The Supra drove into dealers' showroom as the 1979 Toyota Celica Supra, so badged because it shared a common chassis with the less-powerful Celica. But after two generations of dramatic performance enhancements, the standalone Toyota Supra MkIII shed its “Celica” moniker in the mid-80s and left its older sibling in the dust.
But, it wasn't until the completely redesigned MkIV showed up in 1993 that the Supra really came into its own. The long, sweeping curves and rounded corners were unlike anything Toyota had created before. And more horsepower and beefier turbos had the Supra not just beating everything else in its class, it was trouncing Corvettes and Porsches on the track.
Sadly, 1998 marked the end of the Supra's sales in the US—but the car's popularity lived on. It was a favorite of aftermarket tuners due to the ease with which it could be customized. And when a tricked-out Supra showed up in The Fast and the Furious in 2001, its iconic status was cemented.
But after decades of unsubstantiated rumors or flat-out silence, car fans thought they'd seen the last of a new Supra…
Over the years, a trickle of “could this be the new Supra?!” concept cars teased fans. Then, in 2018, Toyota unveiled the GR Supra race car concept—and confirming that, yes, the Supra was finally coming back.
The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the official coming out party for the new model. And the MkV didn't just steal the show—it stole the entire Cobo Convention Center and every loose valuable in a 2-block radius.
Then, the impact went global a week later. With millions of people tuned into a less-than-electric Super Bowl, the Supra grabbed everyone's attention. The now infamous “Pinball” ad had people sitting up straight in their recliners, yelling for their buddy in the kitchen, “Gary, just grab the pizza and get in here! You gotta see the new Supra!”
Jaws dropped and eyes grew wide as the sleek, new Supra raced around inside an oversized pinball machine. Dodging crazy obstacles with death-defying maneuvers while The Who rocked out, it finished the spot by power sliding into a grin-inducing finish.
The Supra was officially back.
Sure, she looks pretty. But can she dance?
The first peak at that answer came just a few weeks after the Super Bowl. While the throaty roar of NASCAR®'s finest filled the Daytona 500, there was one car that kept everyone in line—the new Supra.
Dressed in a riveting red paint job that showed off its seductive curves, the Supra took the lead at one of racing's most iconic tracks as the pace car. A buzz swept through the attending fans and those at home every time Toyota's newest creation took a lap. There's no denying that this was the perfect location for everyone to get a first look at the Supra in action.
Granted, pacing the oval at pit speed isn't going to show off the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. But it proved that the excitement that had been simmering for the past 22 years was really starting to heat up.
But most American audiences actually missed another Supra—this time a concept car—that had actually been revealed a week before the Daytona 500 at the Osaka Automesse in Osaka, Japan.
Dubbed the “GR Supra Performance Line Concept TRD” on TRD Japan's website, it's a vision from the future—a future that looks like it crushes the weak and leaves them choking on exhaust. People crowded around its sleek gray body.
Carbon fiber everywhere. Front spoilers with fins for improved downforce—and for looking awesome. Side skirts that lower the center of gravity. This was an aftermarket dream come true.
With almost every noteworthy part modified on the TRD concept car, there's no doubt that the Supra will be a car to be reckoned with. And if you listen closely to your web browser, you can actually hear tuners and gear heads begging to play with one of their all-time favorite toys again.
Want one in your garage? Well, you already missed your first chance.
The very first Supra that will roll off the production line was auctioned off in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the American Heart Association (On account of all the hearts it's been stopping? Just a theory).
A cool $2.1 million earned car collector John Staluppi the first 2020 “Launch Edition” Supra. On its dash, you'll find a numbered, carbon-fiber badge that bears the signature of Toyota President and Master Driver Akio Toyoda and marking it as vehicle #1 of 1,500.
You read that right: 1,500. That's how many Launch Edition Supras will be produced for the US, ever. Better call up your local dealer quick if you're looking to pick up one of those.
But don't worry: there will be plenty of Toyota Supra to go around long after the Launch Edition models are spoken for. And they'll all come standard with serious performance features including adaptive suspension, an active rear differential and my personal favorite—launch control.
Because the Supra is back. Now go get you one.