Ah, the Toyota Supra. It’s a car that every car lover has looked at twice at least once in their life.
Regardless of how old you are, it’s impossible to deny the rising success and late appreciation of the Supra, even if it’s just the latest controversy about the brand’s new Mark V and how it’s basically a BMW with a Toyota badge.
But how about the Mark IV, the Supra that really made us think twice about Supras, and gave many a newfound appreciation for the name? You’ve probably now watched our detailed buyer’s guide about the Mark IV Supra, but if you haven’t, give it a quick look if you’re interested in buying one.
If you just want to learn about it, we put together 10 super surprising facts about the Mark IV Supra that you may not have known before!
#1: They’re Expensive as F@&#!
Okay, so maybe this is one you already knew, but it’s important enough to mention again! The Mark IV has shot up in value, and North American spec examples are worth more than you can imagine!
JDM examples that made it onto our shores are still in the realm of affordability, but a minty left-hand drive USA model with the twin-turbo 2JZ and manual combination can push the six-figure mark without flinching!
#2: Not All Snail-Powered
The boosted 2JZ is really the engine to have, especially with the slick-shifting six-speed manual. A-four speed automatic was available and optioned on quite a few models, but of course, if you’re a real manuals enthusiast like we are, you won’t want one.
But, the base model of the Supra didn’t actually get twin-turbos. It was a naturally-aspirated version of the 2JZ, called the 2JZ-GE, which was good for just 220 horsepower.
It was still a decent amount of power, significantly more than the Mark II or III cars, but the aftermarket took to adding turbos after the fact to make the naturally-aspirated cars faster.
#3: Super Powerful
Nowadays, the cars you see enthusiasts boosting up to over 1,000 horsepower include the R35 Nissan GT-R, Lamborghini Gallardo, and other supercars that have depreciated over time. But it wasn’t always like that, the Supra was one of the earliest cars that the aftermarket got past the 1,000 horsepower mark.
Aftermarket turbos, additional cooling, and beefed-up engine components all contributed to get these cars past that magical four-figure benchmark.
Of course, the stock internals on the Supra were robust, but needed to be reinforced or replaced before the cars could reliably hit that point. But, man, imagine having a car with a period-correct 90’s body kit, huge spoiler, and the actual capability to be a 10-second car!
#4: Six-Speed Sisters
Mark IV Supras sold with manual transmissions got a gearbox called the Getrag V160, made by transmission mogul Getrag. They developed this transmission in the early 1990’s for use on the Mark IV Supra, and it was a great one. This gearbox was reliable enough to transmit ridiculous amounts of power, and the stock clutch and shifter combination in the Supra is heavenly.
But later on, Getrag used the same gearbox in the R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R between 1999 and 2002. Its robustness and overall reliability made it the choice transmission to mate to the boosted RB26 in the Skyline, which had many similar personality traits to the Supra’s 2JZ.
Both cars, which were and still are direct competitors, ended up being known for having reliable as well as engaging and truly involving transmissions. Go figure!
#5: Heavyweight Champ
Usually, newer cars are bigger, fatter, and heavier than cars from two decades ago. While the 80’s and 90’s were a downward trend in size from the large land yachts of the 60’s and 70’s, they were the bottom point of size and weight, because modern safety and crash regulations have meant cars are once again much larger than their predecessors.
The exception is the Supra. The current Supra is 3,397 pounds and 172.5 inches in length. The Mark IV, last sold in North America in 1998, was almost 10 inches longer at 183.5 inches, and 3,445 pounds!
The weight difference isn’t as substantial as the physical size of the car. The new Supra looks and feels much smaller than the portly Mark IV.
#6: The Fancy Supra
That’s right, the Supra has a brother that was produced at the same time, and was much more luxury-oriented. Toyota produced the Lexus SC 300 and SC 400 under their luxury wing, with somewhat usable rear seats through a 2+2 design.
