Was this 1983 Toyota Supra a steal?

Bring a Trailer / The_Dude_Abides

When it debuted in late 1970, the Toyota Celica was aimed squarely at drivers. Ignoring for a moment the exclusive 2000 GT, the distinction is important, because to that point Toyota customers had strictly been in it for the econobox Corollas and slightly upscale but no less economical Coronas that had been populating American roads for half a decade. Based on the staid Carina sedan, the Celica was something altogether new for Toyota—a stylish, sporty little notchback coupe the company viewed as its answer to the Ford Mustang. Which is to say, a fun car built atop a boring one. Power came from a series of four-cylinder engines, and body styles eventually included a hatchback, or liftback, in Toyota parlance.

With its long flat nose and laid-back roofline, the second-generation Celica furthered the car’s sporty pretensions. In an effort to pit it against the Datsun 280ZX, in 1979 Toyota fitted the Celica with a single-overhead-cam 2.6-liter inline-six and added Supra badging to help distinguish it as something more than sporty. A proper sports car, even. But it wasn’t quite that. The Celica Supra was too luxurious, too lifeless on the road, and too ambiguous to be great. In its August 1979 review, Road & Track dismissed it as “nothing but a boulevard GT.”

Thankfully for enthusiasts, Toyota kept at it, and the next Celica Supra, internally designated A60, debuted in 1982 as a completely different beast, all hard edges and sharp corners, with pop-up headlights and a cockpit that absorbed its passengers. By this point the company had perfected the twin-cam six, and the 150-hp 2.8-liter unit fitted in the Supra was silky smooth. So, too, were the Supra’s road manners, thanks to a fully independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. “The new Supra is a nearly perfect car,” wrote Car and Driver’s David E. Davis at the time.

1983 Toyota Celica Supra
Bring a Trailer / The_Dude_Abides

As nearly perfect Supras go, our Sale of the Week is right up there. This 36,000-mile 1983 model sold via Bring A Trailer on September 27 for $24,250.

The Supra, in Super White over a Terra Cotta cloth interior, lived most of its life in New York with a long-term owner who clearly babied it. The seller (who was offering the car through a broker with the BAT handle The_Dude_Abides) owned it for less than a year and in that time correctly refinished the bumpers, side mirrors, and rear wing, as well as the right-rear lower quarter panel the left inner-door jamb. Slight damage was noted on the right rocker panel. The car came with a fair amount of paperwork, including original purchase documents, and one video depicted the pop-up headlights in perfect working order.

Original equipment includes that 5M-GE twin-cam inline-six and a five-speed manual, along with a limited-slip differential, 14-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, and 8-way power seats. (The seats and the aggressive flared fiberglass wheel arches, it should be noted, are two elements that distinguish the P-type A60 Supra from the less desirable L-type.) In the comments, The Dude did note that there was no record of a timing belt change ever having been done, and that the seller would replace the car’s aged tires for the buyer.

1983 Toyota Celica Supra engine
Bring a Trailer / The_Dude_Abides

Hagerty values these cars at around $36,600 for a #1 (Concours) example, and $22,100 for one in #2 (Excellent) condition, and it is the latter where this Supra seems to fall, and more likely in #2+ range. The very first comment when the listing went live said, “This will go right through $30k.” The very last comment, when the bidding was at $24,250 not five minutes before the auction closed, was posted by the same commenter: “It’s about to get real. Buckle up.” Clearly, someone was waiting for the heavens to part over this Supra, but it just didn’t happen. The auction closed with a whimper, not a bang. Which is great news for the buyer.

Past BAT sales of A60 Supras have seen them go for much higher, including a 63,000-mile ’86 that made $45,000 earlier in the month. Back in March, a different ’86 with 92,000 miles, minor rust, and curb-rashed wheels sold for the same money as our feature car.

But was this Supra a steal? Well, since real-world sales involve enough variables (like that biggie, emotion) to disconnect them somewhat from price guide figures, it’s easy to make the case that it certainly could have gone for more, even a lot more. Conversely, one could also argue that the noted minor rocker damage and the needed timing belt replacement put this car right where it should be. We’re going to err on the side of bargains, however. Because it appears that very soon, this Supra will indeed go for more, as the buyer is not the end user here but is instead a broker of classic cars to the Middle East. The Supra is already listed for $35,000 on his Instagram sales page. Assuming he does indeed sell it on for that price, the $24,250 BAT result was absolutely a steal—and a tidy profit.

Let’s just hope whoever ultimately ends up with this crisp Supra services that timing belt and then enjoys the heck out of it for years to come.

1983 Toyota Celica Supra interior headlights pop up
Bring a Trailer / The_Dude_Abides




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    You could never restore one for that price. Parts are hard to find and not cheap. When investing in Asian cars low mile clean models are better than trying to fix them up and restore one.

    Having a MkIII Supra I can attest to that. Haven’t been able to find good driver window switches or the door switch (which, when it malfunctions can make your alarm go off randomly when you open the door) for some time.

    Unless it is a Camaro, Mustang or Corvette and some A body GM cars most 80’s cars are near difficult to restore properly and if you do often the NOS parts if found are impossible to find.

    My Pontiac parts are mostly from E bay or the junk yard. NOS parts are impossible to find. The Mechanical bits are shared with other GM cars so most are still there but trim and interior parts are difficult to dine. I would like a shifter plate for my console and I can only fine one in the wrong color and shifter for nearly $400.

    T top parts are impossible to find. I bought a new set of glass tops when I found a set. I hope to neve need them but if I drop a top it is game over with out them. No one makes reproduction and used are not an easy find.

    Many time modification may be the way to fix these imports. The Cuban repair where you get creative.

    I think it was a good buy if it really is as good as the pictures represent.

    While I love the brown interior, I wonder if that dampens some enthusiasm among a wider audience?

    Not sure if pricing data show a bias towards exterior color as well? I would predict white being of indifferent appeal in respects to impacting value.

    Winding up somewhere in “the Middle East” might be the best outcome for this car.
    Too many Japanese cars of this, and the previous era, were very rust-prone.

    A nice looking car, no doubt. White looks good on it, particularly with the black contrasting bumpers. Difficult to say if it would look better or worse with black fender flares, which I believe many of them had. Partial to the MkIII myself – though without the 7M-G(T)E-POS engine. The 2JZ is smoother and less head gasket failure-prone. Too bad the car is going overseas…

    This 1983 Celica Supra looks to have been a reasonable buy. A white gen 1 Celica Supra, during the 40th
    anniversary of the Supra nameplate sold at Barrett Jackson auction for $18,000.
    I prefer the rare gen 1 Supra (I own two plus plenty of parts from a third). My 1981 Supras are the sexy curvy bodied, near prototype to the gen 2 because they too have a 2.8L motor (the 5M-E single overhead cam but with metal timing chain, not rubber belt), four wheel disc brakes and LSD rear differential too (just not independent rear suspension but wonder if could be swapped, let me know).
    I plan to possibly add a turbo and paint like the 1979 official pace car Supra from Toyota Grand Prix Long Beach. I believe this would boost it to 220 horsepower, reminiscent to the Shelby prepped Toyota 2000GTs of the late 1960s!, million dollar cars!? (I don’t like or trust pop up headlamps).
    I added ’83 wider rims and plan to add those ’83 factory ‘Recaro’ seats and rear wing further down along the rear hatch, all easy direct bolt-ons thankfully.

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