CARS WE SEE AROUND HERE – TOYOTA SUPRA

December 14th, 2021

We do wonder, looking at the original Supra from 1981, whether someone at Toyota wasn’t just a bit too fond of the Japanese mecha cartooning style and decided to produce a car with similar super robotic attributes.

This A60 model was the second version of the Supra and the first to be sold in Australia. The car was based on an RA40 series Celica but with a 2.8-litre engine replacing the 2.0-litre four, pumped out wheel arches covering supersized tyres and a spoiler behind the rear hatch.

Standard A60 Supras made 108kW but that could be increased to around 200kW. In such form the cars competed in rallying with some success before the international rally world was overwhelmed by all-wheel drive.

They could also be made into a competent circuit racing contender; one car in the British Touring Car championship managing several Top Five event finishes when driven by former World Motorcycling Champion Barry Sheene.

A complete engineering and aesthetic rethink greeted the Generation Three Supra that arrived here in 1986. Designated MA70, this version used Cressida underpinnings topped by a stylish two-door body. The basic engine was 3.0 litres with fuel injection but a turbocharged version with 172kW was optional.

No longer a back-street café racer with nasty handling habits, the new Supra was promoted as executive transport for those in the market for a Nissan 300ZX or even BMW and did well at its new task.

However, there still were people keen to race Supras, especially in Australia where Group E Production Car racing saw turbo versions of the MA70 Supra, Nissan 300ZX and Mazda RX7 stage some enthralling battles.

Australia didn’t even see the next generation of Supra – well not via official Toyota channels anyway. The completely revamped SZ (3.0-litre non-turbo) and RZ (3.0-litre twin turbo) cars were launched onto the Japanese market in 1993 and started appearing on Australian roads as Low Volume Imports just a few years later.

Performance even from the 168kW non-turbo version was just fine but in twin-turbo form the RZ Supra offered rocket ship acceleration with a best 0-100km/h time recorded by a factory specification car of 4.6 seconds.

The latest GR model which appeared in 2019 shares its architecture and major mechanical components with BMW’s Z4 coupe, including 2.0 and 3.0-litre turbocharged engines.

In Australia, the new Supra currently costs around $100,000 and has been credited with stimulating so much interest in 25-year-old RZ models that some of those cars now sell for more money than a new one.

If you own or want to buy any kind of Supra and intend for it to travel minimal distances each year, then consult Enthusiast Insurance about premiums that reward limited vehicle use.

Enthusiast Insurance is available online and 24 hours per day, every day. To compare Enthusiast’s rates and coverage for your vehicle, or one you are considering, log into www.enthusiast.com.au and select Quick Quote.

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