TOYOTA “The Supra technology showcase”

TOYOTA

“The Supra technology showcase”

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

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Picture #1

Derived in its styling from the Celica, the Supra has been Toyota’s technology showcase development from 1978 to 2002. From 1986 the new third generation Supra distinguished itself from the Celica range by being wider and longer. From the MKI to the third generation model was assembled in Tahara plant. The models derived from the Celica range inherit a badge which did represent a dragon. This badge discontinued when in 1991 the new models weren’t based on Celica’s anymore. The MKI, codenamed “A40”, manufactured from 1978 to 1981 from Celica three door lift back versions. The car also shared doors, rear section, from the same vehicle but did have a six cylinder instead of a four one. The aim was to compete within the sports car market against the Datsun Z. The first edition was equipped had two engines to choose from, a 2.0 litre and a 2.5 both with 110 hp. and a SOHC. Also available the four speed manual plus overdrive or the four speed automatic. As for the option list was present an LSD, door cards pull straps, power locks, power windows, cruise control, tilt steering wheel and sunroof. On the other hand, standard equipment was: for wheel disk brakes, four links rear suspension with track bar and stabilizer at the rear. For the front the conventional McPherson struts were adopted. Until 1981, when the production ended, the model was constantly refined and developed and sold also with a new sport version.

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Picture #2

The Second series redesigned in 1981 and ready for the market in 1982 was sold in two variants: “P” as for the performance model, and “L” for luxury. All “P” types featured LSD, headlight wash wipe, eight way adjustable seats, fiberglass fender wheel arches. The “L” version on the other hand had a trip computer that could calculate fuel economy, miles per gallon and estimated time of arrival.  The difference between these two packages lied only for body trim and wheel sizes. Everything else was based on the same car. The style, in tune with the eighties fashion, was underlined by very angular surfaces although retaining the same “fastback” layout. Whilst the popup headlights innovation in the new range, still as for the first model the chassis needed to be elongated to install the inline six cylinder in place of the conventional inline four. In 1982 the same engine derived from the MKI reached 148hp by increasing the engine size to 2.8 litres. Available with a five speed manual and a four speed auto plus overdrive for the “L” version as an option, the MKII was able to reach 62mph in 9.8 seconds. Being based on the Celica the car had four wheel independent suspensions specially tuned and designed by Lotus. For the front McPherson struts and semi trailing arm for the rear. Another feature was variable assisted power steering, disks all round, climate control as standard, cruise control, sunroof and speakers. One year later power increased to 150hp and a new optional automatic gearbox was the first in industry to adopt an ECT (electronically controlled transmission) that allowed the driver at the switch of a button to select “Power” or “Normal” driving mode. In 1984 by redesigning the intake manifold with “D” shaped runner, the compression ratio increased to 9.2:1 as a result power gained 10hp more and torque reached 221Nm. With a new throttle position sensor, knock sensor and an EGR, the car reached 161hp and 62mph in 8.4 seconds in 1985. Finally the last features were wing mirrors with defroster and cabin light with fade out “off” function.

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Picture #3

The MKIII was the first one of the series to be called only “Supra” instead of “Celica Supra”. This new model in 1987 adopted not only the normally aspirated engine but also the 3.0 litre turbocharged straight six with a power output of 230hp. The aspirated one was rated at 200hp. In 1986 Toyota sold technology that was ahead of the competition for the time. The HKS “TEMS” allowed the driver to choose, via buttons located on the centre console, between two damper settings and automatically switched to a third one when hard braking or high speed manoeuvring. Also a tree way ABS system, double wishbone suspensions and a limited slip diff allowed efficient braking and traction in every condition with superb road holding. For the Japanese domestic market was also developed a version called “R” (as in the Japanese video #2) which featured black paint and rims, a tuned engine with two ceramic turbochargers and double overhead camshaft. Power output of the 2.5 litre straight six was 280PS capable to sprint in 13.8 seconds to the ¼ mile. Also other features of the same version were Recaro seats, uprated springs, Bilstein suspensions, Torsen differential, and Momo steering wheel and gear knob. The limited production of 500 units of the Turbo A included some TRD parts that for 1991 were absolutely way ahead in terms of technology. The first was a mechanical limited slip differential with torque vectoring control, capable to perform 50:50 lock on each side automatically at full throttle application. The other implementation for accelerations starts was a thick anti rear squat rod integrated on each side of the multilink suspension, which allowed the car to maintain the same clearance from the ground during launches or hard accelerations.

