The Toyota Supra is potentially the icon of car culture. First introduced to the world in 1978, the Celica Supra was built to fight Datsun’s Z cars on the forecourts. The second and third generations moved the game on for Toyota, competing on track in the British Saloon Car Championship as well as Group A rally events.
But the reason we’re putting the candles on the cake is because 20 years ago, at the 1993 Chicago Motor Show, Toyota unveiled the Mk4 Supra. This was the car that really caught the imagination of petrolheads worldwide. Released during the Japanese sports car market’s golden age, its competition included such notable vehicles as the Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX-7, Honda NSX and Mazda MX-5. These cars had established themselves as the cream of the crop, but Toyota patiently held on to the new Supra, until they knew they could build something that would kill the opposition.
The design moved away from the boxy lines of its predecessors, preferring bulging curves more reminiscent of the 2000GT sports car of the ’60s. One of the defining features was the massive rear spoiler, which is still mimicked by aftermarket manufacturers today. Despite the flared arches and curvaceous styling, the new car’s dimensions were smaller than the outgoing car, and it shed 100kgs for the reboot too.
Under the bonnet, customers had a choice between a naturally-aspirated or turbocharged 3.0-litre unit JZ-series straight six, with 220bhp or 326bhp respectively. The little sports car from Japan now had its rivals running scared – even 911s were left behind. The modified community continues to fettle the 2JZ engine, with some managing an incredible 2000bhp.
The Mk4 proved to be the most successful motorsport Supra, competing in a variety of events including Pikes Peak and Le Mans, as well as the All-Japan GT Championships in which it wore the famous Castrol livery.
So on your 20th birthday we salute you, Mk4 Toyota Supra! Your outrageous styling and supercar-baiting performance will always be adored.