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New Supra prototype unveiled - as Toyota gathers five generations together for first time

The prototype of the A90 Supra sports car
The prototype of the A90 Supra sports car

By Paul Connolly

Toyota has unveiled the prototype of the A90 Supra sports car, the first step in the much-heralded return of the company’s legendary racing series.

The new model - which was partially disguised - was revealed at a special UK event which brought together all five generations of the Supra for the first time ever.

The Toyota Supra was a sports car/grand tourer made by Toyota from 1978 to 2002. It was derived from the Toyota Celica, but it was both longer and wider.

The behind-closed-doors event in Sussex saw all four famous generations of the sports car brought together with the new fifth generation car for the first time anywhere in the world.

Toyota invited a group of Supra super-fans to an evening event with Tetsuya Tada, in which the chief engineer of the new A90 Supra gave owners of all four previous generations an exclusive introduction to the camouflaged prototype.

The top secret, invite-only event occurred  Goodwood, where the keenly anticipated new fifth-generation Supra made its world debut.

A total of 50 immaculately presented Supra models from all four generations had been invited to attend in anticipation of the new A90 Supra’s arrival.

The majority of the 84 owners and guests arrived in fourth-generation models, from highly sought-after UK-specification models with manual gearboxes, to examples that illustrated the enduring popularity and immense tuning potential of the iconic 2JZ straight-six engine.

Also in attendance were eight third-generation models in both original and facelifted guise, four angular second-generation models, and a single first-generation model – one of only two examples of the Celica Supra known to exist in the UK.

Tada-san drove the new A90 Supra into the building to rapturous applause from the enthusiasts.

He positioned it on a rotating stand and then proudly introduced his “new baby” to the crowd as the culmination of six years of development. It was a moment that marked the first time that all five generations of Toyota Supra had ever appeared together in public.

Tada-san said: “I’ve finally been able to reveal the car to the UK; it’s the happiest day of my life.”

Toyota expects its new Supra to reach the market during the first half of 2019. Few mechanical or other details have been released about the prototype.

A Supra concept was exhibited earlier this year amid speculation the first production cars would be rear-wheel drive, with a front-mounted six-cylinder turbo engine set-up. Hybrid, electric and even fuel cell options are also being considered.

Supra: A potted history

The first Supra was produced in 1978 as the flagship derivative of the contemporary Celica but it was never sold in the UK.

The second-generation Celica Supra arrived in the UK in August 1982 and was replaced by the standalone third-generation Supra (minus the Celica name) model in July 1986.

The fourth-generation Supra was launched in August 1993 but discontinued in the UK in 1996.

Low-volume production of the Mk4 Supra continued in Japan for the domestic market until July 2002.

2018 - a Supra Concept was exhibited and Toyota confirmed its intention to revive the series and begin production later this year.

The Supra’s reputation was greatly enhanced by its success in motorsport. Most notably, the fourth generation Supra became the dominant force in the All-Japan GT racing – today’s Super GT series – winning the GT500 class four times.

The Toyota Supra also competed in American IMSA sportscar racing in the 1980s and twice appeared at Le Mans in the 1990s.

It is also famous for being featured in the Gran Turismo video game series.

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