Let’s face it: the build up to the launch of the GR Supra created a hype like no other. The A80 or MKIV is a pretty tough precedent to beat, and the GR Supra had big shoes to fill. So was it able to step up to the plate? What’s surprising is how pundits seemed to have been split in the middle – those who say yes, and those who think it fell short.
Most of the “complaints” leant more on how it just didn’t look Supra enough. Granted, it is an all-new platform, but as we said, the A80 was already cult classic. At this year’s Specialty Equipment Manufacturing Association (SEMA) Show, Toyota may have heard the vox populi and decided to mod the GR Supra into something befitting its predecessor’s status. Enter: the Toyota Supra Heritage Edition.
The brainchild of Ed Laukes, the GVP of Toyota Marketing Division, the Heritage is to embody the spirit of the A80 in the GR Supra. The task to “build” it fell on the shoulders of Marty Schwerter of Motorsports Technical Center. What he had in mind was to blend elements from the late 90’s model into the 2020 model. And boy, did he come up with a proper homage.
Split-spoke star form wheels were the alloys of choice for the Heritage, with 295-30 tires up front. If you think that that’s radical, the rear wheels are wrapped in 305-30 tires. That means that overall, the Heritage has about 8 inches more contact patch than the GR. Did anyone say “Grip”? And speaking of grip, 15-inch cross-drilled rotors combined with Brembo calipers make sure that the Heritage can stop just as quickly as it goes. We’ll talk more about the power later.
To fit the much wider wheels and tires, a cantilever rear-suspension setup was employed by the MTC crew together with Scarbo Performance, with Tein coilovers as the main hardware of choice. That setup was also able to eliminate two inches of unnecessary suspension travel.
Another treat that Supra fans will find to their liking is the rear wing of the Heritage. Yes, that’s an actual A80 spoiler that was modified to fit the GR. We just modified it to fit this car. It's been narrowed a bit, but the height is about the same as it was," said Marty Schwerter about the familiar aero piece.
Yet another proper nod to the Supra of old are the clustered taillights. Gone is the linear arrangement and it instead sports the familiar circular housings. Really, if you were stuck behind one of these, seeing these taillights along with the wing should be enough to make you remember the A80’s glory. But of course, it can’t all be about the body parts of the past, right?
Along with the aforementioned pieces, the rear of the Heritage is dominated by a new diffuser courtesy of MTC and Cripworks. Finished in black, it gives remarkable contrast to the Re-Entry Red color. It shows a center-exit for the twin exhaust pipes, and together with functional vents you may see all around, it provides downforce to keep this Supra well planted.
Powering the Heritage Edition Supra is a souped up version of the GR’s stock engine. Toyota worked with Precision Turbo and Engine to up the 3.0-liter engines output to what they declared as 503 HP to the crank. Add a bigger and better-flowing turbo, a custom intake, plus new engine management software, and this homage is no slouch.
This really is a bit of a concern for manufacturers who come out with next and new generations of once-venerable models; that the new may not be able to live up to the old legends. But with a bit of teamwork and a lot of knuckle grease, Toyota proved that the current GR Supra may have more to it than some people may believe. Okay, so that’s one proper homage to a 90’s legend done. When can we see Skylines and RX’s, then, we wonder.