10 August 2020, By Dave Carey

The Reinvented Supra: A Cutting-Edge Tourer Steeped in Heritage

3 min read

Blog by Dave Carey.

The new Toyota Supra is not only our current prize car, it’s also the latest addition to Japan’s rich sports car heritage. Sprouting from a culture of cutting-edge technology, you can buy into this legacy from just $30.00 and help consign cancer to history along the way.

The all-new J29-model Supra GR GTS, released in Australia in September 2019, heralds a return to form for Toyota, 18 years after the previous model was retired with no replacement. Developed alongside BMW, it’s not the first time Toyota has had a helping hand to make a world-class coupe; much like you can lend a helping hand in the fight against cancer.

2020 Toyota GR Supra GTS

Toyota’s near-two-decade absence from the high-end sports car class was unexpected, as the company damn-near wrote the book on Japanese supercars. Their Toyota 2000GT was developed in conjunction with Yamaha Motor Company and was released in 1967 when most Japanese manufacturers, Toyota included, were focusing on durable sub-compact cars.

Toyota GT 2000

The 2000GT proved to the world that Japan could create exhilarating machines, not just transportation. Yet despite a starring role in James Bond’s You Only Live Twice and success on the track under Carroll Shelby, Toyota sold a mere 351 examples worldwide. There was nothing wrong with the car, but at $9400 Australian, it cost more than a contemporary Porsche 911 or E-type Jaguar, which certainly didn’t help.

Toyota GT 2000 - James Bond

Toyota’s next couple of six-cylinder sports cars were inconsistent with the history forged by the 2000GT. The MA46 ‘Celica Supra’, the first to wear the name, amounted to little more than a lengthened RA40 Celica with a six-cylinder engine; it’s probably fortunate they never sold in Australia. Yet the following MA60 model, with handling input by Lotus, reacquainted us with Toyota’s considerable skill at creating a ripper sports car, despite also being based on the pedestrian Celica.

It’s fair to suggest that each successive generation of Supra brought buyers closer to the performance legacy laid by the 2000GT. Sadly, we never received the blistering JZA70 update of 1990, its turbocharged 1JZ-GTE 2.5 litre six still making drivers, drifters and racers worldwide excited in unimaginable ways. The ‘fastest and furioustest’ of the Supras, the JZA80, remained similarly absent from Aussie showrooms, but landed here in huge numbers as a grey import well beyond the duration of its 1993 to 2002 production run.

Besides being known for outstanding performance, handling and braking, the 2JZ-powered JZA80 Supra perhaps owes its elevated status more so to modern media. It appears in the original PC Game Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed (1994), among dozens of other titles released across PC, Xbox, PlayStation and arcade formats. Likewise, the 2001 car chase classic The Fast and the Furious features a Lamborghini-orange JZA80 Supra, driven by protagonist Brian O’Connor.

Played by the late Paul Walker, Brian trades words, smarts and races with his nemesis, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), throughout the film until the climax, when Dom wrecks his Dodge Charger. Brian passes on the keys to his customised JZA80 Supra, allowing Dom to escape the very feds Brian works for, establishing their bond.

Fast and Furious Scene

Fourteen years later, Furious 7 (2015) sees Brian and Dom, now firm friends, travelling along a winding coastal byway. Brian in an angelic white JZA80 Supra and Dom in his trusty Dodge Charger, they reach a fork in the road. Brian veers off to his new life of retirement, a scene also symbolising Walker’s heart-breaking, real-life passing, while Dom forges ahead towards an eighth film. It’s these scenes that have instilled the films solidly in our pop culture memories, raising the Supra beyond being an effortlessly comfortable GT or a rapid sports car, but a true legend.

Your support not only has the power to change lives but change your own life. Whether you love the shine of chrome bumpers, the grunt of a muscle car, the effortlessness of a big six-cylinder or the fast furiousness of the Fast and the Furious, the new Supra is just the car for you.

The challenge of a twisty mountain trail, exhaust barking off the cliffs, evokes not only a memory of the 2000GT that came so many years ago, but reinforces the many reasons for the Supra’s current fame. And that could be you, making those memories anew, writing a fresh chapter in the Supra story, all for the price of a ticket or two.

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