This 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo Is an Overrated JDM Holy Grail

Okay, it's time to talk about what I think is the most cancerous car in petrolhead culture - the Toyota Supra. Kidding and exaggerating aside, I, alongside other petrolheads, can't look at the Supra without thinking about the cringy "this can be tuned to beat absolutely anything" comments in every JDM video on the Internet. But does it deserve this stigma? Let's dive.
1994 Toyota Supra Turbo 11 photos
Photo: x98boardwell/Bring a Trailer
1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo1994 Toyota Supra Turbo
Before getting to the Supra, I must mention a few things. First of all, I'm talking about the MK4 Supra in particular, as it is the leading candidate for the overhyping coming from kids who don't even have a driver's license.

Secondly, I'm not saying that the Supra is a bad car in any way, shape, or form, and when we take a deeper look, we'll find it to be a rather good one; it might just not worth the hype and the ginormous price that comes along with that.

We'll talk about the MK4 in a second, but we ought to take a look at its history, as it is a pretty interesting one. It all began in 1970 with the brand new, rear-wheel drive Celica, made to look and compete with the pony cars America was pumping out at that time. And, in the oil crisis and emissions regulations world, the small and fuel efficient Japanese car was perfect.

It underwent a few variations over the years, but in 1978, the Celica XX was launched. It was a more powerful version of the base car and developed alongside the masters of twisty roads and grip driving - Lotus. The XX name wasn't that well received in the States, so this trim level was called the Celica Supra.

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo
Photo: x98boardwell/Bring a Trailer
The next generation of the Supra, called the A60, was introduced in 1981, and it was decent but nothing you would think twice about. That said, things started to change in 1986, when the third generation was introduced. This generation, known as the A70, represented the moment the Supra name was torn away from the Celica line, and it became its own model, not just a trim level.

At first, the MK3 wasn't that great because it was still using the engine from the previous generation, but with a whole lot more weight around it. Thankfully, in 1987, it was updated, with a turbocharger, creating the 7M-GTE engine, a true great from a long line of power plants. Even though the 230 hp (233 ps) pumped out by the 7M-GTE were more than enough, in 1992, one of the holy grails of engines was introduced – the 1JZ, creating the best version of the MK3 Supra.

On paper, things couldn’t get any better, could they? Well, enter the A80 in 1993, and tuner and Japanese performance culture would change forever. Now, we’ll take a deep look at this 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo and try to figure out if it’s overrated or not.

The fourth generation ditched the boxy looks of the '80s for a more rounded-off, sleek, design. This particular Supra is finished in black. It has a big rear wing, for that boy-racer look, a front splitter, and a removable roof, for all of that top-down shenanigans.

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo
Photo: x98boardwell/Bring a Trailer
Contrasting that fresh black paint is a set of 17-inch five-spoke wheels. Behind those wheels and keeping this heavy, boat-of-a-car somewhat planted is a double-wishbone suspension setup on all four corners. Also, on every corner, you'll find ventilated disks with Supra-branded calipers.

The inside keeps the contrast going, with Ivory leather on the seats and black trim everywhere else. Your comfort amenities include a power-adjustable driver seat, a Pioneer touchscreen head unit, cruise control, and power windows. The steering wheel, which looks like it came straight out of a RAV4, fronts a 180 mph (290 kph) speedometer and a tachometer with a 6,800 rpm redline.

Now, it’s time to get to the engine, and this is the main reason why the Supra is so sought after. It's called the 2JZ. It’s a 3.0-liter (183 ci) inline-six, which, in this car, has two turbochargers, churning out a more than decent 320 hp (324 ps). But that wasn't the main point with the 2JZ - that was tunability. Toyota, whether accidental or not, created an almost indestructible engine, which meant that every mechanic or car nerd that knew what he was doing could squeeze out massive horsepower numbers out of this engine.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via a Torsen limited-slip differential and a six-speed manual transmission, which makes this car even more desirable. Now, let's circle back to the beginning of this article. Is the Supra overrated or not? Well, the short answer is yes, but let's see why.

1994 Toyota Supra Turbo
Photo: x98boardwell/Bring a Trailer
As I said, it's not at all a bad car, it’s mostly all social media and Fast and Furious fever dreams. A lot of people think that this car is so easily tunable that if you buy one and stay a few days locked away in your garage, you will have an all-conquering monster. That's certainly not the case. Yes, it's easy to tune, but that doesn't mean you can do it in your backyard with minimal tools, 20 dollars, and a ten-piece McNuggets.

Truth be told, I can also drop a massive LS in my Dacia, make around 600 hp (608 ps) in a 900 kg (1,900 lbs) car, and not only beat, but demolish any car that crosses my path. But that won't make Dacias worth around six figures like Supras are.

That said, if you have that kind of money and want to experience a true, pristine '90s JDM vibe, a Supra might be for you. And if that's the case, you're in luck, as this particular Supra is up at auction in Fresno, California. It's already at 60,000 dollars with five days left on the auction, so expect to dig deep. It has 61,000 miles (98000 kilometers), and it comes with a clean Carfax report and a clean California title.
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About the author: Călin Iosif
Călin Iosif profile photo

Călin’s origin story is being exposed to Top Gear when he was very young. Watching too much of Clarkson, Hammond and May argue on TV turned him into Petrolhead (an automotive journalist with a soft spot for old pieces of... cars, old cars).
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