Monday Money – The Blockbuster Supra Star

Photo by Mike Kuhn

With the highly anticipated advent of the 2020 Toyota Supra, we thought it would be fitting to dedicate this weeks Monday Money to the car that can justify a $500,000 price tag: The 1993 A80 Supra.  

*Note from the editor: The A80 Supra is better known as the Mark IV Supra but Toyota did not officially adopt that nomenclature – so neither will we.

A heart of Iron

At the very heart of this car is the holy grail of tuner engines: The 2JZ-GTE. This three litre, six cylinder, twin turbocharged engine produces 272HP (276PS/206kW). Nothing too special, right? Well, in the early 90s, Japanese Automakers made a gentleman’s agreement to only produce cars that made less than 280HP for the sake of driver safety. However, in typical Toyota fashion, it was so over-engineered that the boost pressure can be tweaked to produce around 800HP on completely stock components! This is largely attributed to a stubbornly rugged cast iron block.

A Cultural Icon

Whatever your opinion of the Fast & Furious franchise may be – there’s no denying its influence on modern car culture. Thanks to these movies the Supra has become synonymous with the late Paul Walker in similar fashion to Steve McQueen and the 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback. Except, this car influenced a new generation of petrol heads to tune more affordable cars. The A80 Supra and its cockroach of an engine has reached a level of stardom worthy of a plaque on the Hollywood walk of fame.

A year after the first installment hit theaters, Toyota ceased production of the A80 Supra with no successor in sight. And due to the tuning potential of the 2JZ-GTE, the Supra is seldom seen in stock configuration, only adding to its demand.

In 2010, 8 years after discontinuation, rumours that Toyota and BMW were partnering to make a successor had surfaced and continued to for another 9 years. As it turns out, the rumours were true and the GR Supra will launch in 2020 sharing a platform with the 2019 BMW Z4.

So, are Supra enthusiasts happy?

Not quite. Early viewings of the GR Supra show that it has inherited more from BMW than Toyota especially where fans were least hoping: the engine. There’s nothing wrong with the engine except that it’s not a Toyota made successor to the 2JZ. This begs the question: Is this Supra by name only? 

For those that are unconvinced, the hunt for a “real” Supra continues…

By Jamil Jafri

Editor at The Mechanists