Toyota Supra (A70) | Spotted

The first non-Celica Supra is now settling into its mid-30s – and looking better with each passing year

By John Howell / Sunday, February 13, 2022 / Loading comments

I am not a massive fan of the Toyota Supra. Not the current one, anyway. And not even the A80 that’s so loved by tuners, drifters and gamers. Sorry. For me it’s just a bit… bloaty. But the A70 is a different kettle of raw, Japanese fish. I’ve always loved it. Why, I am not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because, when I was growing up in the 80s, it looked low and mean as I peered out of the side window of my parent’s wheezy, vinyl-trimmed Hillman Hunter. Or perhaps it’s because there’s a hint of Pontiac in its profile, and I was more obsessed with Knight Rider at the time than anything else, up to and including chocolate Hobnobs. I still am, come to think of it. Anyway, the A70 Supra is just cool, isn’t it?

From 1978 Supras were based on the Celica, but in 1986 the third-generation A70 came along and dropped ties with its lesser sibling. It became a bespoke model, although the underpinnings were based on the Toyota Soarer. It had a proper spec list: a 3.0-litre 7M-GE straight-six, with double overhead cams, four-valves per cylinder, electronic ignition and fuel injection, for starters. It made 201hp at 6,000rpm, backed up by a healthy 187lb ft that peaked at 4,800rpm. Now, if you’re sitting there thinking “pah, that’s nothing,” well, it was 1986.

A Porsche 944 2.5 Lux couldn’t match that in non-turbo form. The 944 had a piffling 163hp and a puny 151lb ft. So the Supra hit 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, a second quicker than Stuttgart’s challenger. And of course, the 944 had a mere four cylinders, so it was nothing like as sweet-sounding as the Supra’s six. Then, in 1987, Toyota plumbed in a turbocharger and the outputs rose to 230hp and 246lb ft, dropping the 0-60mph time down to 6.3 seconds.

Whatever the aspiration, power was dispatched through a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto, and sent to the rear wheels via a standard limited-slip diff. The suspension also had the hallmarks of a proper sports car, with double wishbones at every corner and the option of Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension (TEMS) – that’s adaptable damping to you and me. There were ventilated disc brakes all round, and it was available with three-channel, electronic ABS. The A70 even had some motorsport pedigree, featuring in Group A racing, rallying and the European Touring Car Championship.

It always seemed to be a little underappreciated, and still does. But that’s to our advantage. It means you can easily convince yourself that this car is a steal at £12,995, when it’s possible to pay twice that for a Fiesta XR2 from the same year. And in this case, it’s the year when it all began, with a classic colour scheme of two-tone bronze. You might be gurning right now, but to me this adds massively to its appeal.

Also, if you don’t have the desire to flop onto those stunning-looking, velour-trimmed front seats, I think there might actually be something wrong with you. Especially as they appear so box-fresh for a car with 36 years and 105,000 miles under its belt. Maybe the auto ‘box won’t be to everyone’s taste, but as the big Supra was a great GT car, you could equally see it as a plus in making this a lazy-boy, long-distance machine. Either way, I hope you’ll agree it is a car well worthy of a Spotted, and an absolute joy to see.


SPECIFICATION | TOYOTA SUPRA 3.0I (A70)

Engine: 2,954cc, straight-six
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],800rpm
CO2: N/A
MPG: N/A
Recorded mileage: 105,000
Year registered: 1986
Price new: £15,299
Yours for: £12,995

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