Toyota Tuning Products

Originally applied to a one-off version of its Celica coupe, the Supra name has evolved into a brand of its own within the Toyota range, signifying a line of high-performance grand tourers. Intended to take the fight to Datsun (now Nissan), which was claiming significant sales with its line of Z-car sports car models, the original A40 Celica Supra saw Toyota first develop a six-cylinder engine. The original A40 version was supplanted by the A60 in 1981. Now built on the same platform as the third-generation Celica, this was a far more accomplished car. As the Celica Supra, it gained a strong following in all of Toyota’s export markets for its wedge-shaped profile which had been popularised by the likes of the Triumph TR7. Consequently, when the car went on sale in August 1982, Toyota had no problems selling all of the 100 cars per month which were earmarked for import into the UK. The elongated body of the Supra gave Toyota the space to drop its new 2.8-litre straight-six, twin-cam engine into the front, and still have room for what became one of the car’s signature features, its pop-up headlights. Keen drivers were, though, more attracted by the car’s independent rear suspension, and such enthusiasts quickly gave rise to a burgeoning market for Toyota aftermarket parts as they sought ways of getting extra performance from their cars.

When the car was entered into the 1983 British Saloon Car Championship, the predecessor of the current British Touring Car Championship, it started to get noticed even more widely, especially when, for the 1985 season, motorcycle racing legend Barry Sheene sat behind the wheel. That proved a fitting swansong for the A60 Celica, as at the end of that year, it was fully replaced by the more rounded Mk4 model, which is arguably the iteration which most people will remember. This also saw the ‘Celica’ prefix dropped, with the car simply being known as the Supra. The models were differentiated further when the Supra kept its rear-wheel drive format and the Celica - along with the rest of the Toyota range - moved to front-wheel drive. Four different engines were fitted into the car for various worldwide markets, ranging between two and three litres - the most sought-after being the 2,954cc, turbocharged three-litre twin-cam version which was kept for the Japanese market. This engine was eventually uprated to produce 270bhp and used in cars which competed on the European touring car circuit. When the new model went on sale in the UK in the summer of 1986, in an effort to keep the price competitive in the face of high import costs, pre-delivery options were confined to an automatic transmission, metallic paint and leather seats - leaving plenty of room for developers of Toyota parts to offer a variety of personalisation options. The lack of add-ons in the original car didn’t stop it from earning critical praise and going on to become a firm part of a trio of sporting Toyotas alongside the Celica and 

MR2 which together took all three spots in What Car? Magazine’s Best Coupe honours for 1987. The first turbo-powered Supra model made available in the UK came along in August 1989 just after the Mk4 benefited from a mid-life refresh. Its three-litre engine had its power boosted by 15 per cent and torque rose by one-third, making the car capable of a 153mph top speed. To capitalise on the popularity of Miami Vice at the time, an all-white option pack was offered, covering all exterior trim and paintwork, including the wheels. Toyota held off starting work on a fourth version of the Supra until 1992, and in the meantime dropped its new 2.5-litre twin-turbo engine into the existing car. The new car was finally unveiled in 1993 and was an immediate success, even when pitted against the Porsche 911 Turbo of the day. That was down, in no small part, to the engine’s flexibility, delivering its peak torque right from 1,300 to 4,500rpm, but in which time - where legal - the car could hit its governed top speed of 156mph. Electronic stability aids along with the aerodynamic rear wing and side vents could make drivers feel as though they were travelling at a fraction of such speeds in the right conditions! Unsurprisingly, the car kick-started a huge demand for Toyota Supra aftermarket parts, and became a mainstay of the many tuning and performance car magazines of the day, with some owners claiming to have squeezed more than 2,000bhp out of their cars’ engines!

This Supra MkIV remained in production until 2002, in large part because it was deemed too expensive to modify it to meet the latest emissions regulations - but in nearly 25 years, total sales of Supra cars reached nearly 600,000. You can’t keep a good man - or car - down, so by 2014, Toyota was clearly feeling the time was right for a ‘new’ Supra, and unveiled its FT-1 concept, which was clearly inspired by the earlier generations. Finally, at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the wraps came off what had been christened the Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept, its excellent response earning the go-ahead for full production. So now the fifth-generation Supra is with us, and doing a great job of keeping interest alive in an iconic motoring name.

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