Toyota Supra (A70) Profile

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Toyota Supra (A70) General Information

It somehow is tempting to compare this car to the Nissan Silvia 200SX. Both these Japanese makes made their groupA debut at the 1987 Safari with a huge, overweight, 3 litre 6-cylinder coupé - though the Supra was even bigger than the Silvia and had an in-line 6-cylinder as opposed to a V6. For Toyota this may seem strange, since TTE boss Ove Andersson had a life time discussion with the Toyota bosses in Japan, if the little Corolla wasn't the better base model for rallying than the overweight Celica. Now the Supra was easily another market category above the Celica. It was a case of yet another new Celica generation being introduced for 1988 with Toyota needing a groupA car for 1987. TTE didn’t want to develop a car for only 2 rallies and regarded the Supra as an Africa specialist car alongside a future 4x4 Celica for sprint events. After all the groupB Celica TA64 Turbo was a superb example that the Safari was a surprising specialized event that demanded torque more than 4x4.

As well the older and slightly smaller 2.8i version of the Supra had been a promising groupA car with Per Eklund in Britain in the groupB days.

Just to explain the Supra range: It's later generations are looked upon as an independent car. But in fact the Supra does origin from the Celica and therefore also for some time didn't have clear own model ID codes, or simply the Celica "R/T" replaced by "M", MA40*.... Anyway, in difference to other Toyota models, the Supra is often identified with "Mk" generation tags rather than specific model codes.
Supra Mk1 (MA40): The Toyota Celica A40 was available as 2-door coupé with proper boot and as 3-door liftback. Only of the liftback version there was an upmarket version. This upmarket version is called Supra, although in body shell there are no differences except small details as i.e. chrome grill. In fact both were called the A40 model range, only deeper in Toyota's complicated system RA40 turned MA40.
Supra Mk2 (MA61): Based on the Celica RA63*. Difference to the previous generation is that the Celica RA63 was only available as a 2-door, proper saloon-type boot, huge C-pillar. This means the 3-door liftback variation was exclusive to the Supra name, and the Supra also had a different, flat front with pop up headlamps. Confusingly, before you cry there was a Celica liftback, depending on market this MA61 was called "Supra" or "Celica XX".
Supra MA61 as a rally car: This MA61/Mk2 Supra was the version that Per Eklund rallied in UK in 1985. A groupA car with a 2759cc in-line 6-cylinder and RWD. Only one car, B24 XUW (London, Toyota Team GB), was ever built for rallying (a couple more were found in the BTCC) and never seen at WRC level, so we don't have an own section and datasheet for it. (TTGB really seemed to have some adventure ideas, although even less famous than Eklund's Supra MA61, TTGB also had the only Supra MA70 3.0i turbo ever prepared to groupN, D331 FUV, but the car only appeared on asphalt rallies in 1988 with newcomer Graham Middleton.)
Supra Mk3 (MA70): This is the car we cover here, the TTE marathon rally car of early groupA. This model is the first Supra with a completely independent design. The big Supra MA70 was sold alongside the Celica ST160, which arrived 1 1/2 years later with own design and new model code.
Last Supra: Just to be complete. The Supra Mk3 was followed by the Supra Mk4 or Supra A80 or in Toyota's full complicated ways rather than MA70 this was now the JZA80. The car now had a proper 3.0L as in 2997cc straight-6. It is maybe the most famous Supra as it is known from Asian circuit racing and the Fast&Furious films. It was for the first time marketed as a high performance car and maybe therefore never rallied. Thank's God, even if maybe a matter of taste I can't help stating that in difference to all previous Supras the A80 was very ugly. And with production ending in 2002 it was the last Supra ever.

* Maybe with confusing Toyota model codes, the last digit often refers to engines. The ST160 as a 4x4 turbo (rally base car) would be the ST165, same with ST180 & ST200 generations Celica. However on the 1st generation Supra you see how engines grew for this model. While above I name a Supra MA40 as an example, strictly speaking an MA40 never existed except for generation identity (A40). We do know the Celica rally car as the RA40. Same generation Supra would be the MA46 with the last digit identifying a 2563cc in line 6-cylinder engine. Only for the last year of this generation Supra the engine was enlarged to 2759cc, turning this the MA47, same engine as used in the MA61, but enlarged again to 2954cc for the MA70. The A60-generation Celica/Supra is very complicated. Prefix R = Celica, T = Celica Turbo and M = Supra. An RA63 such would identify it's most common 2.0 atmospheric engine (see Celica A60 group4), RA64 the same with a bigger 2.4 engine for USA, a TA63 is a 1.8 turbo and a TA64 the same enlarged to 2.1 (see Celica A60 groupB) and an MA61 is a Supra with a 6-cylinder engine. From the A70 generation the Supra became an independent model with the Celica range getting new codes. Strangely in the A70-generation the Supra was only identified as the MA70. The ’70 because despite optional turbo and increased to a 3.0 6-cylinder, this car was only available as a Supra with only this one engine. Strangely though, normally Toyota would identify the turbo version as the TA70, but here both versions were called MA70 - why make it so complicated then?

I may add here just how truly beautiful this car was. Maybe you see here that I don’t complain about Asian cars for the sake of complaining about Asians. Besides, if you see programs like Top Gear, I seem to not be alone seeing Asians in general and Toyota in special as a brand that comes out with one characterless car after the other. The Corolla always lacked character, heart and soul, just a piece of metal to make money with. The Celica changed shape and generation every 3-4 years. How ever do you get a true classic like that? The Supra in future generations was also too cluttered and somehow strange. But not so the first time the Supra became an independent model rather than a variation of the Celica. This Supra MA70/Mk3 was a long car with a strong presence without looking cluttered or silly. Especially its dash, maybe a bit like a Ford Capri, even bigger, more dials, and all curved towards the driver. This to me is a real cockpit! Maybe matter of taste, but strange than that this comes from me: The Supra MA70 probably has the nicest dashboard of all cars of all time, never mind the country of origin!

