If you ask the average person on the street to name a Japanese performance car from the 1990s, chances are that they will say ‘Toyota Supra’.
Although there are many other legendary vehicles from the Land of the Rising Sun, few (perhaps with the exception of the Nissan GTR) could lay claim to such levels of desirability and continued popularity.
The Supra nameplate is so popular, that Toyota couldn’t resist bringing it back. We won’t be drawn into the arguments for or against the GR Supra, suffice it to say that Toyota clearly saw enough potential and latent demand for their greatest “modern” car that it was a worthwhile exercise.
But why are Toyota Supras so popular, even years after the last MK4 rolled off the production line?
Just what is it about this car that makes it so legendary, so desirable, and so rare?
Without further ado, here are the top three reasons why we believe that the MK4 Toyota Supra remains such a popular car, all these years later.
Film & Video Game Appearances
The Supra has appeared in numerous video games, and has also featured in TV and movies.
However, there are two specific titles (one video game, one movie) that we feel helped to make the Supra badge so legendary.
The first is Gran Turismo on the Playstation 1.
If you had this game in the 90s, you can probably still hear the music when you opened up the Toyota dealer and were greeted with the irresistible silhouette of the MK4 Supra:
No matter how crap your starting car (Mazda Demio anyone?) the Supra was something to aspire to.
In particular, the Castrol TOM’s race rep “special car” was truly the stuff dreams are made of:
Gran Turismo – and then subsequent titles – helped to embed the Supra name as something to look up to and long for.
As a kid playing Gran Turismo on my PS1, I always wanted a Supra in the game. As an adult, that love for the Supra has continued.
And no discussion of the Supra’s desirability could be complete without reference to the first Fast & Furious movie.
Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and “overnight parts from Japan” came together to create one of the most iconic movie cars of all time:
Just as with Gran Turismo, Fast & Furious helped to make more people aware of the Supra and enhance its status as a legendary performance car.
Another reason for the continued popularity of the Supra is its solid tuning potential, especially on the 2JZ-GTE motor.
It is well documented online that it can be possibly to extract as much as 800hp from the 2JZ-GTE on stock internals (although how long the motor would last is open to question).
Packing a seriously strong motor and gearbox, the Supra is a hugely popular choice with tuners looking to pick a platform from which they can extract supercar-embarrassing levels of performance.
Compared to other performance cars, it is relatively easy to get huge amounts of power out of the Supra, and in a “reliable” (used in the comparative sense here) fashion.
Therefore, tuner demand is another reason why Supras are so popular.
It’s also a reason why if you are looking to buy a Supra yourself, it can be very challenging to find one that isn’t modded!
Read our Toyota Supra buying guide for more information on how to score yourself a good example of this legendary car.
Peak Of Japanese Motoring “Golden Age”
This might be a controversial statement, but in our view the Toyota Supra represents the pinnacle of Japanese motoring in the “Golden Age” of the 1990s.
This is an era where every Japanese manufacturer was turning out exciting and interesting performance cars (including souped-up variants of normal cars).
However, the Supra is surely one of the pack leaders, if not sitting in pole position.
The only real challenger – when factoring in not just performance, but also cult status and present-day desirability – is the Skyline GTR. However, in the time that the MK4 Supra was around, the GTR had been through basically three different generations … in our view this ‘inconsistency’ gives the Supra the edge.
If you want to relive the glory days of 1990s Japanese performance vehicles, then the Supra is basically the Holy Grail.
Therefore, this is another reason why Supras are so popular and desired by many.
Conclusion – Why Are Supras So Popular?
Although there are no doubt more reasons why the Toyota Supra remains such a popular car, in our view the three reasons outlined above are the biggest reasons why it is so desirable.
As we discussed in a recent article on why Supras are so expensive these days, this increasing desirability (combined with a dwindling supply) has led to prices shooting up in recent years.
If you plan to get your hands on a good MK4 Toyota Supra, then you’ll need to act swiftly and decisively when you see one (and be prepared to pay a high price).
Make sure you read our Toyota Supra buyer’s guide for more information on how to snag yourself a good example of this legendary car.,
We also invite you to comment below to tell us why you think that the Supra is so popular and desirable, even all these years after production ended. Even if you don’t really like the Supra and think it is overrated, we would love to hear from you.