Major League Supra: Atlanta Braves Tyler Flowers’ Home Run Toyota
Most car guys have a dream car. For some, it’s that poster perfect supercar, while others prefer a more customized vehicle. For the Atlanta Braves catcher, Tyler Flowers, that dream machine was a fourth generation Toyota Supra. As is the case with many dream cars, Flowers’ love for the Mark IV Supra started with a simple attraction to the timeless styling.
Similar to many car enthusiasts of a particular decade, the Supra’s breakout role in the original Fast and Furious film would help fuel his want for the highly-sought-after Japanese muscle car. Moving his way up through the minor leagues, it wouldn’t be until be until 2009 when Flowers broke into the majors that he could finally secure his dream car. However, finding that perfect car proved to be a challenge. This is primarily due to the fact that the last year of the Supra in the U.S. was 1998.
Having only a five-year window to locate his ideal ’93-’98 Supra, he began the often painful used car search. He states there were a good assortment of modified turn-key Supras he found, but they were either out of his budget at the time or clearly driven hard and put up wet. This led him to adjust his search away from the more desirable twin-turbo-powered Supras, and focus on the naturally aspirated version. His thought at the time was an N/A car was less like to be abused or heavily modified, leaving him more opportunities to upgrade as he saw fit.
After an extensive search, he landed on a ’97 Toyota Supra N/A in Texas. Once securing the car, Flowers immediately went to work to transform it into the car he always wanted. We caught up with Flowers during the off season while visiting Shine Auto Salon in Alpharetta, Georgia. There, the car was in for a ceramic paint treatment, something that Shine specializes in. While you can learn more about the car from Flowers himself in the video above, we’re highlighting some of the standout features of the pro baller's car below.
Supra purists may scoff at the idea of an N/A Supra as the original 2JZ-GE version of the engine only put out a lowly 230hp compared to the more desirable 320hp base on the 2JZ-GTE. Thankfully, there’s plenty of aftermarket support for the N/A engine.
To give the car a serious horsepower boost, a Precision 6466 Gen 2 turbo was installed along with an ETS four-inch core intercooler, custom 4-inch turbo-back exhaust and HKS titanium muffler. To balance the air and fuel, a custom piggy-back tuner module was used, while a Mishimoto radiator helps keep the car running cool.
Flowers learned the hard (expensive) way that the N/A version of the car wasn’t equipped to handle the engine's newfound power. This led to a complete transmission swap to the more robust Getrag V160 six-speed manual. Along with this came an entirely new TRD rear differential and custom rear driveshaft.
Flowers was a fan of the wide-body conversions he’d seen for the Mark IV Supra, but not the hefty price tag they commanded. He came up with a creative solution to his wide-body thirst by having Shine Auto Project carbon fiber side skirts custom fit to his car. This labor-intensive conversion took an entire baseball season to complete. The conversion ended up making the car a bit wider than Flowers had originally planned, but the bonus width ended up working out perfectly for the tire and wheel combo he was aiming for.
To increase the handling and stance of the car, TEIN coilovers were secured at all four corners. The carbon-fiber side-air diverters were sourced from Shine as well.
One of the first modifications to the car was the APR Performance GTC-300 carbon-fiber wing. As more carbon-fiber bits were added on, the car would end up with a Black Magic Pearl paint job to blend all of the mods more seamlessly.
Up front, more carbon fiber appointments were secured as a SEIBON hood works with a Shine splitter. Projector headlights with LED halos ensures Flowers excellent visibility when he’s heading home from night games.
Putting the power to the ground are a set of Nitto’s Ultra High Performance INVO tires at all four corners. Flower’s states the INVO tires were at the top of his list when looking for tires as the price, performance and quality of the treads made them a go-to.
A 13-inch-wide rear and 11-inch-wide front ADV1 TF5 custom forged wheel set fits nicely under the car. Stopping the 19-inch-wheels are massive Brembo rotors, pads and calipers.
Converting from what used to be a tan interior to a black one was just one of the many customized interior options. Along with an assortment of Pro Sport digital gauges and a cleverly placed push-to-start button, the classic Toyota buckets were pulled in favor of set of Recaro EVO 9 MR seats.
With only 50,000 miles on the clock, Flowers’ Supra is an amazing example of what you can do with a 20-year-old car. While the professional athlete stays busy during the season, he always makes sure to get behind the wheel of the Supra when he can. Future mods include swapping out the original N/A engine for the more powerful turbo’d 2JZ-GTE.
While the Supra was his dream car, it’s not the only eye-catching rig in Flowers’ car collection. For more practical needs, you can find him behind the wheel of his Duramax-powered ’15 GMC Denali. Of course, it too has been modified, courtesy of an 11-inch suspension lift and 38-inch-tall Nitto Trail Grapplers. When he’s looking to feel a little more domestic muscle, he opts for his ’17 ACR edition Viper. There’s also an M3 that gets a little love in there too.
Hard Facts: Tyler Flowers' '97 Toyota Supra
|ENGINE||2JZ-GE w/turbo upgrade|
|WHEELS||19x11 (front) 19x13 (rear) ADV1 TF5|
|TIRES||275/30 ZR19 (front) 315/25 ZR19 (rear) Nitto INVO|
|MISC||Shine carbon fiber side skirts, splitter, side-air diverters, and rear diffuser, APR GTC 300 carbon fiber spoiler, SEIBON carbon fiber hood, Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, Mishimoto radiator, Pro Sport gauges|