On the surface it looks like a choice between two equals, like choosing between Coke in a can or Coke in a bottle. Sure, the packaging’s a little different, but the product is the same. Right?
The Supra has been elevated to cult-like status, fueled by rumors of the comeback of a modern version. The Celica Supra, though, was a different beast than the Supra it became.
One was a fun and powerful sports car, the other was an understated luxurious small car. Either would be a great used find, but I have one I’d much prefer to own.
The Celica Supra was introduced for the 1978 model year and based largely on the Toyota Celica, but longer in the hood by about 5 inches to accommodate an inline 6-cylinder instead of the stock Celica’s 4-cylinder engine. Toyota’s original plan for the Supra was to make it a competitor to the popular Datsun 280Z.
A small car available with all the refinements of any larger car, the Celica Supra had power windows and door locks, a tilting steering wheel, a luxurious interior, cruise control, multi-adjustable bucket seats and a sunroof. It was comfortable and reliable and unlike anything on the market at the time.
In the middle of 1986, Toyota made the Supra its own model and separated it from the Celica. Some might say it became bloated and expensive, while others hold the later Supra in reverence as a rear-wheel-drive sports tourer that deserves a spot in Toyota’s modern lineup. The car was sold in the States until 1998, after which it became a highly desirable used model.
As great as the second Supra was, the first Supra was something special and would be my choice. Toyota took a good little car and made it exponentially better. There’s just something to be said for that simple, understated style.
Which would you choose, a 1978-1986 Toyota Celica Supra or a 1986-1998 Supra?