The Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 have reputations for being exceptional lightweight sports cars. So does the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and if you’ve wondered how a roofless Toyobaru would get along with the little two-seater, you’re not alone. There was the Toyota FT-86 Open convertible concept from 2013 that previewed a possible production version, but on-again-off-again rumours ultimately proved to be off. However, it seems a droptop model was actually very close to becoming reality.

A new report from Japanese website alleges that the concept convertible was more than just a whimsical creation. The report cites Toyota Supra Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada as saying a convertible version of the 86 went well past the concept stage and was near production. Unfortunately, the interview stops short of stating why the trigger on a roofless 86 was never pulled. If the old reports are accurate, keeping the sports car’s nimble nature intact without the structural integrity of a roof would’ve required a significant redesign. Apparently, Toyota was not interested in going that deep on the 86.

Toyota 86 Open concept,

The new Supra, however, might be something worth the extra effort. That is, in a removable targa-style roof, anyway. The interview with Tada also touches on a convertible version of the A90, a notion that would be rather awkward considering the new BMW Z4 is essentially a convertible Supra. The jointly-developed cars would suddenly become direct competitors, and while Tada doesn’t reference this specifically, he does deflect the question towards a potential removable roof option. That actually fits with the Supra’s history, as the A80 and A70 offered such an experience while the A60 offered a variation on that in the form of T-tops. Perhaps more importantly, a targa-style roof would grant Supra fans an open-air experience without treading into the full-blown convertible world embraced by the BMW Z4.

Of course, none of this is a smoking gun that either the Supra or 86 will get some kind of removable roof. But there’s at least some automaker interest in such things.