The first production A90 Toyota Supra has sold for $2.1 million at auction. It’s an eye-watering sum, though it is going to two very worthwhile charities. Seven digit sales figures aren’t that unusual in these much-hyped, first-to-market auctions, but in this case the sky high number is at once meaningless and significant.
The number is meaningless because, as our resident auction watcher Patrick Strong will tell you, “It’s typical charity auction stuff.” In this case, “the buyer doesn’t get to write off the whole thing as a charitable deduction, so it has to be a cold marketing expense.”
The bidding had the full force of the Barrett-Jackson and Toyota marketing machines behind them (you can see some of the classic Supras from Toyota’s SEMA display in the photo above), and as such is completely disconnected to any real world metrics.
The car itself had a few nominal touches, including an exclusive colorway of satin gray paint with red interior, red mirrors, and matte black wheels. There’s also a small plaque on the inside denoting the car as the first, as if its “20201” serial number (with the last digit representing its build number) wasn’t enough. To seal the deal, Akio Toyoda autographed the engine cover, and the winner also gets a VIP track experience, custom racing suit, and a chance to drive the pace car at the Toyota Owners 400 race in Richmond.
On the other hand, the number could be read as significant because at the very same auction, the first 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 sold for $1.1 million. Both cars were unveiled last week at the Detroit Auto Show, on paper the Shelby is the better performer, and Barrett-Jackson’s claim to fame was its trading in the very muscle cars that the Shelby is a successor to. Oh, and it was bought by Craig Jackson, the CEO of the auction itself.
To reiterate, both numbers have no bearing on the real world, except that one sold for double the other. The Supra’s $2.1 million will go to the American Heart Association and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The latter is a charity that serves injured veterans.
We are clearly entering an era where nameplates like the Supra are carrying more and more weight, especially among collectors. Suddenly, that $121,000 A80 Supra Turbo is starting to look like a bargain.
Images courtesy of Toyota.