With the Celica long dead and the Supra now more closely aligned with a BMW than any Toyota model, it’s easy to forget that today’s Nice Price or No Dice Celica Supra existed at all. Let’s find out if it’s priced to prod memories a while longer.
There were two camps on yesterday’s 1988 Chevy C1500 pickup. On one side lay the people who don’t like trucks but felt that the Chevy’s $4,000 felt like a fair deal for anyone who does. On the other side were the people who like and own trucks but felt the Chevy’s standard cab and long bed were detriments that only a lower price could overcome.
In the end, it was the “not for me but for thee” voters who prevailed, giving the Chevy an incontestable 58 percent Nice Price win.
In yesterday’s vote, the popular choice prevailed. I’m now going to now lay down an opinion that may instead prove extremely unpopular among many of you. Ready? Here we go: the current Toyota Supra is not a great car to drive. Boom. Call the lawyers.
It’s not that the BMW-based Toyota isn’t engaging or capable, it’s just that the compromises made to get it on the street looking the way it does makes exercising those capabilities frustrating and fatiguing. The problems with the new Supra lie not in its BMW underpinnings but with the aggressively styled and somewhat impractical bodywork — and the snug-fitting cabin that results.
The bodywork is not just cartoonish — looking like a Star Wars stormtrooper when presented in white, or when in black, alarmingly like Spaceballs’ Dark Helmet — it also makes the new Supra hard to live with. The result of the low roofline and high sills is poor visibility all around and a claustrophobic-feeling cockpit. Add to that the incredibly annoying wind buffeting in the Supra at speed when just one of the windows is open, and you’ve got a car that you may simply not want to spend great lengths of time in.
Now in contrast, this classic 1982 Toyota Celica Supra comes across as almost as bad-ass but does so while also providing a generous greenhouse and two extra seats in the back. Will this second-generation car perform at the same level as a modern BMW-imbued Supra? No, it won’t. Let’s not kid ourselves.
With a 145-horsepower 5M-GE straight-six under the hood and what’s admittedly ’70s technology in its suspension and steering, there’s just no way this vintage Supra will keep up with its great-performing grandkid. Still, it’ll look pretty cool trying.
The A60 Supra came out in ’81 still carrying its hyphenated Celica-Supra moniker. The car got a longer nose than the standard Celica, necessary to accommodate the twin-cam six underneath. That nose, fitted with pop-up headlamps and a bulldog underbite, was vastly more adventurous than its sister Celica’s crude interpretation of the Porsche 928’s eye-rolling headlights.
This one, in Light Blue Metallic over a blue cloth interior, still looks chunkily aggressive today. In fact, I’d wager that this model is one of the best-looking Supras there ever was. The car comes with 122k on the clock and all its factory trim intact. That includes the handsome alloy wheels, here fitted with BFG Radial T/As.
The bodywork is straight and appears rust-free, but the pictures do evidence some imperfections. Notably, those include issues with the roof, where there is some clear-coat fade and what looks to be some crude paint patching. In other areas, you’ll note the black-painted trim has lost its topcoat.
The interior presents well, with minimal wear and tear evident. The dash is capped with an unfortunate toupee, but that seems to be there to protect it rather than mask some befoulment of age. The driver’s seat could stand a good cleaning and is missing some trim, but all of the other seating surfaces and the door cards look to be in decent shape.
This Supra not only one (or two)-ups its present-day descendant with 2+2 seating, it also offers a manual transmission, something unavailable on the the 2020 car.
That five-speed is bolted to the 2.8-liter six in an engine bay that’s almost completely stock and appears amazingly clean. The ad does note that the a/c has been updated to R134. It also lists a slew of work done since 2017, including a fuel system flush, timing belt and almost all of the suspension. The car is claimed to be “a pleasure to drive,” and the seller warns that it gets “LOTS of attention.”
According to that ad, the car spent most of its life in Southern California. It carries a clean title and now calls California’s neighbor to the north, Oregon, its home. That SoCal connection is evident, however, in the seller’s choice to advertise the Supra in the Los Angeles Craigslist.
There, it asks $11,500, and it’s now time for you all to vote on whether that price makes this uber-Celica a super deal. What do you think, could this survivor Supra command that much cash? Or, does that price make this classic Toyota a class in bad value?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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