I often sound extremely excited by certain cars. I am aware that if this happens too often it might conjure up a whiff of cynicism – it’s all just manufactured delight to add some pizzazz. For example, I wrote recently that I was so enraptured by a Mercedes W126 that I was considering buying it, but I wasn’t pulling your leg, honestly. I am still toing and froing over that one, and it’s still, annoyingly, the ULEZ extension – writ large in the cons column – that’s swaying me from plunging in. I haven’t ruled it out completely, though.
Here's another car that’s getting me in a tizz and, again, the tizz is real. I have long held a soft spot for the A70 Toyota Supra in any form, but this one is, I reckon, most people’s idea of the zenith. It’s a Turbo and a manual, which means maximum welly and driver engagement in one package. Not sure there’s too much arguing to be had about those two box tickers? Nor the fact that it’s as clean and tidy as a new hospital, despite being 33-years old, but that’s in part because it’s showing just 37,000 miles on the odometer. Mind you, let’s face it, it’s a Toyota; it'd probably be just as tidy if it had clocked up 137,000 miles.
Indeed, the only contentious thing I can see is the ever-thorny issue of colour. I happen to think red suits this A70 as well as it did Pamela Anderson’s swimsuit. As an aside, Baywatch burst onto our screens in the same year this car was made in 1990. Anyway, just because I happen to like it in red doesn't mean you will. I can imagine many will prefer a more conservative blue hue, which is fine: there's an even lower-mileage A70 I noticed for sale with a different dealer, and it's blue. The truth is, colour is never a black and white issue; well, unless it’s black or white I suppose.
The A70 isn’t a true sports car, it’s more of a grand tourer. It was also the first of the breed to cut ties with the Celica, on which the Supra had been based since it came out in 1978. But by this era the Celica had gone front-wheel drive and the Supra stuck with a proper rear-drive layout, which meant the A70 was built off the Toyota Soarer platform. The 3.0-litre 7M-GE straight-six was a blueprint for cutting edge at the time. It had double overhead cams, four-valves per cylinder, electronic ignition and fuel injection. In its standard, naturally aspirated guise, it made 201hp at 6,000rpm, backed up by a useful 187lb ft that peaked at 4,800rpm.
The Supra had a reputation for being a bit overweight, which was true. The A70 weighed in at around 1,500kg, depending on the spec, while a Porsche 944 was in the region of 100kg lighter. But the standard Supra could still accelerate from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, which was quicker than a 944 2.5 Lux, and, of course, the 944 was limited to a measly four cylinders. The Supra’s six sounded altogether more delicious. When the Turbo arrived in 1987, there could be no questioning its pace. The 7M-GTE motor raised the stakes to 235hp and 253lb ft, which meant this thing could hit 60 in 6.3 seconds. That was more than respectable 30-odd-years ago, as was its 152mph top speed.
To be frank, though, performance is less of an issue all these years later. Some humble modern hatchbacks – and not even the hot versions – could match or beat that time. What’s more important about cars like this is how they make you feel. It’s all about the emotional value. And to me that’s very high with this car. I think the shape matches exactly the era it was from without looking awkward today. It’s extremely handsome, with neat details like the recessed indicators and side lights, pop-up headlights (of course) and, this being a late model, the integrated rear spoiler. Then there’s the interior. Plenty of dials, including a boost gauge, and more buttons on display than you’d see in a ceremonial military march. It’s my kind of interior that. No touchscreen nonsense, no digital dials, just analogue brilliance throughout. But it’s the Supra’s seats that really finish it off. How amazing do they look? I don’t even have to sit in them to imagine how good they’d feel to sink my backside into. And as with everything about this particular example, they’re in wonderful condition.
So, just to be clear, this is not feigned delight. This is genuine appreciation of a wonderful classic on display, and another car that I’d love to have in my collection. Sadly, another one that is currently scuppered by ULEZ, though. Shame.
SPECIFICATION | TOYOTA SUPRA 3.0 Turbo (A70)
Engine: 2,954cc, straight-six
Transmission: five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 235 @ 5,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 253 @ 3,200rpm
Recorded mileage: 37,000
Year registered: 1990
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £23,495
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