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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Your handy 1986-93 Toyota Supra (A70) buyer's guide | Hagerty Media

Why, why, why does half the world seem to ignore this Supra? The later fourth-generation Supras are sports-car royalty thanks to a more powerful turbo engine and 20 years of appearances in blockbuster movies, all while the third-generation, A70 Supra languishes, comparatively ignored.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/1986-93-toyota-supra-a70-buyers-guide/
9 REPLIES 9
ppointer
Intermediate Driver

I owned a 1987 non-turbo 5-speed, bought in 1988 with low mileage. Loved it. A friend, who was a 928 owner, borrowed it for a week. His conclusion was that even though the car only had "90% the power of the 928" (his words), it otherwise was very similar. That was a compliment coming from him. He traded the 928 for the first NSX in town, so I got to put a few miles on that. Anyway, I'm not nostalgic enough to look for one now, but I have great memories of that '87 Supra.
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

Toyota missed the boat with the new Supra. I fear they'll do the same with the upcoming 6th generation 4runner.
sytydave
Pit Crew

Lets not rewrite history, the weight was an issue when compared to its peers of the time. The Supra turbo added more weight as did the popular Targa top option as well. The 87 Turbo Targa weighted more than 400# more than a 87 Corvette Coupe. The Supra price fell about half way between a loaded IROC-Z and Corvette. The 305 Z28 that you are referring has to be the base model 305 engine, the 305 TPI 5MT and 350 TPI models were a little faster than Turbo's 7M-GTE never mind NA 7M-GE. The Supra was leap and bounds better quality than IROC-Z. So it really isn't fair comparison to compare them just on performance, but MKIII Supra was more of boulevard cruiser.

In my 20's I had an 85 Supra 5MT, my good friend had an 88 Supra N/A 5MT (which with 200hp wasn't any faster than my 161hp 85 Supra because of the extra weight added). The headgasket issue that plagued them in the 90's imagine must have been resolved by now. If it hasn't, someone who is mechanically inclined should be able to fix it as it is straight forward motor to work on. I would recommend a 5MT model, the 7M did not have the best low end torque, so the automatic really affects its off line performance. The auto's I drove were dogs off the line. I have not look at those Supra in a long time, but I imagine it is not easy to find an unmolested version, the MKIII Supra partial because of its headgasket issue were a cheap car for at least 10-15 years. I loved my Supra as did my friend loved his 88.
sytydave
Pit Crew

Just to clarify, I never drove an auto MKIII Supra Turbo, so I don't don't know how those are off the line.
CJinSD
Advanced Driver

This feature is excellent work. Love the format.
Gary_Bechtold
Instructor

If it has a motor swap to a 1JZ motor like they got in Japan in the later years of this generation or a 2JZ from a MK4 Supra don't be scared. Do your research as there are some great MK3 swaps out there. I have seen plenty of them around done well and running great. The MK3 Supra Turbo solidified my love for the Supra as a teenager. So when the MK4 came out I was ready. The MK3 gets love but not from Supra enthusiasts. Unlike the new "Zupra" this car is all Toyota.

jsfury
Intermediate Driver

I had an '88 Supra a couple years ago. I really liked that car, but then the head gasket blew. That was the end of that love affair. $1800.00 to $2300.00 to repair it was just not in my budget. Thankfully I found someone from Mass. to take it and give it new life from the ground up. Not that it needed much as the body was solid as the day it came of the assembly line. I'm going to miss that car.
nielen
New Driver

I drive a red 5-speed ‘92 exactly as in the picture. Awkward afterthought cup holders and all. After fixing the cylinder head gasket it has been a great car.
suprarossa
Pit Crew

Very nice summary of the A70 platform! A couple of nit-picky issues, though. First, the Sport Roof was available from day one of the 86.5 and is on the front page of the 1986 dealer brochures. Second, the two-tone Blue (24D), Dark Blue (8E3) and White (042) Pearls were not available until 1987. For 1986, the Beige/Brown two-tone (27A) was also available. Source: importarchive.com

Some other updates in the final couple of years of the A70 run: progressive power steering and the super rare Shadow Grey Leather interior.

Finally, the 1992 MA70s are far rarer than you think. The 1193 number quoted for USA sales (also seen in the past as 1192 and 1194) is inaccurate as there were only 882 exported to the USA that year. Canada got another 131, EU got 1287, GCC (Middle East) got 230, Australia got 23 and General Countries (South Africa, etc) got 12. The USA and Canada numbers are based on 8/91 - 7/92 production numbers because we are about the only ones that stick to the archaic 'sales year' formula, while the rest of the world usually registers cars based on the date of first registration - no matter what month it was made in. For example, MA70s were made several months beyond the USA/Canada cut off of July 1992, and some of them in Europe are actually registered as 1993s. Note that these figures do not include the GA70 and JZA70 of Japan, since the 7MGTE was an export engine only after 1989. Source: thesupraregistry.com

My July 1992 built Turbo/Targa/5spd was one of the last to be imported and came fresh off the showroom floor in September of that year. I had just received a significant promotion in rank and had money burning a hole in my uniform. The future legend JZA80s were months away, but the price point rumors were already out there and it was clear my promotion wasn't big enough to afford one, so I grabbed one of the last new MA70s on the East Coast. Now with over 237,000 miles (and on its 3rd engine - BHG lol), it wasn't my first Supra, but it was where my love affair with the platform began and will never be sold.