New console will boast new buttons in totally different positions.
San Antonio-base tuner European Auto Group caught the world's attention earlier this year when it announced the first-ever manual-swapped fifth-generation Toyota Supra. EAG has already successfully created the world's only manual Ferrari 430 Scuderia and is in the process of building a manual 458 Italia, so it's well up to the task.
EAG owner Art Bartosik gave CarBuzz an exclusive update on how the build is going and to announce more details about what customers can expect from the swap. This won't just be a stock Supra with a manual gear lever, EAG is redesigning the entire dashboard to work with the new transmission.
"Currently, the interior is in the design phase with a preliminary sketch completed to a final rendering. Our designer is currently in Korea working with composite engineers to bring the center console to life in the same factory carbon fiber finish. The buttons for the lane assist, traction, auto stop/start, and the parking brake will be relocated and redeveloped into the new console," Bartosik says.
"The A/C controls will be moved back into the dash another 2.5 inches to make gears one, three, and five easier to access without hitting the display and controls. The driver's side angled knee guard will be cut back and replaced with a new piece matching the interior," he adds. Bartosik also addressed the shift knob, which he promised would look like the unit found on the Toyota GR HV Sports concept.
"The shift knob you see [in the rendering] is just generic, as we will work on a custom knob with a flip-up button for sport mode, which will be available later on as an option called 'The Concept Shifter.'"
As for all of the car's modern software, EAG has "acquired the newest version of BMW Diagnostic and Programming software and has found that the modules can be seamlessly retrofitted to a manual transmission. The car will have all other electronics and communication with all required sensors so the buttons and functions will work as intended from the factory," Bartosik promises.
In addition to a sketch and a nice rendering, EAG also provided a picture of a cutout next to the brake pedal (for the clutch pedal) and a picture showing the recess for the clutch master cylinder rod. The clutch assembly, clutch master cylinder, and lines are all factory OEM BMW components and aside from the custom center console, all parts will be sourced directly from BMW. Part of the research development for the hydraulic lines is being performed by UK-based Hydra-Test and the first transmission was sourced from Sussex Auto Parts.
Of course, this is still a modified car, meaning Toyota's three-year/36,000-mile warranty will be out the window. Fortunately, EAG says it will offer one-, two-, and three-year bumper-to-bumper warranties on the transmission swap and other major items like the alternator. Wear and tear items like the brakes and clutch won't be covered but "if Toyota doesn't pick up the warranty, then EAG will," says Bartosik.
As for allocations, EAG says it will perform 16 swaps in the next 12 months and "if demand is higher we will request more transmissions." Build slots are available now with a $6,000 deposit and a total cost of $12,000. This may sound like a lot of money just for a manual transmission, but as you can see, there is more work being done here and you will end up with one of the only fifth-gen manual Supras in the world. The builds are slated to begin after the 2019 SEMA show in November.
Bartosik anticipates the Supra build slots will go quickly and mentions that EAG has received calls for more Ferrari manual swaps and even the new C8 Chevrolet Corvette. "It looks like kids do want what their fathers and grandfathers enjoyed as car enthusiasts," he says, referring to driving a manual transmission car. Perhaps if there is enough demand, EAG will answer enthusiast's prayers by applying its manual-swapping skills on the new Corvette.