Last week, Jalopnik’s Black Flag ran an article about the Mark 3 Toyota Supra. Little did anyone (including me) know that it used to be a Group A rally car for the enduring Safari Rally from 1985 to 89! After reading, I was searching for more images with that beast, and came across a Mark 4 Supra.
Ralph Kosmides was the pilot of this 2JZ offroader. His history in motorsport began in his high school days when he raced a Ford Bronco in the Mint 400 at Nevada. 20 years later, Kosmides returned to off-road rallying when he bought a Ford Escort to compete in the SCCA Rally over 2.0-liter class. He won the Northwestern Region Championship in 1995. Next year, he decided to use a JZA80 Toyota Supra Turbo for his next season promoting himself to the Group 5 category. He would later on rally a Subaru Impreza on the same class in the early 2000s.
Fun Fact: Kosmides is also one of the founders of Ruby’s Diner, a 40s style diner that began in the West Coast. You can see from the lead picture that the restaurant is part of the car’s livery.
Sport Compact Car, Kosmides’ sponsor, ran an article in their January 1999 issue about Supra explaining what went and were kept from the stock parts, like the 16” alloys and Brembo brakes, and how it performed in the 1998 season. My favorite quote was near the end.
“If I don’t go for the rally championship next year, I might try to take the Supra to Pikes Peak. That’ll be tough, because the Supra doesn’t fit well into a class, but it’s one of those things that you try because you love competing.”
You can read the rest of the article courtesy of the New Zealand Toyota Supra MkIV Group website. For now, have a photo dump!
Photos: Sport Compact Car Magazine (January 1999)