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The MKIV created in 1993 and produced until 2002, has always been a technology benchmark for magazines to compare other sports cars to. For example a review I remember stated “Unlike the BMW the Toyota is only viable as a two seats. Its prodigious power provides truly awesome accelerations, with the minimum of turbo lag.” (CAR, 1994). The new Supra is a complete design overhaul, it uses Z30 Soarer’s drivetrain and suspensions but the engine capacity is increased to three litres. With two engine variants, one aspirated of 220hp and the twin turbocharged one with 280hp. For the European market a more powerful version with steel impellor turbochargers and bigger injectors gained up to 320hp. Top speed of the more potent engine was 177mph, while acceleration to 62mph was dispatched in 4.6 sec. The quarter mile achieved in 13.1 second at 109mph showed to all the other brands what this car was capable of. Moreover at that time a 286bhp M3 was listed without any optional at 37.000£ while the Supra was all included at 37.500£. Meaning that was going to generate a very tough fight for the same market segment. To manage the increase in power, a technology called (ACIS) Acoustic Control Induction System, a sensor which measured the acoustic compressor pulses was installed within the intake manifold plumbing. A German fabricated 6  speed manual gearbox was installed for the Twin Turbo and a 5 speed was for the aspirated engine. Also a 4 speed automatic with manual selection was available. The braking system featured four wheel disks and a track tuned ABS sensors each wheel with jaw control, a system that checks constantly the rotation of each of the four callipers. Thanks to JAW control, a technology still used today in other rally cars homologation, brakes were individually applied according to speed angle and pitch of the corner the car is travelling into. Finally by braking from 70mph to 0 in 149ft. the MKIV scored a record as “The best braking performance of any production car” (Road and Track, 1997)

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Edoardo Pandolfini Barberi 03/12/2013

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Full Brochure 1993 Toyota Supra  (MKIV site all rights reserved)

Reference:

Kawna Turapan (2011) “1990 Toyota Supra cm Japan” Youtube [Online] available from:

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSRznQYSth8>

[14th June 2011]

Toyota (2012) “1991 Toyota Supra R” Youtube [Online] available from:

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yL6pNkLp1Y>

[15th November 2012]

Bhut Chunks (2009) “Old Top Gear – Toyota Supra” Youtube [Online] available from:

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnfxRL8j9s8>

[15th September 2009]

Roliks (2013) “Toyota Supra informational video” Youtube [Online] available from:

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXdFY3vlFVI>

[2nd  January 2013]

Max Gilles (2013) “Looking back at the Toyota Supra” Autoweek [Online] available from:

<http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130614/carnews01/130619909>

[14nd  June 2013]

Trigger (1994) “Blister pack” Trigger road car tests [Online] available from:

<http://www.flickr.com/photos/triggerscarstuff/6813507240/in/photostream/lightbox/>

[January 1994]

Kim Reynolds (1993) “Super-fast Supra” Road and Track [Online] available from:

<http://mkiv.com/publications/road&track/>

[March 1993]

Pictures:

Picture #1 [Online] Curbsideclassics, available from:

<http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-asian/classic-curbside-classic-197-toyota-celica-supra-mk1-plush-lush-the-powerful-pleasure/>

Picture #2 [Online] Photobucket, available from:

<http://s409.photobucket.com/user/demolishkidd/media/1985ToyotaSupra45.jpg.html>

Picture #3 [Online] Photobucket, available from:

<http://smg.photobucket.com/user/martin32/media/supra019.jpg.html>

Picture #4 [Online] MKIV Supras, available from:

<http://mkiv.supras.org.nz/specs.htm>

Picture #5 [Online] MKIV Supras, available from:

<http://mkiv.supras.org.nz/specs.htm>

Full Brochure 1993 Toyota Supra #6 [Online] MKIV all rights reserved, available from:

<http://mkiv.com/specifications/93_full_brochure/index.html>

About Toyota

Very passionate to Automotive Design and very keen to work within car industry based context. Strongly motivated and responsible person with a strong team ethic. Proficient creative-innovative with good aesthetic sensibility. Keen interest in automotive technology and product development. Available to work abroad and determined to develop a project through research and analysis. Strongly interested in styling, keen to learn, hard working, with good time management skills. Would be really interested to contribute in any kind of vehicle or industrial design project, from conceptualization to production. Professional secrecy and confidentiality guaranteed.

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