash-mounted switches do the trick.
The engine was another major task as Sam had St. George Auto Service in Whittier dismantle the engine bay so that they could send the components to be plated to Joe’s Polishing and Chrome Plating in Whittier. This meant the heat shields, alternator, engine mount brackets/supports, radiator and battery brackets, and strut bar. Joe also polished the intake manifold to Sam’s satisfaction. The chrome intake is from Matrix for better breathing. A few TRD tricks included in the purchase of the car are an exhaust system with a 304 stainless steel, free-flowing muffler and TRD tip. A five-speed quick shifter and a high-performance clutch transferring the power to the manual transmission. The wheels, 18-inch Fittipaldi alloys wrapped in Falken low-pro, high-performance radials go perfect with Sam’s design scheme.
“Thanks to Connected C.C. for the connections and the support that they gave me and to Gustavo at the Chevron car wash for one hell of a detail,” admits Sam. “Also to Jim at Stereo 1 for letting me use his shop like it was mine.”
Owner: Sam Saure
Vehicle: ’99 Toyota Solara
City/State: Whittier, California
Engine: Stock 3.0-liter V-6
Setup: Four Firestone air compressors, four air bags, eight SMC 10mm valves, 1/2-inch airlines, one 7-gallon air tank, two 3-gallon air tanks, five switches on console (also works off a Viper 12-channel remote control), Eibach springs, Bilstein struts
Tires: P225/40-ZR18 Falken
Wheels: 18-inch Fittipaldi Vella
Model: Mishel Thorpe