We’ve always been a fan of the Supra TT and always keep our eyes open for clean ones. And we’ve driven them at full speed at Texas World Speedway, once attaining almost 170 MPH on the main straight. We love them, Toyota did a fabulous job engineering them, and with the most minor preparation they make a great track car. And as many of our readers know, they are nearly indestructible.
At the Cobb Tuning First Thursday event in Austin, Texas on May 3, 2012, we ran into what we consider to be the perfect Supra TT. Perfect because it was immaculately clean, perfect because we lust after it, and perfect because it was exactly how we would have done it. If we had been smart enough to get one originally.
Single turbo, sheet metal intake, 6-speed manual. 1200 horsepower. Well integrated rollcage. Intelligently built, and in immaculate condition. And we understand that the owner also has an older model Nissan GT-R. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Do you want to get picky? We’d do three more things. First, we’d replace the hood with a vented hood and make sure it is more secure. We know that the stock hood starts to flutter over 170 and up. Second, we’d put a barrier around the air cleaner, since we don’t need it sucking in hot air from the engine compartment. And third, we’d probably replace the stock Supra brakes (4/2 piston fr/rr) with 6/4 piston fr/rr Brembos. For track use, and with 1200 HP, this car needs all the braking ability it can get.
And that’s it.
Back in the very early days of Top Gear, before the rise of Jeremy Clarkson, Tiff Needell was the host of Top Gear for 14 years, starting in 1987. It was a very different universe in those days from the one we have now: the planets actually circled the sun instead of Clarkson. Most readers probably know Tiff as the host of Fifth Gear, along with co-presenters Jason Plato, Jonny Smith, and Vicki Butler-Henderson (an accomplished driver, as well as an S2000 owner). The show is currently in a 1/2 hour format, and there are two series per calendar year.
We won’t mention Ben Collins, except to say he is so g*dawful bad that he needs to be shown the exit as soon as possible. With no speaking skills, questionable driving skills, total lack of ethics, and certainly no personality whatsoever, why he was hired remains a mystery to viewers worldwide. He’d certainly fit right in with the American Top Gear cast ;-)
But step back in time to the pre-Clarkson Top Gear. The 320 HP Supra TT was new at the time of this recording. Supra enthusiasts will note the European-spec car, with the hood scoop for cooling the turbos and electrically adjustable front spoiler.
The latest here on DrivingEnthusiast: a new gallery of 96 high-res images of the Toyota FT-HS Concept from 2007!
FT means “Future Technology” and HS stands for “Hybrid Synergy”. The FT-HS is a concept of a 370Z-sized gas/electric hybrid.
Our new gallery has everything from action shots set on public roads:
to images of the wild interior:
to evolutionary concept drawings straight from the design studios:
The FT-HS is a pure concept, not built on a production car or prototype platform. As a concept, certain shapes and features are wildly speculative and impractical. Nonetheless, the concept was intended as one possible interpretation of what a future Supra might look like, and especially how it would be powered. The FT-HS is powered by a gas/electric hybrid, with a 3.5 liter DOHC V-6 coupled to an electric hybrid drive (similar to the design used by Lexus on it’s high end models) yielding 400 horsepower total.
Unusual and innovative features abound, from an impractical sliding/drop roof:
to an interior driver-centric design concept labelled ”Solo Space ”:
AutoWeek believed that it would go into production in the summer of 2009… but of course the economy and other issues at Toyota got in the way. As well as issues around the battery technology. Because of these issues, Toyota will start at the lower end of the market, with the FT-86 concept, which has been approved for production. And, while the FT-86 concept has often been referred to as the prototype for a new Celica, it appears that it will be sold as a Scion instead (a move that has not at all been well received from potential buyers – in fact this writer believes it to be an unbelievably bad decision given the rich and long history of the Celica brand). We also know that Toyota has been working with a hybrid MR-2/MR-S type of car, and from spy shots of that prototype, it would appear to be a near-term production candidate as well.
So if we do see a new Supra, and if it is based on the FT-HS concept, given the more immediate issues at Toyota it would probably be 4-5 years out. But we know that the appreciation of performance cars is alive and well in Akio Toyoda, and that creativity at Toyota is certainly not dead, as evidenced by the FT-HS and FT-86. We want to see Toyota get thru the quality questions, then use ecologically-responsible performance cars to revitalize the image of Toyota.
Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota, has strongly hinted at an all-new Supra in a recent interview: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/251326/
While nothing else is known, Toyota has already shown a concept of the type of car he is speaking about.
This concept car, the FT-HS, first shown 4 years ago, is a 370Z-sized car with a 3.5 liter V-6 and electric assist, yielding 400 HP. It was styled with the design language of the time. That language has since been updated, and has most recently been seen in the FT-86 concept.
Interestingly, Nissan is in position to do something very similar. An electric G35 sedan, which uses similar technology, was first shown 2 years ago and it’s thought that a 3.5 liter V-6 with electric assist is coming for the G37 sedan in the next two years. 400 HP had been discussed from this too. Since the Z is built on the common FM platform used by the Infiniti, an easy fit would be assured.
Given Toyota’s current troubles, an image car would be a great help to draw new buyers into worldwide showrooms. And one that showcases new technology would be even better. Nonetheless, Akio Toyoda has placed engineering quality at the top of the list and that means that a new Supra, if there is to be one at all, would probably be at least 3 years off. Or even further out given the recent 1 year delay of the FT-86.
We first speculated about what this car would be like in May 2007: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?p=2155
The 4th gen Supra is of course one of our all-time favorite cars. It was a showcase for Toyota engineering when it came out, featuring a twin turbo 3 liter inline DOHC 6 cylinder engine and Getrag 6-speed manual transmission.
This was a complicated engine, but was engineered extremely well. It was known as a “detuned 500 HP engine”, and may very well have been.
It also featured a state of the art coilover suspension, with lightweight aluminum components.
And a driver-centric interior, with everything close at hand.
This was the Japanese supercar of it’s age, and even better was a platform that could be easily – and reliably – modified to well over 500 horsepower with very little effort. Soon after it’s release, 600 HP became the new tuner target – and was exceeded. Then it was 800, and then 1000 horsepower.
Efforts like this came into reach: 241 MPH in the Texas Mile:
The 4th-gen Supra will be a difficult car to better. It was a car for it’s age. The new Supra, if there is one, will be a car that will address the goals and aspirations of today’s age. The combination of a flexible V-6 engine and electric assist will produce a car with uncommon torque and drivability. State-of-the-art Lithium-Ion batteries will be the main frature this time, and enthusiasts will have to learn a new technology before successful tuning can take place. The only question is: are we up to it?
Resources on DrivingEnthusiast.net:
- Supra blog archive: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?cat=682
- Supra blog RSS feed: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?feed=rss2&cat=682
- Toyota FS-HS Concept: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-toyota-lexus/concepts/FT-HS/index.htm
- Supra section: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-toyota-lexus/supra/index.htm
Congrats to SW for an incredible 241 MPH in the latest Texas Mile. Video follows – note how quickly the car accelerated. It’s completely unreal.
Toyota announced this week that litium-ion battery production would begin in 2009, and that 2 brand new hybrids (all-new cars, additions to the line) would be announced next year in addition to the on top of the already announced next-gen Prius. One of the 2 is a Lexus, the other a Toyota.
You’ll remember that in August of 2007, AutoWeek reviewed it’s understanding of Toyota’s plans for the next few years and said that production of the next-gen Supra, based on the FT-HS hybrid sports car concept from the 2007 Detroit show, would go into production in the summer of 2009.
While nothing in the way of prototypes has been spotted yet, and while it’s not confirmed that the car will be named Supra (but the statements of several Toyota Executives confirm that a response to the 350Z is very desirable), production of a new generation of high-energy batteries would be a key and necessary step in the production of a sporting hybrid.
The concept is shown below, it is roughly 350Z-sized and is powered by a combination of a hybrid powertrain and a 3.5 liter V-6. The net yield is 400 HP.
Speculation by a Japanese enthusiast car magazine. Still, it’s known that Toyota wants to compete in this arena again. And that they have been playing with the idea of usinga hybrid powertrain in a sporting application. In any case, it’ll take a few years to get this question answered – either way.
AutoWeek says the Toyota FT-HS will go into production in the summer of 2009. The car will feature a hybrid drivetrain with a 3.5 liter V-6 and 400 HP.
The concept is pictured to the right. The FT-HS is the spiritual successor to the Supra. If this type of car goes into production, it will be smaller, lighter, better handling, and more powerful than the last Supra, although of course it won’t have the ultimate HP potential of the infamous Supra TT. Nonetheless, it will truly move the state of the art forward. Art being both performance and hybrid.