The Underrated Gem: Why the Mk3 Supra is the Ultimate Project Car Dream

Discover why the Mk3 Supra is the perfect project car in this insightful article.

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The Underrated Gem: Why the Mk3 Supra is the Ultimate Project Car Dream

The Toyota Supra is a cultural icon in the automotive world, renowned for its powerful 2JZ-GTE six-cylinder engine that revolutionized the capabilities of an inline-six. While the A80, also known as the Mk4 Supra, is the most popular among enthusiasts, it's not the only Supra worth investing in. The Mk3 Toyota Supra, which is often overlooked, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With the Mk4 Supras selling for as much as $150,000, the Mk3 Supra, with its substantially lower price, can easily be acquired for under $20,000.

The Mk3 Supra, produced from 1986 to 1993, was the first standalone model to carry the Supra nameplate. The US models were equipped with a 3.0-liter inline-six, the 7M-GE, which was available in naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions. The 7M-GTE, the turbocharged variant, was the first distributor-less engine from Toyota in the US, producing 230 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque, while the naturally aspirated version generated 200 horsepower and 196 lb-ft of torque. The Mk3 Supra's manual transmission was reinforced to handle the extra torque from the turbocharged engine, and the car's technical highlights included an electronically modulated suspension, ABS, and double wishbone suspension, with a limited-slip differential standard on the turbo trim and optional on the base trim.

The Mk3 Supra has immense tuning potential, making it perfect for the tuner culture. It's a classic JDM icon with a near-infinite range of tuning possibilities. Parts are readily available from suppliers in Japan and the US, ranging from simple updates to the interior to significant modifications with both visual and performance impacts. The Mk3 Supra's simple nature compared to modern standards makes engine swaps much more manageable, with common swaps involving the installation of a 2JZ engine that can easily produce 1,000 horsepower.

The Mk3 Supra's appeal extends beyond its tuning potential. Widebody kits are readily available, and many period-correct modifications can make the car stand out. The Mk3 Supra may not be as well-known as the Mk4, but it's a classic JDM car that screams style and culture.

As the Mk4 Supras become scarce and their prices skyrocket, the Mk3 Supra is an ideal alternative. It combines classic 1980s JDM style with an excellent platform for expressing your own style, and its age means that there are plenty of parts available for it. It's also a sound financial investment, as it's a collector's car in the making. Even if you prefer to keep it stock, Toyota's Heritage Parts program allows you to purchase brand-new OEM parts to maintain the Mk3 Supra's pristine condition.

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