Straight Six And A Stick: 1979 Toyota Supra

It’s interesting to think that Toyota tried to preserve the lineage of its sporty models by calling the original Supra a “Celica-Supra,” despite the fact that the more expensive two-door was a significantly different car. With a smooth inline six, rear-wheel drive and luxurious appointments, it was a forbearer to Toyota coupes to come. Find this survivor-grade Supra here on craigslist in minty shape for $7,800.

Though the seller doesn’t say it’s been repainted, that exterior sure looks good for the year. Wearing original wheels and accessory mudflaps, this Supra looks to be 100% un-messed with, and even the chrome trim appears as new. What’s even more surprising is that this Supra is located in Chicago, which isn’t exactly known for being kind to vintage Japanese tin.

The 2.6L SOHC inline-six shared duties with the Cressida sedan, delivering 110 b.h.p. While no screamer, it was reported by test drivers of the day as being a smooth operator, capable of keeping up with Datsun’s Z-Car. Unfortunately, those same road test editors took issue with the car’s handling, which seemed unsettled when the road turned curvy and more inclined to straight-line cruising.

However, the big coupe earned some redemption with its interior, which featured a tilting steering wheel and high-grade vinyl upholstery. This example also sports the optional rear window wiper, but no word on if it originally came with the factory 8-track. Overall, this seems like a worthwhile example if you’re on the hunt for a Japanese classic that likely isn’t done appreciating. Did any of you drive one when new?


  1. geebee

    Maybe I’m wrong, but when I see fresh looking paint on a northern car, I’m thinking they’re hiding major bodywork of unknown quality. I do like the way this car looks, though. And the model does have an interesting story.

    • Squad41

      The underside tells me that it’s original and unmolested.

  2. Gunner

    I absolutely love this Supra. I have always been a huge fan of this first generation body style. A very unique car. Love the color, and the standard transmission. I believe it to be a good buy provided there is no rust lurking underneath that beautiful paint. How many of these are seen on the road these days? If I was closer and in the market, I would have a look. On second thought, I had better focus on my factory big block B-Body!

  3. R1100RT

    My recollection is that factory two tone paint jobs on these had the roof and the hood as the same color so the line between colors was straight and followed the side sheet metal lines perpendicular to the ground, and did not cut an angle on the rear quarters like this one.

    • Jubjub

      That paint is totally not factory and the “two tone” is awful!!! Also appears someone painted the wheels silver versus their original aluminum. Boo. Always thought these were understated and kinda elegant.

  4. PaulbZ3

    Not too far from my home. Would be interested if I had room in the garage. I’m no Toyota expert but I know a thing or two about about a thing or two if anyone needs someone to eyeball this one…

  5. Mr. TKD

    I always thought these were stretched Celicas. Nice find.

  6. Rustytech Member

    My older brother bought one of these new. At the time I was not a big fan of Japanese imports, but after a couple drives I was convinced. It wasn’t fast compared to the muscle cars from early in the decade but the 6 did pretty good compared to it’s contemporaries. It would get a little loose on very bumpy roads but it did well on windy country roads. I don’t remember him ever having an major problems with it in the 10 or so years he had it. This appears to be a nice car, though I’m not big on the two toning.

  7. DaveT

    This is less than an hour from me. My ’04 GMC and my ’08 Ford are both rusting. This car is either hiding something, a southern transplant or was garaged 3-4 months a year.
    I really like it and I’m glad people are starting to appreciate these.
    Nice find for sure

  8. Car Nut Seattle

    Lovely looking Celica Supra. I’ve always liked this first gen Celica Supra. It’s always been my favourite. :)

  9. Dave

    When I was a teenager I had a ’72 dodge charger and the girl I was dating owned a Celica just like this one, I gotta admit that Toyota was alot more fun to drive, it handled way better than that old dodge ever did !!!

  10. -riprock

    The Celica-Supra monicker is likely due to the “new model tarrif” image used on import brands to the US. Another two examples of the clever skirt of launching a “sub” model them dropping the papa model name the next year are civic Del sol, and the Stanza Altima.

    Not sure the tarrif meant to protect us automakers is still in place…

    • Mr. TKD

      The Nissan Armada carried Pathfinder badges when it was first introduced to the American market.

  11. rad

    I drove one of these in college, and thought it was phenomenally comfortable and reliable. Of course, my first car was an MG Midget. It did reliably outrun my friends RX-7! Good memories in that car, for sure.

  12. karu

    This vintage is increasing in value.

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