How much do you know about Toyota’s flagship sports car? Like the Toyota brand itself, the Supra has come a long way since it first arrived in the late 1970s. Keep reading to learn about the Toyota Supra’s history, and to see plenty of Supra photos.
1st Gen: 1978-81 Celica Supra (A40/A50)
The original Supra was released as a grand touring version of Toyota’s popular, sporty, and affordable Celica platform. Known as the Celica XX (pronounced “Double X”) in Japan and Celica Supra in other markets, it bore a similar appearance to the smaller four-cylinder Celica but featured a 5.5-inch-longer wheelbase, gained 7.7 inches in length, and sat 1.2 inches closer to the ground. The curb weight was roughly 500 pounds greater than the Celica due to the increased proportions and the iron block of its inline six-cylinder engine. The Celica Supra’s (A40/A50) initial powerplants included the 2.0-liter M-EU or 2.6-liter 4M-E engines. By 1980, Celica Supras outside Japan were powered by a 2.8-liter 5M-E engine. Toyota offered the Celica Supra with either a W50 five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission.
2nd Gen: 1982-86 Celica Supra (A60)
The successor Celica Supra (A60) featured a slightly shorter wheelbase while gaining 200 pounds and just under 2 inches in length and width compared to the first Celica Supra. However, even the casual observer could tell that Toyota had infused the A60 with more aggressive styling to accompany the greater performance it offered over the Celica. The longer hoodline and pop-up headlights, along with the factory fender flares and wing treatments (included with the P-Type performance package) easily distinguished the A60 from the Celica. Even the hatch decal on the later variants just said “Supra.” Under the hood, just about every North American A60 rolled off the assembly line with some variant of the newer 2.8-liter 5M-GE engine. The U.S. and Canadian versions started off with 145 hp and 155 lb-ft torque in 1982 and finished with 161 hp and 169 lb-ft torque by model year 1985. Power transferred from the crankshaft to the wheels by way of a W58 five-speed manual transmission or an A43DE four-speed slushbox.
3rd Gen: 1987-92 Supra (A70)
The third generation (A70) made its debut in 1986 as simply “Supra.” Toyota ensured that the Supra’s ties to the Celica were completely severed, leaving the A70 to shine as its own model line. Enthusiasts affectionately refer to the A70 as the “Supra Mk III,” following a similar naming convention as some of the European marques. Toyota shortened the wheelbase and the body relative to the A60. Yet the Mk III gained anywhere from 200 to 600 additional pounds thanks to such technological enhancements like ABS and Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension (TEMS) along with double A-arm suspension at all four corners. A new 3.0-liter naturally aspirated DOHC 7M-GE engine provided 200 horsepower to the 1986 Supras. In 1987, Toyota added the Supra Turbo to its lineup, equipped with a 232-hp turbocharged 7M-GTE engine, the first forced-induction Supra for the U.S. market. Toyota’s performance focus is also reflected in the A70’s interior, as the more driver-centric ergonomics delivered a sportier feel to anyone who got behind the wheel.
4th Gen: 1993-98 Supra (A80)
Developed just as Japan’s bubble economy burst, Toyota’s fourth-generation Supra arrived on U.S. shores in the latter half of 1993. Shorter, wider, and lower than any of its predecessors, the A80’s smooth yet bold and swollen body lines demanded the attention of all. If its swoopy good looks weren’t enough to warrant recognition, then its 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged 2JZ-GTE engine surely would. This race-bred mill (derived from Toyota’s JGTC competition efforts) produced 320 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque from the factory. The A80 relied on a Getrag V160 six-speed manual transmission to convert torque at the crankshaft. Toyota also furthered the evolution of its driver-centric interior. Passengers seemed merely optional. Slipping behind the wheel of an A80 puts you into the cockpit of a fighter jet for the ground. Strong aftermarket support and development proved that the stock 2JZ rotating assembly could support more than 800 horsepower, while a fortified engine with the appropriate ancillary modifications could reach and eclipse the 2,000-horsepower mark. This platform and powertrain have proven to deliver a high level of performance on circuits, dragstrips, and runways for more than 20 years.
5th Gen: 2020 Supra-(A90)
Although part of a collaboration with BMW, the Supra drives like nothing else on the road. Back to serve as a flagship sports car for Toyota, the new Supra is powered by a 335-hp turbocharged inline-six with 369 lb-ft of torque, but expect other variants in the years to come. After more than two decades without a Supra in the lineup, the legendary nameplate is back, fitting above the more affordable rear-drive 86.