The internet sure can suck sometimes. First, it turns every moderately clickbaity video into an opportunity for a goatse or rickroll, and now it has raised prices on the MKIV Toyota Supra to such a degree that it’s completely unattainable for people that work for a living. Bravo. Thankfully, here are four cars that can do damn near everything that the Supra can do, for a fraction of the price - at least for now anyway.
4. MK3 Toyota Supra Turbo
This MK3 Toyota Supra Turbo, in stock trim, is quite formidable on its own. It also shares the same basic platform as the younger Supra in all the ways that matter. Turbocharged 3.0 liter inline 6 engine ? Check. Ridiculously overbuilt manual gearbox? Check. Insane power handling capability and lots of aftermarket support? Check and double check. While this car doesn’t share the MKIV’s more contemporary aesthetic flair, it has a stuck-in-the-80s charm that is more nostalgia machine than it is forward-thinking science project.
You can also swap over the entire drivetrain from a newer Supra into it relatively easily and have every single advantage of the newer car, with the addition of driving something with an available red velour interior. Even with prices rising slightly, you can still find good examples in the four figure range, and for the price of a fair-to-middlin’ MKIV Supra , you can have a world-beating modified MK3. Food for thought.
3. Lexus GS300
Imagine this stately GS300 as Lexus’ version of the Porsche Panamera. Now in stock form, it’s not exactly the best performer as it tends to be a bit heavy and ungainly through the twisties, but a few off-the-shelf mods and a engine transplant with the 2JZ-GTE from a Japanese Toyota Aristo will make this the five passenger Supra you never knew you wanted.
Of course, almost any car with a 2JZ swap will be Supra-like in its engine tone and driving manners, however it helps a ton when you have an abundance of parts interchangeability and OEM support, even if it is via overnight parts from Japan.
2. Lexus IS300
If a modded GS300 is Lexus’ version of the Porsche Panamera, this IS300 is Lexus’ BMW M3 with the right parts bolted on. It’s just that much more taught, that much more chuckable, available with a manual transmission from stock, and just as moddable, with as many available high-powered 2JZ goodies as you can fit in that cramped engine bay.
It’s not the easiest body in the world to attach the Supra’s six speed transmission to, but easier manual options (like the R154 5-speed and GETRAG BMW transmission) make this car a damn good value if your goal is insane power and handling for no money, relative to even the most discounted MKIV Supra purchase price.
You can find good showing examples well below $10,000 all day and with such an awesome base to start with, you’d be hard pressed to find something more fitting if you need a Supra fix and can’t quite afford the price of admission.
1. Lexus SC300
Well, of course this awesome Lexus SC300 had to make it onto this list. Not only does the SC share the drivetrain with the non-turbo MKIV Supra, but nearly all other mechanical components, including that of suspension and exhaust are interchangeable, if not requiring very minor modifications to fit.
It’s more comfortable than the Supra, more plentiful on your local Craigslist, available in manual, and had a nearly ten year production run. That means parts are cheap, cars and cheap, and every single aspect of Supra ownership can and will be present with owning an SC for a quarter of the price.
Granted, you’ll have to swap over a turbocharged drivetrain from a MKIV Supra or just add a turbo and accompanying mods onto the stout 2JZ-GE naturally aspirated engine, but when you do, it’s a life-changing experience. These cars are so cheap that I’m not sure why everyone doesn’t have at least three in their driveway. Y’know, just in case.