A brief history of the Toyota Supra

The Supra Mark IV was shorter, lower and wider than its predecessor.

The Toyota FT-1 concept has triggered discussions as to whether it is a design study for a next-generation Supra sports car. Toyota Motor Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada has publicly proclaimed that the brand needs a return of its iconic Supra. And CEO Akio Toyota's lead-footed racing habits lend credibility to the idea that he won't be bullied by bean-counters who feel a sports car doesn't make financial sense.

What follows is a brief history of the Supra, to see what has come before:

1979 model year: Toyota introduces the Celica Supra Mk I, an offshoot of the Celica coupe, but wider, longer and more powerful. The Supra's 110hp 2.6-liter inline-6 engine was the first Toyota production engine to be equipped with electronic fuel injection. The Supra was available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, and came standard with four-wheel-independent suspension and disc brakes at all corners.

1981: Engine upgraded to 2.8 liters, 116hp.

1982: A complete redesign with the Mark II edition, marking the arrival of Toyota's angular styling language. Longer and wider than its predecessor, but with a shorter wheelbase. Power under the hood jumps to 145hp with a twin-cam engine, with a 0-60 time of 9.8 seconds.

1986: This was the era of four-year product cycles. New sheet metal for the Supra Mark III was more refined, and the engine received a power boost to 200hp with a 3.0-liter inline-six. The Supra name was detached from the Celica nameplate.

1987: A turbocharged engine variant boosts power to 232hp.

1993: The Supra Mark IV arrives, with supercar aspirations -- shorter, lower and wider than its predecessor. The base 3.0-liter inline-six made 220hp, while the 320hp sequential twin-turbo was the most power ever put under the hood of a Toyota-badged vehicle. The turbo could reach 60 mph in less than five seconds.

1996: The strong yen pushes the Supra's U.S. sticker price beyond $40,000 -- far too steep for many buyers. Sales plummet. Toyota releases a stripped Supra with a $31,000 sticker price. It doesn't help.

1999: Toyota stops building the Supra. A trickle of sales continues into 2000.

You can reach Mark Rechtin at mrechtin@crain.com -- Follow Mark on Twitter: @markrechtin

0

Shares

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Over the last few months, Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Newsletters