Toyota Supra (A80) | Spotted

Toyota Supra (A80) | Spotted

Tuesday 14th January

Toyota Supra (A80) | Spotted

As the Japanese marque launches a new homegrown performance hero, we seek out its last one...



Toyota potentially won 2020 just a few days in with the announcement of the WRC homologation GR Yaris, its first wholly in-house-developed all-wheel drive performance machine for 20 years. Unlike the BMW-influenced GR Supra and Subaru-powered GT86, the bespoke-platformed Yaris was created only by the Japanese company's road and rallying divisions, which means four-time WRC World Drivers' Champion Tommi MΓ€kinen had some input into the setup. Awesome.

Naturally, the excitement surrounding such a car, not to mention the accompanying announcement of a return to production for old Supra parts, had us dreaming up ways of buying a former Toyota hero, the A80. Particularly a twin turbocharged example, in which a gentleman's agreement-breaking 324hp and nineties looks combined to create a new template for desirable Japanese performance cars. With a blown 3.0-litre straight-six under the bonnet and an enormous fixed rear wing on the tail, it's been a formula for never-ending admiration.


The Fast and Furious films helped re-boost the appeal for the model a few years into its production life, but they also encouraged many owners to frankly ruin their machines with outrageous modifications. Some were simply breathed-on with more power; the legendary 2JZ-GTE six being heavily catered for on the aftermarket and, in some cases, reaching four-figure outputs. But too many cars found themselves dressed in offensive bodykits and paintjobs. A shame now more than ever, with the knowledge of just how special the original specification car was.

Even with so much power on offer, Toyota wanted to ensure the car remained light. So aluminium was used to make the bonnet, suspension componentry and bumper supports. A single exhaust was chosen to save weight when a two-pipe alternative was found to deliver no more power. And there were savings in the cabin, too, with no steering column telescopic adjustment, a magnesium steering-wheel mount and - no joke - hollow carpet fibres. But the car did get twin airbags, electric seats and a healthy dose of period tech, all fitted into a fantastic wraparound dashboard.

Tipping the scales just under 1,600kg, it's never been a featherweight, but it has a better horsepower per tonne than the 348, Ferrari's mid-engined V8 offering of the day. And thanks to a limited-slip diff, there are true sports car-like dynamics held within the Supra's rear-drive chassis. The motor's torque delivery might be savage - there is lag to contend with - but the A80 Supra has earned itself a reputation for being brilliantly judged. It certainly isn't out to kill you, although with a top speed supposedly far above the 155mph limiter, the twin-turbo car is apparently well-catered to let you try for yourself.


Given the aforementioned period of F&F modifications and risks to survival associated with such a high-performance car, it's refreshing to see several unmolested A80s on PH's classifieds. A80s seem to have been crawling out of the woodwork in recent years, as values increase (remember last year's Β£390k one?) and owners seek to repair and restore examples. Although only 200 A80s were officially produced for the UK, meaning a large portion are actually imported JDM cars.

Today's Spotted is an original UK car, though, a manual with two former keepers and 100,000 miles on the clock. As those enormous power figures proved, Toyota's old straight-six is a tough lump, so those miles need not be of significant concern - and they equate to an average of fewer than 4,000 per year for this 1994 model. It looks to be remarkably healthy, although at just shy of Β£30k it's also sat among some of the best-kept cars currently for sale. This one appears deserving of that ranking, though - and should something go wrong, there's always Toyota's new parts supply to turn to.


SPECIFICATION - TOYOTA SUPRA (A80)

Engine: 2,997cc, straight six, twin-turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power(hp): 324@5,600rpm
Torque(lb ft): 315@4,000rpm
MPG: 25
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1994
Recorded mileage: 100,000
Price new: Β£42,839 (UK price 1996)
Yours for: Β£29,995

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Author
Discussion

T1berious

Original Poster:

1,225 posts

104 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Yes, Yes please.

rider73

364 posts

26 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
I cry when i see these.

