The Life of a Legend
Supra. A Latin word meaning ‘above’ or ‘transcending’. And fittingly, for a vehicle loved by so many, the name of Toyota’s most famous sports car.
Today, over 16 years since production ended, the Supra still enjoys iconic status among sports car fans.
From a starring role in the first Fast and the Furious movie to the choice of wheels for gamers in Gran Turismo®, the Supra has cemented its place in popular culture and inspired young and old around the world.
The Influence of an Icon
The Supra bloodline can actually be traced back to the beautiful Toyota 2000GT of the ’60s.
With its long, sweeping bonnet, rear-biased cabin and in-line, 6-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive layout, the 2000GT’s influence can be felt in every incarnation of the Supra.
The Soul of Supra
Two fundamental ingredients can be traced through each generation of Supra:
a smooth, responsive straight 6-cylinder engine as well as a front engine, rear-wheel drive
configuration for the purest possible driving experience.
The Supra story starts with Celica, which provided the base for the original Toyota Celica Supra (A40) in 1978 with a lengthened chassis and an advanced in-line 6-cylinder engine.
The crisp lines and pop-up headlights of the second-gen Supra amplified its stunning '80s aesthetic, along with its larger wheels and tires, and bulging fibreglass flares.
Toyota engineers built the A70 from the ground up with pure performance in mind. It was the first Supra to feature a turbocharged engine, power-enhancing variable air induction and electronically adjustable dampers.
With its near-perfect weight balance, impressive 2JZ engine and unmistakable style, the A80 Supra is an artful blend of style, technology and performance.
"Just as athletes test their capabilities by competing with all their strength in the Olympics, automakers use racing as an opportunity to push a vehicle's performance to the limits and compete for supremacy, enabling them to discover new ways of advancing automotive technology."
- Kiichiro Toyoda (Toyota's founder) 1952
A Man on a Mission
Behind every great car, lies a great mind. In the case of the new Toyota Supra, the vision and drive came from a veteran of Toyota, Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer of the A90 project.
Growing up as the son of a rally driver, it comes as no surprise that Tada-san became the petrolhead he is today. After a spell as his father's co-driver, he progressed to rally driving, and fondly recalls tweaking and adjusting the settings of his first car, a Corolla AE86, so that it handled the way he liked it.
After joining Toyota in 1987, Tada-san spent his time developing cutting-edge ABS technology for Toyota's rally team. In the late-90s he worked with his then-boss Isao Tsuzuki, chief engineer of many of Toyota's greatest sports cars including Celica, MR2 and the A80 Supra, gaining the broader skills and experience he needed on vehicles like the family-orientated Toyota Raum.
The Return of Supra
Some years later, the opportunity he'd been dreaming of finally arrived: to make a car that delivers pure driving pleasure and bring sports car fans back to Toyota. That car was the GT86. Toyota's new sports car excelled at giving drivers of all abilities the confidence to have fun at the wheel again and garnered plaudits from the world's media for the purity of its drive.
Just as the GT86 began to hit our roads in 2012, Tada-san's ultimate brief came in. This one would call on all his experience, determination and tenacity. This was his chance to make a sports car without compromise, one that delivered the pinnacle in driving pleasure and with it a name that had been away too long.
The return of Supra.
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