New Ride! 1987 Toyota Supra Turbo

MK3 Supra Turbo

Just picked myself up a sweet Toyota Supra Turbo!  No, not THAT Supra Turbo.  The more mature, non-Fast-&-Furious MK3 version in light blue with an automatic…yes, I said automatic…a 4-speed automatic at that.   Take that forward progress!

Some notes after my first week…


Truth be told, I really wanted a manual but now that I have the auto I think it’s the right call; this is not a fast car by any stretch and revving out the gears won’t bring you any more fun (or speed).  This version of the Supra Turbo is more of a grand tourer, happy to cruise along the 5 soaking up bumps and providing a decent ride. It’s good at that and i’m over the manual.


And about that ride.. Its delivered by Toyota’s fancy-for-the-time TEMS system. TEMS stands for Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension and what it is is an actuator on each shock that autonomously adjusts the suspension firmness based on a number of inputs like brake pedal pressure, steering angle and speed.  There are also “Normal” and “Sport” buttons so you can manually set a desired ride type.  To be honest, the change in behavior seems almost negligible but that’s likely because the car is 31 years old and stuff wears out over time. I leave it in Sport and it drives just fine.

MK3 Supra Turbo


There really isn’t any. This car has low miles (just under 100k), has been well taken care of and the turbo works just fine so I don’t think it’s lost a whole lot of oomph from new but it just isn’t nearly as fast as I thought it would be.  This Supra, however, compensates for its lack of grunt by having a speedo that shows 10-15mph faster than actual speed….almost like he’s going “Oh, look at us! We’re going 90 so effortlessly!”  I appreciate the sentiment but we’re not passing anyone…

Supra Turbo


My two big takeaways on the interior: A) its in near mint condition. and B) It is all of the blue.

Seriously, the interior is in time capsule quality.  No cracks in the dash. No rips in the seats.  Nothing about its condition would tell you this is car was made in the 1980’s. The blue interior, on the other hand, won’t let you forget it. I mean, look at it.  I had a ’92 MR2 with a blue interior a while back and I thought it was hilarious.   This one’s almost more hilarious because it’s in such great shape.

Another thing I enjoy about interiors this old are how they take you back in time.  The late 80’s were all about “electronics” and “computers”! In addition to the TEMS system, there’s a another button by the shifter labelled “ECT” for Toyota’s Electronically Controlled Transmission feature.  Pressing this button does 3 thing: illuminates a “power” light on the dash, makes the tranny hold gears longer, and convinces you the ’80’s were awesome.

MK3 Supra Turbo

Of course with any car of this vintage there will be issues and this car is no exception.  Rubber parts break down, paint starts to fade, and various electrical gremlins come out to play, albeit sporadically. I’ve got my list of  things that need attention and things I’d like to improve upon and am slowly tackling them.  The awesome thing about cars like this is they have a HUGE following so the amount of help that’s available online is massive.  I am now a regular on a few Supra forums and the folks on there have been fantastic.

All in all, I’m enjoying my Supra as it sits today and look forward to what it can become in the future.  I’m going to start bringing it to San Clemente Cars and Coffee on Saturdays so if you see it, stop by and say hi.