The theme of this year’s All-Toyotafest was, unavoidably, Supra. The 24th gathering of the Toyota Owners and Restorers Club featured generations of this one model on the offiical merchandise and promotional materals this year. Toyota gave many of the attendees the first in-person look at the new A90. And the owners of 100 percent Toyota-built Supras came out in great numbers.
One of our favorite builds was that of Anthony West, whose sleeper first-generation Celica Supra had a Lexus V8 under the hood. This is the first 1UZ-swapped A40 that we’ve seen, and likely the one of few — if not the only — in existence.
According to Anthony, many thought the swap couldn’t be done, because the steering shaft, sway bar, and hood interefered with the tall, DOHC V8. He made it fit, though, with only the thinnest of clearances, cutting into the hood structure to accommodate the plenum. When closed, the hood’s sheetmetal actually touches the top of the motor. All this in a completely stock body, especially that of a “beige Toyota,” makes us love it even more.
Devon Saunders’ spectacularly brown first-gen went with more of a shakotan sled look. This mirrored rocker panels were era-appropriate and gave the already lengthy design an even more elongated look, while Riverside R101 wheels capped off the sleek stance.
A lineup of A60 Supras included Robert Escobar’s stock, 1983 Celica Supra. Built in honor of his mother, the black beauty P-Type captured the quintessential Celica Supra image back when it was new. Lurking behind the row was the start/finish straight of the Long Beach of Grand Prix road course, which Toyota sponsored for 40 years before they moved to Texas.
Capping off the row of second-gens was Rafeal Perez’s radical A60. An explosion of 80s-ness, from its electric blue paint to the gnarly graphics gracing its flanks, it could have starred in its own Saturday morning cartoon from the same decade.
As the generations got newer, their numbers grew. Toyotafest had plenty of A70s to offer. Perhaps Toyota could have picked one of these for the media launch of the A90 Supra.
By far, the most prevalent generation was the A80, their owners suddenly rich as Supra prices have absolutely skyrocketed this year. It was no surprise that these newly minted examples of rolling stock would gather.
Michael Alvarez’s 1997 15th Anniversary Edition was an excellent driver with twin-turbo 2JZ-GTE and 6-speed manual. According to Michael, the car still wore its original Royal Sapphire Blue paint, and despite a few imperfections from the casualties of having been driven, it was still gorgeous.
Mariesa Kallaher’s naturally aspirated 1993 in Baltic Blue Metallic was as stock as stock could be. Beside it, Brian Kallaher’s was the type of record breaking drag car popular in the Supra’s heyday. Complete with the time slip from a 10:38 run, it was no wonder the Supra came to embody the 10-second car of cinema legend.
Tuan That’s black 15th Anniversary Edition was a stunning example of the understated mods that could turn a stock Supra into a menacing street prowler. With a V160 6-speed conversion, TRD 3.76 LSD and Work Meister S1 3-piece wheels, it was a thing of dark beauty.
Frank Guerrero’s final-year turbo 6-speed is one 50 or so supposedly built in the 1998-only Quicksilver. Said to be in original, non-restored condition, with only 55,000 miles on the clock, it’s now a car worth something well into the six-digit range.
Salvador Sainz’s 15th Annviersary Turbo was finished in the more common Alpine Silver Metallic, but it was no less beautiful. We’re not sure if Mr. Sainz is any relation to Toyota WRC driver Carlos Sainz, but good Toyota fortunes seem to go hand-in-hand with the name.
Toyota showcased the new A90 Supra for all to see. The car may be controversial, but it’s undeniable that it has presence. While it got a lot of looks, from our limited observations it didn’t quite have the pull that some of the more impressive custom or classic builds, such as the V8-powered A40, did.
Lastly, though not quite Supras, the field was also flush with its platform cousin, the Lexus SC. Both Supra and Soarer are now firmly in the 25 Year Club that confers classic status and federal importation legality, and it was great to see the era of purely Toyota-built cars represented at the show. In a rapidly changing automotive landscape, it was a reminder of what the automaker is capable of.
To be continued…
Okay. I will concede this. Toyota was using the Mk. generation designation on their big display behind the new Supra. Didn’t even notice it, until I was cropping my photos from the event.
I asked the Toyota guys what they are calling the engine internally, he didn’t know. But I took a few pics of the under hood decals, and there was one that had a WA96 on it… W engine? 96 body? I asked if he could open a door to see any other decals, he could not.
Just because Toyota USA used it on their marketing materials doesn’t mean it’s canon. They are simply parroting the enthusiasts’ terminology.
I thought so, too.
The MA40 Supra/Celica XX has always been a favorite of mine, from the 2000GT T-grille to the black glass mirror B-pillar.
There were 54 Turbo 6spd cars sent to the USA in 1B9 Quicksilver FX color in 1998; 220 Turbo Automatics and 241 N/A Automatics so Frank G’s beautiful stock example is definitely rare!
Very surprised to see the Mk5 designation on what appears to be an official banner, but at least they have moved away from the fallacy of calling it an A90. (Got a chuckle out of their choice of Arabic numeral 5 verses the accepted use of the Roman numeral V meant to separate the Supra use of the ‘Mark’ identifiers from that of the VW Golf community.)
The new Supra has no lineage to the A chassis designation that made the A40, A60, A70 and A80 all part of the same family. The first 3 generations had this designation as part of their VIN and the JZA80 had it stamped on the firewall. This is an adopted child that has taken on a legendary name (and they even tweaked the script logo), but at the end of the day still has a VIN that begins with a W and no ‘A90’ to be found anywhere.
The reviews are glowing and it appears to be a great car, but clearly meant for an entirely new audience – not the loyal Supra owner
In the USA you are very lucky to find Supra on the road; in my country (France) only 49 were sold…