All Photos Credit Ken Saito
A Car Nerd's Guide To JapanAn insider look at car culture in Japan.

Toyota is fully aware of how big of a deal the new Supra is, with fans have waited over two decades for the new A90. But the car is built in Austra and debuted in Geneva. So to celebrate the physical arrival of the new Supra in Japan, Toyota held a three-day long ‘festival’ at their Mega Web showroom in Tokyo Bay. The cars that showed up will surprise you.

This being a milestone for Toyota and Toyota’s fans, it wouldn’t be enough to only show the new Supra. Toyota brought in the help of some heavy hitters to remind people why the Supra became a legend. From the previous generation Supras to Super GT racecars, drift cars, and even a movie car, Toyota didn’t hold back.

Speaking with some of the staff onsite, they said Toyota wanted to show everyone the lineage of what made the Supra great. They brought in the previous generation Supras (excluding the Celica Supras), various race cars, and some of the most famous and iconic versions to show what can be done with the Supra. They also had the entire engine lineup of the new Supra as well as some examples modified by TRD and tuning giant HKS.

Dubbed the ‘Supra Is Back In Japan Fes’ (and that’s not a typo), for one weekend only the first floor of the gigantic showroom Toyota Mega Web was cleared of all other Toyota models and became Supra central. The official press launch of the fifth-generation Supra was held earlier in the morning, but doors opened to the public in the afternoon. I was genuinely surprised by the amount of people there already on the first day of the event. I was expecting most to show over the weekend.

Part of what gave the last Supra the legendary status it has now was its success in Japan’s Super GT race series. (For those of you who remember the third generation’s rally efforts, we salute you.) Supras raced in various guises, but it was the fourth generation car that became legend competing in what was then called the All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC) starting in 1995. It would go on to compete until 2006, four years after the Supra road car ceased production.

There was good reason for that lasting reputation, too. The Supra won the Championship four times in 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005. To make existing Supra fans happy, and in hope of bringing new ones in, Toyota had the Castrol-livery 1997 All Japan GT Championship Team Title-winning car on display. Some cars and livery combinations are pure icons; think Lancia and Martini, Ford and Gulf, and McLaren and Marlboro. For Toyota, Castrol is the only livery that matters.

Alongside the Castrol car were two 2002 entrants; the Esso car taking second place at Fuji Speedway that year while the au car took first place at Fuji in 2002 as well as the driver’s title for Hironori Takeuchi.

From there, things started to transition away from what you might expect from such a giant corporate monolith such as Toyota. The transition, though, was smooth.

Continuing on the Super GT was a special display of cars owned by Manabu ‘Max’ Orido. Orido-san is known for racing several Supras from 2000 to 2005 during his career in Super GT, most famously behind the wheel of the DENSO SARD Supra. At the same time as competing in Super GT, Orido-san continued his career in drifting. It was there where he cemented his reputation as a great while driving, yes, a Supra.

Today he still competes in Super GT, but his love for the Mark 4 Supra is still as strong as ever, which is evident from the cars he displayed here. The three cars on the Orido-san display were of three varying degrees of modification. He showed a bone stock example, a slightly modified T-Top, and right bang in the middle was his famously red pride and joy.

Orido-san built this with the aim of his interpretation of the ultimate street Supra. The 2JZ-GTE engine has been upped to 600hp with the help of an HKS turbocharger, intercooler, and F-CON VPRO engine management system. There’s a mix-n-match of exterior parts from the likes of Ridox, Tamon Design and Varis. It’s a truly special car and one that has been displayed at various Toyota events in the past. It’s unquestionably iconic.

Over on the other side the showroom were some of the previous generations Supra. Interestingly Toyota only chose to display the Mark 3 and Mark 4. I guess the company wanted to avoid confusion of having to explain the Celica Supra (or Celica XX as the first and second gen car were marketed in Japan) to new customers and fans. The Mark 3 cars were generally stock across the board, with some minor cosmetic modifications being the most noticeable.

For the Mark 4 display, Toyota went crazy with their choices which included a black Top Secret car and a blue Abflug kit Supra. It was wild to see the company that makes the Prius showing such extreme ends of the tuning capability of the Supra.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Supra without a nod to Fast and Furious, perhaps the whole reason why Mark 4 Supras are now commanding six-figure prices today. Toyota had a special exhibit in their Mega Theatre which was playing Fast & Furious on repeat.

For the Mark 5, Toyota were keen to emphasise that this would be as good of a base as its predecessors for the tuning market. A complete TRD car was on display sporting various carbon trim bits and pieces. They weren’t particularly good looking nor did they help the Supra’s issue of the fake vents. However, the pricing wasn’t very Toyota at all with most of the pieces costing ¥200,000-300,000 ($1815-2720) each.

Meanwhile, Japanese tuning giant HKS showed its own interpretation of the new car and it was much more tasteful. It looked wonderful in satin grey paint and white wheels, recently seen testing new suspension. HKS also had a prototype muffler for the A90 Supra, which will surely be a popular upgrade for future Supra owners.

There was also Daigo Saito’s (possibly cursed?) Monster Energy D1GP car which is competing this year. In the motorsports corner Toyota had the Supra NASCAR, Racing Concept, and GT Concept which suggests a return to Super GT for the Supra in the near future.

There was a Supra for everyone, for those not able to afford the new car or not old enough to drive yet, there were Tamiya R/C cars to play with, 1/43 scale model cars from Make-Up Co., Ltd, and the announcement of a Tomica Supra coming later in the summer. Toyota said it wanted this to be an event for everyone; young and old, current and future fans of the Supra. The buzz of the Supra drew crowds in and people were queuing to have a sit in each of the various trim levels.

This was part of the reason why Toyota held this event, it wanted people to get up close and personal with the new Supra by themselves and with friends without having to go to a showroom and get hassled by a salesman. Free test drives of the Supra at Mega Web’s 1.3 kilometre test course started the following week, with product experts to explain more about that car rather than try and sell you on it.

Prices for the Supra start from ¥4,900,000 ($44,450) for the 197 horsepower four-cylinder going up to ¥5,900,000 ($53,525) for the mid-range 258 HP four-cylinder, and topping out at ¥6,900,000 ($62,600) for the 340 HP six-cylinder. Interestingly, the equivalent Z4 with 340 HP costs a whopping ¥8,300,000 ($75,300) in Japan. The extortionate BMW pricing in Japan, and European car pricing over here in general, is a whole other story.

As Tokyo Bay area is a popular tourist location, there were plenty of foreigners having a look around the new Toyota sports car. It was interesting to over people talking about the BMW interior, fake vents, and wondering if it was made in Germany or Japan. Unsurprisingly, people were gobsmacked when they saw the stunning FT-1 Concept. A bold move from Toyota putting that beautiful concept car and the Supra road car together in the same room.

Toyota could’ve easily just launched the new A90 Supra in Japan on its own. There was no need to put on an event like this but Toyota wanted to make a splash. They wanted to show the history and lineage of the Supra and why it’s become the legend it is. Sure, they might have been milking the Supra name a bit, but it was an incredible display. It was worth it just to see the Castrol car alone, though it was still a good chance to see the A90 in person for myself.

There’s no doubt the Supras of old have cemented themselves among the Japanese sports car legends. What’s interesting is that Toyota seems to understand that only time, fans, and (maybe most importantly) racing and tuners can decide if the fifth generation will join their ranks.

Share This Story

Advertisement

Advertisement