When’s the last time that you saw a MkIV Toyota Supra on the road?
Honestly, I can’t remember myself, and I come from a country where JDM imports are fairly commonplace, comparatively. I pass Skylines, RX-7s and Silvias several times per week, but never a Supra.
Heck, even at organised shows and events the fabled Supra is a rare enough sight to attract a sizeable crowds.
Where are they all now? Confined to the garages of those who know their ever-increasing worth? Destined for a life of polishing and waxing, and only seeing the light of day when a show or event worthy enough of their presence?
Some are, for sure, but the rest appear to be here in Norway. Gatebil is the Toyota Supra capital of the world.
I’m not entirely sure if my brain is coping very well with this overload of one of my favourite ’90s sports cars. As I write this it’s just ticked over 9:00am here; the track is live, busy, and the air thick with tyre smoke and the smell of speed. There’s no easing into Gatebil on a Saturday – straight through the gate and you’re thrust head-first into full-on mayhem.
Almost everywhere you look you can see that familiar silhouette. It’s a design that’s stood the test of time incredibly well, thanks in part, I believe, to the fact that the Supra has yet to receive a direct successor. Toyota has been teasing it for long enough – it has just announced the new Supra’s bizarre inclusion in NASCAR, of all places, and that the 2019 production MkV Supra will be showcased at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next weekend. If that’s true, I’ll bring you Speedhunters’ first view of the latest incarnation in a swift manner.
But back to the MkIV. It’s intriguing how this one part of Europe has honed in on Toyota’s celebrated sports car, and even stranger that Norwegians aren’t afraid to give them absolute death on circuit. Has no-one told them that these things are getting rarer by the minute? Thankfully not.
The unmistakable sound of a 2JZ at full chat is a headturner to any self-respecting automotive fan. But they’re not all that way out here. Scandinavia is famed for its open approach to engine swaps and ‘alternative’ tuning options, so often the sight of a MkIV screaming towards you is accompanied by the cacophony of a somewhat agricultural V8, maybe with the odd turbocharger or two hanging off the sides of it.
Much of the time that 2JZ that you can hear reverberating in the distance doesn’t even belong in a Supra any more – you’re more likely to find that particular powerplant in a Toyota 86 at Gatebil.
Arguably, it’s the engine that the 86 should have got from the factory. I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping Toyota has a spicy performance model up its sleeve in the future.
It seems fitting then that, in the same manner as Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, has embraced the Supra, the same appears to happening to Toyota’s latest sports coupe.
Across the rest of Europe these are still very much ‘new’ cars and far too expensive and nice to be used for drifting. But here at Gatebil there are more purpose-built drift 86s, as well as the odd grip build, than I have ever seen in one place before.
It’s a platform that’s been adopted with open arms by the aftermarket industry since its relatively recent launch in 2012, much like the Supra was some 25 years ago. The amount of off-the-shelf modifications and options for the 86 is mind boggling.
Do you think we’ll see the same level of support for the MkV Supra? Its shared platform with BMW would indicate that it’s a likelihood, providing the price tag doesn’t put it out of reach of the masses.
For the time being, and at Gatebil at least, it seems that the 86 is the Supra’s spiritual successor.