So many wonderful things to take in with this little time-capsule. First off, it’s a brown sports car, which is something you don’t see everyday, but I guess I should say that it’s not really a sports car.
It’s more of a cruiser kind of car, a stretched version of the more pedestrian Celica sportster. The Supra was lengthened to fit two more cylinders’ worth of straight-six engine. Presumably not for power, but more for a reduction of effort in driving – more cylinders and more displacement mean more laziness allowed by the drivetrain.
During the American import boom of the late 1970s, Japanese cars (one needn’t really qualify this with small Japanese cars, as that was pretty much all there was to be had) would get criticized for the buzziness and high-strung nature brought on by their diminutive engines and wheelbases. So I guess this Supra is interesting in that it was one of the early attempts of Japanese manufacturers to build a car more suited to the lengthy highways of the States.
I’m more interested in the design language, which certainly has its strange elements, most notably the kind of hunchbacked rear and the incongruous B-pillar. It would be hard to say that I completely appreciate it without any winking irony. It comes from a time when people might watch Paint Your Wagon and really, honestly enjoy all the gossamer folk ballads.
The last piece of the puzzle for this car is the state it’s in: it’s a remarkably well-kept low-budget sporty car of the late 1970s still parked on the street. The Datsun 280Z from the other day is much more indicative of how a car like this ought to look. keeping this Toyota in such a state must be a process, to say the least, with neverending repairs, upkeep, and smog checks. I expect it is a reliable car for its vintage, but that’s only saying so much. So why is the owner keeping it in such a nice state? What’s the appeal? Maybe there’s a like soul out there with a heart for the strange vision of modernity the world saw in this period and has the funds and the time to keep a rolling example like this on the road.