Join the Supra Forums

Toyota Supra History

 » Home » History of Toyota Supra

Since the beginning of production this model had body type Coupe. (help)


Year, monthFramePictures
1986, A70
1989, augustMA70, GA70, GA70H
1990, augustJZA70, GA70, GA70H
1991, augustJZA70, GA70, GA70H
1993, mayJZA80
1994, augustJZA80
1995, mayJZA80
1996, aprilJZA80
1997, augustJZA80
1999, augustJZA80
2001, septemberJZA80


Chilton's Repair and Tune-Up Guide Toyota Celica/Supra 1971-87: All U.S. and Canadian Models of Toyota Celica and Toyota Supra Chilton's Toyota Celica/Supra 1971-85 Repair Manual Toyota Celica Supra 1979 Thru 1992 All Models Automotive Repair Manual
The origin of the Celica dates back to 1970, when the first Celica was introduced into the Japanese auto market. Toyota, known for its reliable, basic transportation, felt that its position was strong enough for it to offer its first sporty model. The Japanese economy was strengthening, and with it, the desire to drive something more exciting than the traditional, spartan Japanese automobile. This new attitude by Toyota was reflected first in 1967, with the 2000GT, a swoopy sports car built for Toyota by Yamaha. Featured in a contemporary James Bond film, the 2000GT, with its DOHC inline-6, would later become the inspiration for the Supra (the 2000GT name was also used on later Japanese Celicas and Supras) . As a sidenote, the legendary Datsun 240Z appeared in the same time frame, and may actually have been designed on the same concept as the 2000GT.

In 1971, the first Celica STs arrive in America, powered by 1.9 liter 8R-C SOHC four cylinder. A four-speed manual is the only transmission option. For '72, the larger 18R-C engine replaces the original, but the lowered compression ratio due to new emissions requirements results in an 11-horsepower loss. A three speed automatic is now available. During the 70s, sexy styling, reminiscent of early Ford Mustangs, and an eager four-cylinder enable the Celica, along with the Corolla, to solidify Toyota's position in the American market. Fun to drive, and reliable to boot, the Celica is a success.

In 1974, the GT model is introduced, with the most significant differences being in styling and suspension. By '75, the 18RC engine gives way to the 20R, a redesigned R-series motor that displaces 2.2 liters. Motor Trend magazine honors the 1976 Celica, naming it the "Import Car of the Year." A newcomer to the '76 lineup is the GT Liftback, the first hatchback Celica. With its obvious ponycar influences, these cars are generally known as the "Mustang-back Celicas."

1978 sees a new bodystyle introduced (ABOVE), with wide, prominent B-pillers. Motor Trend again honors the Celica. The next year, the Celica Supra is introduced. The original Supra was the first Toyota to receive EFI. Its 2.6 liter inline-6 engine produced 110 horsepower, 20 more than the GT, but the additional weight of the engine offset much of this gain. Supra features include a lengthened chassis and a grille reminiscent of the original 2000GT. In 1980, the Celica was again redesigned, with a different front-end treatment. For '81, a bored-out 2.4 liter version of the 20R, the 22R, was put in the ST and GT. The Celica Supra also received a new engine in 1981, the 5ME, the only year of its production.

As years go, 1982 was quite a busy one for Toyota engineers! All Celica models were redesigned, and a new engine was available for the Supra. The Celica received a very boxy look that is still very much popular today, and pop-up headlights (which more lay back than pop anywhere!) were introduced. The Supra received its own distinctive front end (with real pop-up headlights, and the 5ME gained another cam and became the 5MGE. Horsepower jumped from a meager 116 to 145, and the extra cam allowed the redline to be moved a little further up. Independent rear suspension also became a Supra trademark. Supra enthusiasts often refer to this car as the Mark II. The Supra is now built as "the" Toyota performance model, and is an absolute delight to drive!

Late in 1982, a new Celica debuts, the GT-S, which possesses the Supra's IRS and larger wheels. Visually, the GT-S is set apart from the GT by its prominent flared fenders and the nicer Supra interior. Originally, the GT-S is available as a "Sport" option on the GT, and does not have a "GT-S" badge until 1984. For 1983, the new GT-S and the GT both receive the 22RE 4-cylinder, with 105 horses thanks to EFI. A slightly redesigned front end for 1984's Celica increases the car's sex appeal dramatically, and the cars are selling exceptionally well, even with the mandatory $ 2000 price increase forced on Japanese cars by the American government. The ST receives the 22RE motor, and the Supra's motor keeps getting more power. A new, fully electronically controlled automatic transmission (ECT) is available on the Supra. A switch allows the driver to select normal and sport shift modes. 1984 sees the Supra reach 60mph in 8.6 seconds from a standstill. Minor brake light and interior changes distinguish the '84-'85 Celica and '84-'86 Celica Supra. Also, the first Celica convertible is offered from the factory in '85 - a company called Sunchaser had done conversions on a small scale for several years prior.

