Tim Scott ©2018, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
  • Offered from the Youngtimer Collection
  • Less than 11,200 miles from new
  • 0–60 mph in 5.6 seconds
  • Very original, cared-for Supra

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1994 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo Targa
Years Produced:1993–97 Type A80, Series I (Mk IV)
Number Produced:34,275
Original List Price: $45,200 (base)
SCM Valuation:$49,000
Chassis Number Location:VIN tag in front left corner of windshield
Engine Number Location:Front right corner of engine block, near the sump
Club Info:Supra Mk IV Owners Club
Alternatives:1990–96 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo, 1990–95 Porsche 928, 1994–97 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 106, sold for $173,600, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island, FL, auction on March 9, 2019.

What is going on? How did a 1994 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo Targa sell for $173,600?

Seriously. I cannot find evidence of another Supra (save one that starred in “The Fast and the Furious”) that has fetched anywhere close to $70,000, let alone $170,000. The SCM Pocket Price Guide pegs median values for Mk IV Supra Turbos at $49,000. So what on earth is going on?

I have a few guesses.

First, there is pent-up enthusiasm (and money) in the sports car market. I have the sense there are buyers champing at the bit to catch the rise of the next greatest generation of sports cars before it takes off.

The 1970s and 1980s had pretty slim pickings, if I’m honest. And what was good from that Malaise Era has already been picked over — and over-valued. So now it’s the 1990s’ turn.

Socially, there is reignited interest in the 1990s at the moment as well. For example, some of the decade’s most questionable fashions are back in vogue — at least with the youths (no, sorry, not pleated slacks). It makes sense then that the rising 1990s tide would lift the era’s sports cars, too.

Let us not forget that Toyota just reintroduced the Supra earlier this year after a 17-year hiatus, which undoubtedly turbocharged this auction.

But a $173,000 fourth-generation Toyota Supra? I just don’t know.

One fast car

The Mk IV Twin Turbo Supra’s 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder churns out 320 horsepower and 315 foot-pounds of torque, which is good for a 0–60 mph run in 5.6 seconds. That makes it quicker than the Acura NSX and Porsche 928 GTS from that year. So it’s no slouch.

Once those sequential turbochargers spool up, you better hope you’re either a) very brave. Or b) pointing in a straight line. That’s because the Supra Twin Turbo likes to go sideways.

That said, power isn’t everything.

It’s not that special — unless you love them

When this car — along with the rest of the Youngtimer Collection — went up for auction, I described driving a $100,000-plus 1990s Toyota as “demoralizing.” I stand by that sentiment.

There’s nothing special (yet) about the way this Supra — or any ’90s car — looks, inside or out. It is still too young to be seen with fresh eyes; we’re still too accustomed to seeing them unassumingly parked at Albertsons.

Moreover, the Mk IV Supra has bodylines (especially the optional rear wing) clearly cribbed from the Ferrari F40, but without any of the Italian drama.

Another issue with paying a king’s ransom for a young, unripe, would-be classic from the 1990s is the technological gap. Cars from that era boast similar power output figures as today’s cars. And they drive nearly like a current car, but soggier.

The Mk IV Supra rides on a shortened version of the Lexus SC300 chassis, which was impressively taut for its time. Still, it doesn’t hold a candle to today’s cars. That’s because these 1990s cars lack the chassis crispness we’ve become accustomed to from even the most-plebian modern cars.

Looking to the interior, it was good for 1993. However, sitting in a 26-year-old Supra makes me think, “Oh, this is just like my car … but worse.” It’s not classic enough to be charming.

All of this kvetching aside, the Supra does have some “cool” factor. In order to save weight, for example, Toyota engineers used hollow-head bolts wherever possible. Same goes for the carpet fibers, which are hollow, too. However, these are facts you dare not ever share at a dinner party for fear of being immediately and forever ostracized from your significant other’s friend group.

Low miles were key

This Supra Twin Turbo is the rarer Targa model, and has only driven 11,200 miles since new. These factors, of course, contribute to the otherworldly final bid price. No matter — I am forced to conclude this car was badly bought.

Worse yet, it effectively ruins the Supra market for everyone else.

These cars were good in their day; there’s no debating that. Yet they remained accessible and cool (albeit a bit dorky) sports cars for us non-millionaires to enjoy — especially those who wanted a well-sorted, affordable and reliable sports car that isn’t a Miata. Now that’s done.

After seeing the result of this auction, every nerd who has a Mk IV Supra (Turbo or otherwise) languishing in a carport next to his or her house is going to dust it off and slap a $100,000 “For Sale” sign on it. Meanwhile, this one is probably going to be socked away in cold storage next to a couple of Rembrandts. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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