The Supra is one of the most capable and revered cars to come out of the Japanese economy bubble from the 80s/90s. The mighty 2JZ, best friend of tuners everywhere, using some turbos to power the rear wheels only. But it’s ugly and fat and I hate it.
Full disclosure: I love the Nissan 300ZX (though I’m no longer an owner), the car that set the benchmark for the Supra and these days plays second fiddle to it. That upsets me and therefore this post may contain a degree of bias. A few degrees really. 360 degrees. All the bias.
Disclaimer: the photos in this post are from when I parked my Z next to a Supra owned by a guy I know. It’s not stock, it’s not perfect and it’s definitely not my thing. But he’s young, he saved it from the wreckers and he painted it himself and I think that gives him a bit of a free pass.
The whole front of the car is a weird round blob, as if it’s desperate to move forward from the wedges of the 80s (especially the wedgerific MKIII) but it doesn’t know how so it’s just gloop. And if that just sounds like 90s design in a nutshell, this is doing it wrong. It’s not harmonious, it’s not even remotely interesting. It’s a featureless blob. The barely-there contours running down the bonnet are so insignificant they may as well not be there at all. The headlights don’t help either - big shapeless gaping bottom-feeder type things.
The rear is more of the same. Rounded, with a weird bulge coming out under the tail-lights, like a reverse muffin-top. The tail-lights themselves probably looked great in 1993, but are bland and are too obviously of their time. It’s exactly the same story with the spoiler (the stock one, not this one) - it shouts out loud that it’s from an era when big spoilers were cool and it was trying so very hard. These features are fads, which of course means they age like milk.
And what else is there? The side of the car is fatas well in the worst way. The whole thing just bulges out, like a balloon full of shit. There are weird intakes just in front of the rear wheels that lead straight to the…what, the tyre? Why? Do they even go anywhere at all? You’d expect something more functional from such a performant car. Even the wheels are fat - like a 5-spoke with added bloat. The stock wheels that is, good luck finding a stock Supra.
So there we have it. It’s a fat car. At least it keeps this blobby theme strongly throughout the entire design, that’s something. But it’s nothing compared to its competitors. The low, sleek 300ZX. The lower, sleeker Mitsubishi 3000GT. Subaru SVX, FD RX-7, all of these cars are beautiful things next to the plump Supra. The Supra may best many of them in terms of pure performance, but looking at them side by side you’d never know it.
In closing I’d like to post few comparison pics featuring my old 300ZX. The Z is far from the leanest car of the era but even so you can see how the Supra’s waistline is much higher than the Z’s, how the Supra’s front looks bloated by comparison, how the rear looks too high and just wrong. The Z is also longer, being a 2+2 (not sure about the Supra). The Supra is short, fat and ugly - the chode of the JDM world.