Japanese Sports Classic: 1983 Toyota Celica Supra

In 1981, Toyota completely redesigned the Celica Supra, and in my humble opinion, the result was probably the most attractive and naturally aggressive-looking car to ever wear the Supra badge. It is a low and purposeful looking car, and performance figures proved to also be quite respectable. This particular Supra is a clean and tidy example that you could find parked in your driveway. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, you will find the Supra listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is currently sitting at $3,250 in a No Reserve auction.

Finished in Super Red, the Supra looks like it is in quite good condition. The body looks nice and straight, and there are no signs of any rust issues. The original fender flares, which can begin to look a bit tatty over time, appear to be in good condition, and it is these that help to give the car such an aggressive look. I’ve never been a fan of the black rear hatch, and I feel that they look much better painted in the same color as the rest of the body. The only part of the car that is beginning to show its age are the original aluminum alloy wheels. However, these could be restored pretty easily and would make quite a difference to the appearance of the car.

The interior of the Supra is a bit of a pleasant surprise, because not only does it appear to be unmodified, but the cloth and plastic all appears to be in quite good condition. When it came to the longevity of interior plastic in the 1980s, Toyota always seemed to be slightly ahead of the other Japanese manufacturers, and this might help to explain why this car looks so good. The original radio and cassette player are still present, but it isn’t clear whether these function. The owner is including a CD player with the car, but personally, I would be inclined to leave things as they are if possible. Luxury appointments abound in the Supra, with the car featuring a power sunroof, power windows and locks, power exterior mirrors, a tilt wheel, cruise control, and air conditioning. The owner says that the A/C blows cool, but could probably benefit from re-gassing.

Under the hood of the Supra is the 2,759cc DOHC six-cylinder engine, which pushes out 170hp. For me, the bad news is that this is hooked to a 4-speed automatic transmission, rather than the 5-speed manual unit. This does have some noticeable impact on performance, but 1983 marked the introduction of a new automatic, and this was a leap forward over the previous version. It allowed owners to switch between a standard mode and a sports mode for the transmission’s shift patterns. The owner says that this Supra runs and drives extremely nicely. It is fitted with a new exhaust system, along with a new water pump and belts. These engines are essentially bullet-proof and are a proven product in international motorsport.

This 1983 Celica Supra is a tidy car that looks to be ready to drive and enjoy. The only disappointment for me is the automatic transmission, but for an owner who is not too tied up in originality, it would be relatively easy to convert the car to a manual transmission. If the new owner is seeking good performance, this is definitely an option that is worth considering. The ’83 Supra is a car that has experienced a recent increase in values, and a nice example can fetch prices around $12,000. If the bidding on this car stays low, this might be a great Japanese classic to own.


  1. Jeepster Jeepster

    IMHO a car will never be a real sports car without the third pedal.

    Like 13
    • ccrvtt

      Point well taken. Also feel the same about 4 doors. They can be performance cars to an extent but not sports cars.

      On the other hand I will make an exception for paddle shifters.

      And I had some really interesting drives in my ’95 C4 with a 4 gear auto trans. Having 11EEE feet precludes a lot of space in the pedal box for me.

      But ultimately I have to respect your opinion on this point.

      Like 2
    • Superdessucke

      You are a tiny minority. GM isn’t even going to build the new ‘Vette with a manual this time around, to show you how popular the third pedal is.

      Like 1
      • Jeepster Jeepster

        Because people simply don’t know how to drive anymore.

        Like 16
      • 433jeff

        I think i paid 100$ for one of these blue, a kid was going to college and just wanted it gone, i didnt even onow if it ran, 2 years later sold it for 700$, these cars have loads of power goid mileage, dependable,and for me this is the best supra, mine was 5 speed, great rig, great yota

        Like 1
  2. LARRY

    I love these better than these new BMW supras..which in my opinion are futt bugly. I had a 79 supra gt 5 speed wish I still had it

    Like 7
  3. JBP

    as daily Driver, it could be nice. but why is bumper, and trunk let black? rear end crash??? nice old Tokiota

    • M vickery

      This was how Toyota made them back then, believe it or not. Never my favorite styling choice.

      Like 5
  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    I remember this generation Toyota Celica Supra. I was too young to drive at the time. But I remember admiring its appearance. This particular example looks like either an original unrestored survivor, or a beautiful restoration.

    • JBD

      I had this 2nd gen Supra and it was a great reliable car. Nothing like new car performance but it started at -30 degrees F in winter also.

  5. Clipper

    I owned one of these back then, w a 5 speed. It offered a refined (for the time) yet sporty drive. The rear hatches had a tendency to rust in the midwest, but mechanically they were unstoppable (Toyota). I loved it and put on a ton of miles.

    Like 2
  6. JFA7 Member

    In high school, in the early ‘90s, I had an ‘82 in blue. For my graduation present I got it repainted and made the hatch and wing body color, it did look much better. The ‘84-early ‘86 had body color hatches from the factory. It had the automatic as well and it was noticeably slower than a stick but it made it easier for me to smile clove cigarettes ;). Great car.


    i have a 5 speed 4 it

  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    There is a renewed interest in these, now that the new one is out.

    If you are thinking of getting one, now would be the time before prices go up.

  9. yvonne@lisco.com Member

    The black bumper & hatch are correct for the earlier models of these. as I remember the later ones had a two section spoiler,body colored hatch & the supra decal went all the way across the hatch. this looks to be a really nice original car. these were nice driving cars. had three of them back in the day….

  10. Louis Q Tran

    I have a 851/2 with auto trans.-no complaint. Mine was set on the Sport mode for extra oomph. The auto trans. was great when I lived in Huntington Beach, Ca. which can get tiresome when stuck on the 405 traffic with a 5 spd. All in all it was the best Japanese made product at the time when they are striving to attract more customers. By the way, I still live in HB and still have my Sppra, for some reason my oldest daughter didn’t want it for her H.S. graduation, I guess she belong to the Beemer generation!
    P.S. this in line 6 cyl. D.O.H.C. engine is really smooth if you use synthetic motor oil!

  11. RPrena

    I had the GT version with slant-back headlights, bright white with dark brown interior. Went 130K miles with VERY minimal maintenance. Looking back, it was probably the best car I ever owned.

  12. John B.

    Just because GM doesn’t offer a “stick” any more doesn’t mean that people no longer want them! The general is too busy giving us crap we don’t need or want to listen to the people who helped make it great. If you have worked on any of GM’s offerings lately you’ll agree. Ford and Chrysler aren’t much in this endeavor either!

    Like 1

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