In 1986, Toyota decided to split the Supra off from the Celica line, resulting in two distinct lines: the Celica and the Supra. The Celica is new from the ground up, now being front-wheel drive. Three engines are available, from the single cam 2S-E to the racing-bred 3S-GE. The car looks much different, also, with a less distinct "boxiness" and a much smaller appearence. A new engine line, the S-series, replaces the original R-series as the Celica power plant.

The 1986 Supra is a carry-over from 1985, the only difference being the added third brakelight. The third-generation Supra, labeled a 1986 and a half, is a swoopy car with obvious supercar influence, and the new, 200hp 7MGE to back up the image. The Supra Turbo debuts a year later, giving the Supra a lustful 230hp to play with. Toyota decides to change the Supra's image from being Toyota's competitor against the Camaro to that of the Corvette-killer. This policy will later result in notable increases in performance and price. As prices increase, sales will suffer (see 1996).

Little changes in the Celica lineup for most of the remainder of the '80s. The car will be given slight makeovers (esp. the GTS) that will enhance its looks. 1988 witnesses the advent of the Celica All-Trac Turbo. An all-out wild ride, Toyota engineers gave this Celica AWD so it could handle the turbo's force. This was done because of the need to handle the 200hp motor. Not to mention this achieved awesome traction...

A smooth, clean look describes the new-for-1990 Celica. Rounded fenders and edges make the Celica arguably the most beautiful high-production car of the early 1990s. The 5S-FE engine, shared with the more sedate Camry, is standard on the GT and GT-S and produces 135hp, while the ST's 7A-FE churns out 115hp, most of it low in the rpm range, making the car surprisingly quick off the line. The Celica looks good, is quick, and sells well. The All-Trac Turbo (aka GT-4 to the rest of the world) is the rowdy one in the family, with its awesome turbo power (200hp, 16-valve 3S-GTE) and full-time all-wheel drive. The All-Trac burns the 1320 in the upper 14s...not bad for a 2.0L four-banger!o Competition begins to stiffen against the Celica as the Probe/MX-6, Talon/Eclipse/Laser, Saturn SC2, and Z24 crowd into the market, with the Acura Integra becoming the Celica's arch-nemesis. However, the Celica still holds a favorable spot in a popular segment.

The Supra is not offered in 1992, as it is redone for 1993. Its trademark hideaway headlights are gone, but no one will miss them now that the Turbo is now the Twin Turbo, giving 320hp. A Borg-Warner 6-speed manual transmission is available, as well as a 5-speed automatic. Sales are low and prices high: Twin Turbos go for well over $ 50,000. Performance is also high: zero to 60mph are around 5.3 seconds and afterwards pretty much becomes a blur - prompting one famous racer to proclaim the Supra "pure adrenaline attached to a license plate!"

Following Toyota's four-year-cycle, the 1994 Celica assumes a new look and the GTS model is dropped. Also gone are the hideaway headlights, eschewed in favor of four round, individual headlights. The result is somewhat akin to the result of breeding experiments between the Acura Integra and the Porsche 911.

In 1996, there was much doubt as to the continued existence of the Supra. Only about 40 per month were being imported into the United States, barely double the meager 21/month to Europe. Other Japanese legends, such as the Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX-7, and the Dodge Stealth had been discontinued. Whereas they had once been affordable fun ("pocket rockets"), they had become over-optioned and over-priced, these once-popular cars beyond the reach of those who yearned for them. Japanese automakers learned too late that people who pay Corvette prices have dreamed of buying one since playing with Hot Wheels, and that their cars, while superior in many, many respects, were largely ignored by that market. In addition, the market has turned away from these awesome cars, towards SUVs and minivans.

The New Celica 1999 Celica was launched and had an amazing 1.8 litre VVTi engine and proved a nippy little machine. The looks were dramatically changed as for the new millenium they gave the car a future look. The cars aerodynamics therefore were greatly improved and was a great achievement for toyota. The celica had great handling with almost as superb as the 93-98 supra all went well and the celica is still in production today. This car will put you in your seat!!! But if you want to feel any kind of G's The Supra Boasts 1'G in the Skid Pan With Traction!!!! One Of 8 Japanese cars ever made to do so.

Got any feedback? Want to tell me what you think should be on the toyota supra site or how I can improve it? send me and email to: info@toyota-supra.info
Japanese Cars :: toyota-supra.info
1986 - 1987 - 1988 - 1989 -1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1994 - 1995 - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 Toyota Supra