The spirit of the targa-topped Supras from the 1980s and 1990s is alive and well with the GR Supra Sport, a one-off created for this year’s digital-only SEMA show. Toyota says it was inspired by the A80 targa Supra while it was chopping off the roof of an A90 to create the GR Supra Sport Top concept. The latest build follows last year’s retro-flavoured Heritage Edition unveiled at the same event held in Sin City.
Work initially started with an air saw, but Toyota and Texas-based KC’s Paint Shop “got nowhere real fast,” cutting only about an inch of steel in half an hour. A change of plan was in order, so they switched to a different cutting tool to get the job done and turn the Supra into an open-air sports car. In its place, Toyota put a pair of 3D-printed composite panels designed to perfectly follow the vehicle’s shape.
Gallery: Toyota GR Supra Sport Top concept
The end result is quite impressive as you can hardly tell it’s the targa Supra rather than the regular coupe when the two roof pieces are in place. The original design was largely retained by using the original windscreen header and outer roof body structure shapes on both the driver and passenger sides. It looks as if this is the vehicle’s original design, even though we’re dealing strictly with a one-and-done car.
The Sport Top was more than hacking off the fixed roof and replacing it with removable panels as the team behind the project added reinforcements underneath the car, from the engine bay all the way back to the tub’s rear. In addition, the outer body was bolstered to retain the GR Supra’s rigidity even with an open-top configuration.
The OEM look might make some people wonder why Toyota isn’t willing to turn the SEMA car into a product you can actually buy. Well, perhaps BMW wouldn’t like that too much since it could eat into sales of the Z4 upon which the Supra is based. That being said, the Bimmer rocks an electrically retractable soft top whereas the Supra would be hardtop with panels you’d have to take off yourself.
The Supra is not the first sports car from Toyota to lose its fixed roof in the modern era as the GT86 went through a similar process back in 2013 for the FT 86 concept. Rather than switching to a targa setup, it featured an electrically operated fabric roof. In 2019, Toyota admitted the concept was almost turned into a production model at one point, but it ultimately never happened.
Time will tell whether the Supra will bring back the targa arrangement it first had in 1986 for the third-gen model when it became a standalone car rather than continuing as a Celica version.