I had a pristine example of a storm blue TT JDM GZ spec (all the options) that i bought imported at 11K and sold 3 years later in even better condition for just under 8K then F&F made them super popular and now they go for silly money......... and no, no silly bodykits, just delimited and a minor exhaust tweek when the original was leaking.utter monsters.and utterly reliable.

BIST0

1,198 posts

191 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
I drove a standard example in period (or shortly after) and was disappointed by the experience. It was quite a numb steer, a bit dreary inside (even for the time) and frankly not particularly thrilling. I couldn’t understand the premium and bought a TT 300ZX instead, which IMO is an underrated car. Perhaps the Supras only come alive when lightly modified, like the Skyline GTRs of the time.

So why is it that they keep tempting me now?! I didn’t want one then, why do I want one 20 years later?! Damn you fickle car brain!

swampy442

182 posts

160 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
BIST0 said:
I drove a standard example in period (or shortly after) and was disappointed by the experience. It was quite a numb steer, a bit dreary inside (even for the time) and frankly not particularly thrilling. I couldn’t understand the premium and bought a TT 300ZX instead, which IMO is an underrated car. Perhaps the Supras only come alive when lightly modified, like the Skyline GTRs of the time.

So why is it that they keep tempting me now?! I didn’t want one then, why do I want one 20 years later?! Damn you fickle car brain!
This is the trap everyone falls in to, a Supra isn't a sports car, it isn't even a performance car, its a GT cruiser, a car to pound the miles out in.

UK spec cars are crazy money now, but rust is a killer on them so be sure to get the boroscope out and get behind those skirts

Veeayt

2,907 posts

154 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Never seen that bonnet scoop before. Looks stupid and out of place.

rider73

364 posts

26 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Veeayt said:
Never seen that bonnet scoop before. Looks stupid and out of place.
IIRC it was standard on all UK versions

AmosMoses

3,585 posts

114 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
I adore the Mk4 Supra, being of the Gran Turismo and F&F generation it is one of those untouchable cars. Love seeing them with crazy huge single turbos and slicks. However a fairly standard car does have some appeal, it's a shame the prices are now mad.

fullleather

148 posts

70 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Autocar magazine 1993. They considered a V8 but in the end, chose the straight 6 due to its ability to package the twin turbos, it feels more like a V8 than an blown 6 however. The Supra has a soft speed limiter, which will allow the car to exceed 180mph. My dad had one finished in storm blue, it replaced the older 3.0i turbo barge ;-)

Edited by fullleather on Tuesday 14th January 09:07

andy43

6,304 posts

203 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
£30k? rofl

Aluxo

82 posts

20 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
BIST0 said:
I drove a standard example in period (or shortly after) and was disappointed by the experience. It was quite a numb steer, a bit dreary inside (even for the time) and frankly not particularly thrilling. I couldn’t understand the premium and bought a TT 300ZX instead, which IMO is an underrated car. Perhaps the Supras only come alive when lightly modified, like the Skyline GTRs of the time.

So why is it that they keep tempting me now?! I didn’t want one then, why do I want one 20 years later?! Damn you fickle car brain!
The 300ZX had issues with cooling if i remember correctly. And as such could not get as readily nodded as the Supra or GTR. And it never benefitted from the halo effect of F&F.
Very nice car though, would get a Z over a Supra today too (but prefer the R34 still...)

st3ven1

139 posts

156 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Veeayt said:
Never seen that bonnet scoop before. Looks stupid and out of place.
That's an OEM bonnet scoop, they were fitted to all of the UK Spec cars.
This was done as the Euro/UK spec cars had to pass stricter emissions regulations, to achieve this Toyota fitted them with EGR valve. This directed hot exhaust gas into cylinder 5 and hence the need for extra cooling in that area. The bonnet scoop directs air into a snorkel which is pointed at the rear of the engine around cylinder 5 & 6.