On the rally stages, while weight and size clearly was the downfall of the Supra 3.0i, there soon was a novelty to come with it. While the 3.0i already produced 290BHP in groupA form, there was a turbo version of this big in-line 6-cylinder engine on the market. Maybe TTE themselves were surprised when the FIA permitted them to homologate the turbo. You have to picture this: The 300BHP limit was still fresh in the wake of the groupB ban. And turbo air restrictors were still only in the discussion stage. The normally aspirated Supra 3.0i already produced 290BHP. And being the high volume 3.0 it was, to fit a big turbo to it was bound to be massively efficient, worth more than 10BHP. The FIA must have known this car was easily going to have 400BHP! And Toyota never hid that fact either!

Funny enough, this massive power increase did not at all seem to help the massive Supra. The car was leading the 1987 Safari until the engine overheated on the last day and it won the 1987 Hong Kong-Beijing - both in the hands of Björn Waldegaard and noticeably both in the non-turbo version! Funny enough in these examples the Supra had a fair fate. Safari 1987, once Blomqvist’s Ford Sierra Cosworth retired, Waldegaard in the Toyota Supra 3.0i was virtually dominating the event. The famous Mikkola Audi 200 T Quattro win was only possible after the Supra very unluckily cooked its engine when it clogged its radiator grille in the high ferns of the Thaita Hills, close to the finish. The Supra made up for this bad luck in the Hong Kong-Beijing Rally, were everything looked like a Ford Sierra XR4x4 victory until last stage dramas.

On the turbo debut then, the Supra was leading the 1987 Bandama Rally, but the team withdrew all their cars when Henry Liddon and Nigel Harris sadly lost their lifes when the team's Cessna crashed! (No, Cessna is not a Toyota model name! LOL. It would just fit in, wouldn't it? Corolla, Corona, Carina, Cressida, Celica...) The team attempted the African rallies with the car again in 1988 & 1989, but the Supra could not repeat its 1987 performances, which was quite a surprise. I say several times that the Safari is a very specialised rally that despite African mud and sand needs torque more than 4x4. And Toyota with the Celica Turbo TA64 beating all groupB supercars on Safari and Bandama year in year out was the team to prove this fact. This is one of the mysteries that makes this sport so fascinating: In 1988 & 1989 all the sudden a small Lancia Delta integrale could win the Safari closely challenged by the Nissan Silvia 200SX, plus the Nissan winning Bandama. In 1987 with the non-turbo Supra, Toyota clearly had the measure of the Nissan Silvia 200SX, but once the Supra turbo was there, things just didn’t come together for reasons nobody really can explain. If you see once again the history of the Safari until that point, the idea of preparing a super powerful RWD Supra for events as the Safari, while waiting for the 4x4 Celica and even still using the Supra alongside the 4x4 Celica, was in fact a genius plan.

Toyota Supra (A70) Related Content

Toyota Supra (A70) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Toyota Supra (A70) (MA70) 3.0i (87-88) 290/6800 300/6000 4630.1745.1330 1440 (5) RWD (2595)
Toyota Supra (A70) (MA70) 3.0i turbo (88-89) 400/6600 480/4000 4630.1745.1330 1440 (3.6) RWD (2595)

Random Toyota Supra (A70) Photos

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Toyota Supra (A70) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
4th. 1989 WRC Safari Rally B. Waldegaard F. Gallagher #5 [UNKNOWN] 9:46:23
5th. 1989 WRC Safari Rally I. Duncan I. Munro #10 [UNKNOWN] 9:57:28
4th. 1988 WRC Safari Rally K. Eriksson P. Diekmann #7 [UNKNOWN] 3:53:46
5th. 1988 WRC Safari Rally J. Kankkunen J. Piironen #2 [UNKNOWN] 4:16:22
7th. 1988 WRC Safari Rally B. Waldegaard F. Gallagher #8 [UNKNOWN] 4:29:31
3rd. 1987 WRC Safari Rally L. Torph B. Melander #4 [UNKNOWN] 4:31:09
6th. 1987 WRC Safari Rally R. Ulyate I. Street #11 [UNKNOWN] 6:33:07
6th. 1987 WRC USA Olympus Rally B. Waldegaard F. Gallagher #4 [UNKNOWN] 6:17:26

Toyota Supra (A70) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1990 WRC Safari Rally B. Rautenbach J. Mitchell #15 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1989 WRC Bandama Rallye B. Rautenbach J. Mitchell #21 [UNKNOWN] SS50 suspension
Ret. 1989 WRC Safari Rally B. Rautenbach J. Mitchell #17 [UNKNOWN] SS7 clutch
Ret. 1987 WRC Bandama Rallye B. Waldegaard F. Gallagher #3 [UNKNOWN] SS12 withdrawn - after plane crash claimed lifes of Henry Liddon & Nigel Harris
Ret. 1987 WRC Bandama Rallye L. Torph B. Melander #1 [UNKNOWN] SS12 withdrawn - after plane crash claimed lifes of Henry Liddon & Nigel Harris
Ret. 1987 WRC Bandama Rallye R. Ulyate I. Street #5 [UNKNOWN] SS12 withdrawn - after plane crash claimed lifes of Henry Liddon & Nigel Harris
Ret. 1987 WRC USA Olympus Rally L. Torph B. Melander #8 [UNKNOWN] SS23 engine
Ret. 1987 WRC Safari Rally B. Waldegaard F. Gallagher #3 [UNKNOWN] SS67 engine