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Matt Harwood

1985 Toyota Supra Type P

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Like it or not, Japanese cars are collectible and you're going to see more and more of them showing up at AACA events. That 10,000 original mile MR2 sold in about a month with multiple guys fighting over it. The 24,000 mile 280Z Turbo was so popular that guys called me asking me to let them talk to the guy who bought it. And for guys about my age (50) who grew up in the '80s, cars like this 1985 Toyota Supra are much like the Camaros and '57 Chevys that previous generations grew up with and later collected. The hobby still works the way it always has, it's just the age of the cars is changing.

 

Which brings me around to this stunningly well-preserved Supra. This is the car you want to own and it's a slam-dunk for HPOF competition. It's had just two owners and despite spending almost all its life in Minnesota, it is spotless (and that's a word I don't use lightly or often). It is fully documented with window sticker, manuals, ownership papers, and service receipts dating back more than 30 years and it appears that the same shop took care of it for most of its life. Everything works, it offers a desirable color combination, and every single option except a sunroof. There are a few minor signs of use on the original paint, but nothing that needs any attention and it has obviously never been hit or rusty. The medium red is about right for a car like this, neither overtly sporting nor something awful, which were on the color charts in 1985. 1985 was the only year it came with the big SUPRA decal on the tailgate, and I kind of like that detail. Leather seats were a $700 option, and this car has them and they're beautifully preserved with no cracks, splits, or even significant wear. Original carpets are protected by original mats, the dash isn't cracked or split, and the headliner was replaced a few months ago. Supras came only one way: loaded, which means power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors, a decent AM/FM/cassette stereo with graphic equalizer (remember those?), and automatic climate control, all of which work properly. The trunk is in great shape except for one little spot where it faded for some reason, and the original, untouched, unused Dunlop spare tire and alloy wheel are still in the well. 

 

If I told you that you could buy a car with a smooth, torquey DOHC inline-6, all-independent suspension, and 4-wheel disc brakes you may not guess Toyota, but this car is spec'd like an E-Type Jag. The 2.8 liter 5M-GE six sounds spectacular thanks to a new stainless steel exhaust system and with 160 horsepower pulls the relatively lightweight Supra around with genuine enthusiasm. Check out how beautifully detailed the engine bay is--it's original except for a repaint on the valve covers and basic service items. Even the new battery is from Toyota, not a parts store generic. It starts instantly (it's a Toyota after all) and runs superbly thanks to fuel injection. The automatic transmission isn't the liability that you'd expect, since it also came with 4.10 gears, making it quite punchy--especially if you set that little switch on the console to "PWR" and disengage the overdrive. The suspension is supple yet capable and it feels incredibly tight and solid going down the road. It shows about 125,000 miles, but it feels more like 25,000. I can't get over how nicely preserved this car really is. New 15-inch radials were fitted last year, so it's ready to roll.

 

I've come to accept that cars like this are part of the hobby--you should, too. And I have to admit that the more I look, the more I like this car. I ignored it when I was 15 years old but today I can see it was a significant step forward for Japanese performance and was a cornerstone in today's hyper performance machines. The fact that it feels so contemporary and has ignored the passage of time only means that you'll have an interesting car that will be easy to own and fun to drive. And for only $19,900, how can you go wrong? If you like sports cars, you owe it to yourself to give Japan's finest a closer look. Thanks for looking!

 

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Nice car.  I get it.  But I don’t get it.  I’m trying to get it.  I may be too old at 68 to get it.  But if it keeps the hobby going, I may get it.  Unless I don’t get it.

 

In any case, under 20k doesn’t buy much these days, and that’s a very nice car.... and well presented as always....dc

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Makes me remember HS pal who progressed from a 70 Chevelle SS, 79 & 82 Z28, and then a brandy new Supra like this one which we both agreed was a better ride than the gen 3 Camaro that came out in 83.  He bought Supra new, it had a revolutionary accesory, a CD player!!! 😁😁

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