The UK/Euro spec was also fitted with a differential oil cooler, bigger injectors and slightly different camshaft to cope with higher speed cruising that was possible compared to the 112mph limiters fitted to JDM cars.

That particular car has aftermarket gauges fitted to the dash, facelift JDM front indicators and a JDM front bumper. The UK spec bumper had black headlight washers protruding under the headlights.

Equus

7,140 posts

50 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
andy43 said:
£30k? rofl
My thoughts too. For a 26 year old Toyota?

I think they've got the decimal point in the wrong place, again?

andy43

6,304 posts

203 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Equus said:
andy43 said:
£30k? rofl
My thoughts too. For a 26 year old Toyota?

I think they've got the decimal point in the wrong place, again?
Yup. With 100k on it!
Or choose Aston Vantage, E92 M3 (or a three year old M3 turbo), Maser GT, 6.2 or 4.0 C63... nuts.

Butter Face

19,826 posts

109 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
andy43 said:
Equus said:
andy43 said:
£30k? rofl
My thoughts too. For a 26 year old Toyota?

I think they've got the decimal point in the wrong place, again?
Yup. With 100k on it!
Or choose Aston Vantage, E92 M3 (or a three year old M3 turbo), Maser GT, 6.2 or 4.0 C63... nuts.
I think you're all missing the following/legacy of these cars. A whole generation has grown up with the Supra as 'the' car to have. Tuners dream, F&F star etc etc.

UKDM cars are rarer than hens teeth and as above have different parts than the JDM counterpart (ceramic turbos as well I think) so this car will likely be bought by a big Supra fan to be kept nice and OEM.

Think of it in the realms of Ford RS products and you're on the same path.

swampy442

182 posts

160 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
andy43 said:
£30k? rofl
The market is very high right now right across the world, and for buyers, a UK spec manual is right at the top of list, I doubt it will hang about long.

I bought an NA auto for a grand 5 years ago, same car is 6 or 7 now. Sure there's tons of dreamers and greedy pricks out there, but people pay for the right car.

thegreenhell

6,381 posts

168 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Pedant alert
article said:
Tipping the scales just under 1,600kg, it's never been a featherweight, but it has a better horsepower per tonne than the 348, Ferrari's mid-engined V8 offering of the day.
No it doesn't, not even close. The Ferrari was over 200kg lighter with near identical horsepower.

Equus

7,140 posts

50 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Butter Face said:
I think you're all missing the following/legacy of these cars.
Yes, obviously.

Being old enough to remember them being regarded as a bit 'council' when new, I've obviously got a quite jaded view of them.

Clearly, enough kids of the Fast and Furious generation, from the sink estates, have now made good...

cerb4.5lee

13,341 posts

129 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
A UK Supra with leather and a manual gearbox has been the holy grail for me ever since they first came out. £30k seems fair to me given what most old Fords fetch nowadays.

Much much want from me. smokin

swisstoni

8,422 posts

228 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
Back in the day these things were never cheap.
So I’m not surprised that survivors in good nick can fetch good money today.

dbs2000

2,262 posts

141 months

Tuesday 14th January
quotequote all
BIST0 said:
I drove a standard example in period (or shortly after) and was disappointed by the experience. It was quite a numb steer, a bit dreary inside (even for the time) and frankly not particularly thrilling. I couldn’t understand the premium and bought a TT 300ZX instead, which IMO is an underrated car. Perhaps the Supras only come alive when lightly modified, like the Skyline GTRs of the time.

So why is it that they keep tempting me now?! I didn’t want one then, why do I want one 20 years later?! Damn you fickle car brain!
I had one too and thought the same thing, it was incredibly dull to drive and found it chest wig central once in it. Mine stayed with me for 4 months and I binned it off for an S2000, a much more involving and fun car.

I'm not sure why they fetch such a premium these days.