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ROAD TRIP I


t was still dark outside as I stepped through the front door of the Barcelo Imagine Hotel in Madrid, Spain. The temperatures had


been somewhat hot, yet there was still a slight chill in the air. The sun was just about to rise over the horizon and the night was slowly fading away, bringing with it a day set to be fi lled with much excitement and the crackle of a straight-six engine. I’d hardly crossed the threshold when I was greeted by a staccato line of cars. I could make out the Toyota GT86s, but every second one was dressed in retina-perplexing red, black and white camoufl age. That wasn’t fooling me, though: I could clearly make out the lines of the all-new, fi fth-generation Toyota Supra. My inner fi ve-year old squealed


with glee. His 37-year-old host tried to hide the excitement. It had been 25 years since


there was a “new” Supra and the last one of its kind rolled off the Motomachi assembly line in Aichi, Japan, over 16 years ago. Since then, there’d been much speculation and rumour about what would succeed it, but the day had fi nally arrived and I was getting a chance to drive the rebirth of a legendary nameplate.


THE NEW SUPRA IS YOUR FAVOURITE BAND, RETURNING FROM A HIATUS. THEIR SOUND MAY HAVE CHANGED A LITTLE BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY CAN’T STILL BLOW YOUR SOCKS OFF.


THE SUPRA LINEAGE This nameplate traces its root to the


Toyota Celica of 1978, where the Supra badge denoted a larger, more spacious version of the Celica, powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. It shared the light with the Celica until its third incarnation, where Toyota split the two models, leaving the Celica to remain a compact, four-cylinder off ering while the Supra retained the larger, six- cylinder arrangement. Both the Celica and the Supra of that era went on to enjoy success in various motorsport disciplines, but ask someone born in the ’90s about the Toyota Supra and they’ll tell you about the hero car in the fi rst Fast and the Furious fi lm of 2001, just a year before Toyota pulled the plug on the Supra project. Speak to an enthusiast and they’ll recount tales about the legendary engine that powered the fourth and fi nal version of the Supra, the venerable 2JZ-GTE 3,0-litre, twin-turbocharged, in-line six-cylinder. The engine was soon found to be


robust enough to handle serious power without requiring too much in the way of supporting modifi cations. These engines are still revered as among the best ever produced by the fi rm.


37


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