I Should Not Buy A MkIII Toyota Supra, Right?

All Photos Credit: Toyota

My lovely 1974 Volkswagen Beetle is in fine health and getting ever better, a fine and good piece of A-to-B transportation that maybe drives like a piece of farm equipment with good suspension. What I should not do is buy a third-generation Toyota Supra for a couple grand, right?


The MkIII Supra is the one that nobody thinks about. It is the colloquial “worst Supra” as per the general opinion of the internet at large, the E36 of Supras, the big heavy one that doesn’t have the 2JZ.

Indeed, American Supras weren’t particularly well received at the time, kind of being as big as a Mustang and not all that much faster than a Mustang but not being as cheap as a Mustang. An automatic one of these could come in at around 4,000 pounds, and while other versions might dip down to about 3,000, these things still have deserved reputations as heavyweights, particularly since the turbo 7M-GTE straight six (which traces its roots back to the 2000GT) still only made about 230 horsepower from its 3.0 liters. For the MA70, as we had in the States, that was as good as it got.


After 1989, you could get a JZA70, complete with the inimitable 1JZ-GTE, twin turbo’d up to the let’s-not-rate-this-over-276 HP. But we never got the JZA70 in the States, and a nice one imported can run you $12,000

An MA70, by contrast, will not. It’s not hard to find one running and in decent shape for a couple grand.


Even then, though, you’ll have a car that’s too big to be a real sports car, too small to be as practical as a family car, and you’ll have to re-do the head gasket and head bolts if you want to drive it hard, which I would.


I’m not a big person. I’m all of 5'9" counting my hair, and a car that’s 15 feet long makes me look minute. This is not the car for me. A manual-swapped Cressida with a 1JZ is the car for me. I know it in my heart.


But I still can’t help but think that a MkIII Supra is the disposable, fuck-withable car that I could really use and beat the hell out of. It’d be like my old Lexus ES300 with a manual, only one that I could take drifting.


As the world goes crazy for freshly-importable Chasers and Skylines, the easily-overlooked Supra seems like the move.


Please, tell me that I am wrong. My bank account is begging you.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.