Toyota’s most famous sports car started out as a trim level for the Celica lineup when it was introduced in 1978.
Since then, the Supra has always been a purpose-built sports car.
And a powerful one at that evidenced by the fact that the MK 1’s hood was stretched compared to the Celica it was derived from to accommodate a larger 2.6-liter inline-six engine.
Throughout its generations it’s received upgrades to features like its suspension, chassis and engine to become the legendary MK4 Supra.
Come with us as we take a look at what makes Toyota Supras so fast as well as its popularity and why it’s so expensive.
Why Are Supras So Special?
It’s what’s under the skin that makes these cars so fast. The Supra emerged at a time when Japanese sports cars were yet to be taken seriously.
Built in 1978, the MK1 arrived in the United States in 1979 as a trim level for the Celica.
The wheelbase was stretched 5.1 inches to accommodate a larger 2.6-liter inline six making 110 horsepower.
By swapping out the live rear axle for independent semi-trailing arms, the MK2 Celica Supra gained some agility which livened up the car’s performance in 1981.
In 1986 the MK3 Supra dropped the Celica name to become the Supra.
Engine displacement grew from a 2.8-liter to a 3.0-liter inline-six making 200 horsepower and 230 HP with turbos.
Then came the MK4 Supra in 1993 completely changing the game with the famed 3.0-liter inline-six 2JZ engine making 220 HP and 320 HP with turbos.
What makes the Toyota Supra so special is that it’s one of the cars that helped Japanese sports cars to finally be taken seriously.
The 2JZ Engine
Tunability is perhaps the single greatest aspect of the 2JZ engine lending the Toyota Supra its legendary status.
It came in either a GE (non-turbo) or GTE (turbo) version. Twin turbos helps the 2JZ reach 321 horsepower without changing any internals.
That’s enough power to propel the car to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, making the MK4 Supra one of the fastest production cars on the planet.
Why Is a Toyota Supra So Powerful?
What makes the Toyota Supra so powerful is the fact that it’s overengineered.
The Japanese auto manufacturer started out with simple cars like the 1966 Corolla to enter into the world market.
Once Toyota got a foothold, they were able to capitalize on what they’d learned to deliver even more powerful and exciting cars.
Even the first-generation Corolla was over engineered. At a time when 1.0-liter engines were the norm for family cars.
Toyota opted to give the Corolla a 1.1-liter engine to help it stand out in the marketplace.
That same spirit led to the development of the 2JZ motor. It was developed to make 600 horsepower right from factory adding to its reliability.
Why Are Supras So Popular?
I’d like to say that the only reason why these cars have been so popular for over twenty years is because of all the places they’ve appeared in pop culture.
But that would take away from the fact that these cars began gathering a cult following long before video games like Grand Turismo and the Need for Speed series popularized them.
Like the Ford Mustang for baby boomers, the Toyota Supra captured the attention of gen Xrs and millennials alike.
Even if you’re a fan of muscle cars, you have to respect the Supra. It follows the basic muscle car formula: a lightweight body, big engine and rear wheel drive.
Which gives us a clue as to why the Toyota Supra is so popular – it’s got something for everyone.
Is a Supra Faster Than a Bugatti?
image source: YahooAutos
Since its launch in 2005, the Bugatti Veyron was a very special super car of unmatched quality. In ultimate trim, it’s capable of 1200 horsepower.
Although it’s no slouch. It’ll set you back something like 1.7 million dollars to get your hands on one.
Comparatively, even though MK4 Supra prices have reached astronomical heights.
For a fraction of the price of a Veyron, you can get the same horsepower from a Supra. Actually, a lot more horsepower.
There’s a monster turbocharged 1995 Toyota Supra that was on sale on eBay making, get this… 1,342 horsepower.
The obvious answer would be to say the MK4 Supra.
But that answer snubs all the other special Supras that made the fourth generation Supra possible.
Don’t sleep on the Supras that came before like the 1982 Celica Supra.
From its iconic pop-up headlights to its reliable engine, this was the generation that ushered in the Supra’s high performance street cred.
Then there’s the MK3 Supra all new for 1986. The 1988 version introduced more luxury features and an engine that increased in horsepower to 200.
The quality of your sound system with thumping bass became a big deal in the mid-90s.
Toyota launched a fifteenth anniversary limited edition Supra in 1994 featuring amazing stereo quality.
Why Supras Are So Expensive?
Supras are expensive because they’re rare. We covered this in another article which you can read here.
Unlike many Toyota cars, the Supra never saw large production numbers. This low volume has helped the sports car retain its value over the years.
Plus, the Toyota Supra has become a status symbol.
As such, to the utter dismay of true fanboys and girls, collectors as well as enthusiasts are snapping them off the market left and right adding to the scarcity of the Supra and increasing its price.
Why an A80 Supra Sold for Over $200K
A red 1995 turbo charged Supra listed on Bring a Trailer sold for an eye watering $200,000.
The reasons why it was able to command such a premium is because it’s a one owner car with only 7000 original miles.
It has a six-speed manual transmission mated to a 2JZ-GTE inline six. And it’s in immaculate condition.
All in all, an ideal example of a MK4 Supra demonstrating the going rate for not just a fourth gen Supra, but any Supra with a clean history.
The New Toyota Supra
Given the awesomeness of all the Supras that have come before under the house of Toyota.
I have a hard time calling this latest car a Supra. In so many ways, it’s such a compromise to what the original car was.
And that’s through no fault of the car itself. It pleases and surprises with performance and refinement.
But as you look around the interior there’s just too much reminding you of BMW. Even the driving dynamics are more Bimmer than Toyota.
Sure, its propelled by a turbocharged 3.0 liter inline-six same as the MK4 Supra.
But any upgrades you want to make will require a trip to BMW rather than Toyota which is why this is not a Supra.