Pages of History. Toyota Supra Virages
Pages of History. Toyota Supra Virages

Pages of History. Toyota Supra Virages

Toyota Supra is a sacred cow for fans of Japanese sports cars, Japanese design, and Japanese automotive technology. However, the last generation has somewhat shaken the position of adherents of Japanese technology, as the new Supra is assembled on the basis of a completely non-Japanese BMW. Nevertheless, the car has a rich and interesting history and has not yet said its last word…

Toyota Supra, as it were

Toyota Supra
All five generations of Toyota Supra since 1978

The sporty Toyota Supra means a lot to the company. Firstly, this model helped mark on the world map the country with the most progressive automotive engineering, secondly, it is the most famous model of the company (not counting the Corolla, of course, and Land Cruiser), and thirdly, it is practically the last hope for the revival of the affordable sports coupe as a class. Again, if not to take into account Subaru BRZ or Toyota GT 86.

Ten years before the…

Toyota Supra
1969 Concept EX1

Had it not been for the futuristic concept EX-1, shown by the Japanese at the 1969 auto show, who knows what the Supra would have looked like. The concept reflected the company’s vision of the then popular GT class, cars that could quickly and comfortably carry two passengers, a dog (well, two cats, if you like) and a suitcase over quite a long distance.

At the same time, Toyota said that it was not going to bring the model to life, but simply showed its position on this issue.  Nevertheless, already in 1970, fans of the brand could see some of the solutions of this toy on quite a working prototype, which was called the Toyota Celica.

1970 Toyota Celica 

Toyota Supra
1970 Celica production model

In general, the coupe, which was built on the units of the sedate Carina sedan, could not cause much excitement. Except for the fact that in the early seventies, anything that resembled a Ford Mustang was sold at lightning speed. The Celica was successfully sold on both sides of the ocean for eight years, but could not be considered as a worthy alternative to the Mustang.

1978 Toyota Celica Supra (MK1 A40/A50)

The name Toyota Supra carries a lot of information, but the history of this car began with the 1978 model year Toyota Celica Supra. The idea was to make a more practical trunk than the standard Selica, and in addition, to lengthen the hood to be able to stick an inline six from the GT 2000 model there.

Toyota Supra
The words Toyota and Supra first sounded together in 1978

A little later, the company produced the Celica XX in cooperation with the British from Lotus. Part of the components in this car were directly taken from the Lotus Excel. It was produced along with the base model until the generation change in 1981. The impetus for the development of a new branch of the lineup was the popularity of the competing Datsun 280ZX.

Toyota Supra ХХ
Toyota Celica Supra XX

The prefix “Supra” appeared in the name of the car because at that time Mexican beer Dos Equis XX was very popular. The company did not want to associate the sports coupe with alcohol, so they added their own name to the X.

Toyota Supra

To make the public understand that the new Supra is not a vegetable Celica, a 110-horsepower motor with 136 N∙m of torque was installed under the hood. Later, the power was raised to 116 horsepower, and in the domestic market there was even a turbo version, which gave 123 horsepower. The trucks were equipped with a 5-speed manual, but there were also versions with 4-ACP. However, all this cost decent money. The price of the first generation Toyota Supra was $32,000 in today’s money terms.

1982 Toyota Celica Supra МК2 (А60)

In the case of the second generation of the model, no one took the Celica label seriously. Exactly Toyota Supra was expected, a powerful and comfortable coupe. Under the hood of the second generation there was a 2-liter turbocharged engine with 175 horsepower. Some configurations, mainly in the home market, were equipped with a 6-cylinder 2.7-liter motor.

Toyota Supra
Toyota Supra, but still Celica

The design of the second generation was dictated by the wedge-shaped bodies popular in the 1980s, but the Supra also had its own thing – pop-up headlights. The more luxurious trims were sold under the letter L, the more performance ones with the P nameplate. Despite the fact that in 1985 Toyota was ready to release the MK3, the second generation was sold until the end of 1986.

Toyota Supra
For Toyota Supra MK2 remained second place in the British Cup

In motorsport, the Toyota Supra did not graze the rear either, although it failed to beat its main competitor in the 1985 British Touring Car Championship, the Mitsubishi Starion. The driver, Barry Sheen, finished second.

1986 Toyota Supra МК3 (А70)

A three-liter inline-six with 200 horses, a new body design and the absence of the name Celica in the name – this is what the new generation Toyota Supra MK3 has brought to the fans of the brand. In addition, Toyota for the first time introduced the ABS system and automatic transmission control mode selection on the production coupe.

Toyota Supra
Toyota Supra MK3 A70

The Toyota Supra Turbo-A special edition is especially popular with collectors.  The car was prepared for participation in the Group A championship, the engine was pumped up to 263 powers, which made the car the most powerful road coupe. The car accelerated to 100 km/h in 5 seconds and had a top speed of 270 km/h. No one in the world (among production cars) could show anything like that. Until Nissan released its Skyline R32 GT-R in 1989. And the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth was on its way.

Toyota Supra

1993 Toyota Supra МК4 (А80)

When we say “Toyota Supra,” most people around the world imagine this particular car. A movie star, superbly prepared already in the basic configuration, the car produced 220 horsepower at a glance. Not enough? Back then, Toyota offered a biturbo version of this motor with up to 326 horsepower, depending on the market.

Toyota Supra

The gorgeous 2JZ-GTE twin-turbo three-liter engine is still one of the most popular today. Modern tuners take up to 1000 horses off it, but on the Japanese market in 1993 there was a gentleman’s agreement between the manufacturers – no more than 280 horsepower.

There was also an atmospheric version of this 235 hp engine, with a 6-speed manual or a 4-speed hydro-mechanical automatic. It is clear that the automatic transmission is not taken seriously in this body and was sold mostly in the USA.

Toyota Supra

It was the swan song of the Toyota Supra. The lightest coupe body, the most powerful and technologically advanced engine, the most striking design of a production car, the most dynamic acceleration to a hundred (4.6 s, faster than the Porsche 911 Carrera)…

Still, this did not save the model from falling sales. In 1996, the company discontinued sales in the UK due to low demand, in 1998 sales in the US were discontinued, and the last production Toyota Supra was released in 2002 in Japan.

Toyota Supra

New life Toyota Supra MK 5 (A90) 2020

Toyota Supra
2020 Toyota Supra MK 5 (A90)

At the end of 2018, after a long attack with teasers and hints at the revival of the legend, Toyota released a new version into production. We have repeatedly and in detail told about the adventures of the new Supra on the way to the assembly line, its kinship with the new generation of BMW Z4 and the work of Gazoo Racing atelier on this project.

Toyota Supra

The new 2020 Toyota Supra can be treated any way you want, but it’s still nice that the company at least doesn’t forget its roots and continues to develop, to the extent of the global market, the classic rear-wheel-drive road coupe project.


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