Every so often a vehicle rises above the rest. It simply outshines the others, grips the collective consciousness, and doesn’t let go. It lingers in the minds of fans and lives on in the stories they pass to other avid enthusiasts. The Toyota Supra is one such vehicle.
During its too-short time in production, the Toyota Supra changed the tone of what the Japanese automaker had to offer the world, proving that it deserved a place among performance cars. And while many may wonder how such a legendary vehicle could drop from the starting lineup while the Prius continues to live on, well, such is the way of this cold, cruel world.
Performance enthusiasts, foreign import nuts, and speed junkies will be happy to hear however, that the Toyota Supra will return in 2019. And since the details are being kept firmly under wraps, we felt a trip down memory lane was warranted.
Toyota Supra: Origins
In response to the pony car craze of the 1960s, Toyota North America introduced the Celica coupe as a performance offering in 1970. When the second generation debuted in 1978, Toyota also introduced the Toyota Celica XX, or as we all know it—the beloved Toyota Celica Supra. Longer and wider than the traditional Celica, the Supra also packed more power under the hood. More specifically, it had a six-cylinder version of the 2000 GT’s M engine.
To help design and develop the Supra, Toyota actually brought in British automaker Lotus, resulting in an affordable but more fun offshoot of the Celica. Throughout another generation, the Toyota Supra remained as a derivative of its big brother Celica but by 1986, Toyota knew it was time to branch off and set the little Supra free.
Both underwent redesigns, with the Celica adopting front-wheel-drive, a new design, and new engine. The Toyota Supra, however, kept its rear-wheel-drive and gained a bigger engine, providing 200 hp and 196 lb-ft of torque. But in 1987, magic arrived, and the Supra received a turbo-variant pushing out 230 hp and 240 lb-ft. With more power and state-of-the-art 80s technology, the Toyota Supra began to earn some deserved respect and applause.
Toyota Supra: Full Potential
In 1993 the Supra finally reached maturity, transforming into the sleek high performance butterfly we know and love today. This is the infamous Supra body style that we watched race alongside Vin Diesel in the The Fast and the Furious. Its appearance in film may have taken the world by storm, but not even Hollywood could dream up the genetics that made this car so special.
A turbocharged in-line six-cylinder known as the 2JZ sat under the hood. A super sturdy power plant that responded extremely well to modifications, it allowed enthusiasts to begin producing some incredible horsepower numbers. Even in stock, Automotive News reports, “the 320 hp sequential twin-turbo engine was the most powerful ever put under the hood of a Toyota-badged vehicle. The turbo could reach 60 mph in less than five seconds.”
For whatever reason, the Supra still didn’t catch on and dropped from American markets in 1998, then disappearing worldwide in 2002. In hindsight, the final form of the Toyota Supra was an amazing piece of machinery. (In fact, modern tuners have made the name popular again by buying up used models.) And looking back, we have to wonder what the hell America was thinking in the 90s to shun such a ride. But everybody loves a comeback, and luckily our idol is on its way.
Toyota Supra: Return to Glory
Toyota finally has heard the cry of the people, and it’s prepared to answer their prayers. In 2019, the Toyota Supra will be making a triumphant return to the world with an all new model. As mentioned, the automaker is doing a bang-up job of keeping details quiet. Although, Popular Mechanics shared a pretty big piece of information, reporting that “back in 2012, Toyota and BMW began a joint project to develop a common platform that is now shared between the 2019 Supra and 2019 BMW Z4. Sticking with tradition, the ’19 Supra will pack an inline six-cylinder engine under the front hood and run that power through the rear wheels. But because Toyota lacks an I6 of its own, the Japanese car will use Bavarian motivation.”
That’s right, just like they did in the very beginning, Toyota is bringing in the help of a reputable European car manufacturer to assist in designing the new Supra. This time, however, they’re working with the Germans. A fact that should have the high performance junkies of the world wringing their hands in anticipation. (We know because we’re among them.)
Set to debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the fifth gen Supra has some pretty big shoes to fill. Needless to say, we’re just itching to find out the full details of such a return.