The SC 300 got the naturally-aspirated version of the 2JZ, and while it never offered the twin-turbo motor, the flagship SC 400 got a 4.0-liter V8 shared with the king of the lineup, the infamous Lexus LS 400.
The SC had sharp styling that has aged just as gracefully as the Supra’s. And at least as of now, it hasn’t seen value appreciation anywhere close to what the Supra has. Some rare SC 300’s were even produced with manual transmissions, which makes them the affordable alternative to the base Mark IV Supra.
If you haven’t heard what a straight-piped SC 400 with that glorious 1UZ V8 sounds like, you’re in for a new world.
#7: Only Beaten by a Carrera GT
The Supra Turbo had a very special braking system, a four-sensor and four-channel ABS system with yaw control. It had sensors on each caliper that controlled each corner individually, a technology inspired by Formula One cars.
Because of this system, the Supra hauled to a stop from 70 miles per hour in just 149 feet, a record that was held from the time it was tested in 1997 until 2004, broken only by Porsche’s Carrera GT hypercar. The Carrera GT did it in 145 feet.
Imagine a Toyota that cost double-digits holding a performance record that couldn’t be bested for nearly a decade, and even then, by a six-figure hypercar made by a manufacturer specifically devoted to unparalleled performance!
#8: JDM Is Cheaper Than USA
Japanese imports, once they’re 25 years old, can be brought into the United States. The Mark IV Supra has now crept into this territory, and we’re starting to see more and more making their way into the country. They’re still worth significantly less on our shores than USA-sold examples, though, and there are some very specific reasons for this.
JDM cars are right-hand drive, and while you may think there’s some appeal to driving a right-hand drive car in the USA, it poses more problems than you might think. Insurance companies typically don’t want to touch right-hand drive vehicles due to higher liability and complication. Also, some parts are JDM-only, and unique to Japanese models. This starts with interior trim and goes as far as emission and exhaust components that were never available in North America.
As a result, Japanese cars are worth as little as half of what a clean North American example is, and while they’ll still rise in value, they’ll go up proportionately versus their American-sold counterparts, so a JDM car will always be worth less no matter how you look at it.
If you’re not looking for investment purposes and just want to enjoy the cheapest Supra you can find, go wild and have fun!
#9: Fastest Car in the UK
Smokey Nagata, boss in the Japanese modified scene and of the company Top Secret, had a 900-horsepower Supra that was painted gold, with tasteful mods both aesthetic and performance. Nagata shipped this Supra to the United Kingdom in 1999, and over some time, decided to wreak some havoc all over the British roads.
One night at 4:00 in the morning, he stepped on it, and allegedly hit 197 miles per hour on an open stretch of the A1M motorway.
He was caught, arrested, and deported out of the country, but unofficially, this Supra still holds the record for the fastest speed reached by a car on a British highway. All Smokey had to do was spend a night in jail and pay a fine of 190 pounds! That’s it? Go Smokey!
#10: Toyota Is Making Parts Again
Toyota’s performance wing, Gazoo Racing, has announced that they will once again start making parts for certain heritage cars. As prices for certain cult classics like the Supra continue to rise, Toyota has seen value in providing die-hard enthusiasts an official way to keep their cars on the road.
Gazoo’s Shigeki Tomoyama announced last year at the launch of the new Supra that many regular Toyota dealers will be able to order parts through the Gazoo Racing catalogue for both Mark III and Mark IV Supra models.
Unlike other manufacturers who have done this as well, Toyota will be offering this in the USA and Europe as well as their home country of Japan. The Mark IV Supra catalogue is going to start with headlights, door handles, brake boosters and more. It’s not everything, but it’s a start!
So, there are the 10 super surprising facts about the Mark IV Supra that you may not have heard before! In case you haven’t already, make sure to check out our detailed buyer’s guide outlining everything you need to know about the Mark IV Supra to help you make an informed decision!
How much do you think the Mark IV Supra will continue to go up? Do you think it’ll be a half-million-dollar car someday? Are there other JDM relics that you can see going up similarly in value? Drop us a comment below and let us know!