Toyota GR Supra Sport Top – targa concept for SEMA

The Toyota Supra wasn’t always so godlike. It was known, sure, but it took one Brian O’Conner and an orange A80 to immortalise the Supra. Remember that “10 second car” from 2001? Of course you do.

Now let’s gawk at this Toyota GR Supra Sport Top, a one-off homage to the removable top Supra models of the 1990s. Created by Toyota for SEMA’s online programme in a year where the famous tuning show can’t physically happen, the targa concept was designed as a twin to the popular GR Supra Heritage Edition that rocked the show last year.

“We had such a great response to the Heritage Edition last year. I asked the guys at our Motorsports Garage if we could take the Heritage Edition to the next level and make a Supra with that removable roof everyone remembers from the MKIV?” said Ed Laukes, group VP of marketing at Toyota Motor North America (TMNA).

Lead builder Marty Schwerter and his team jumped at the chance, and started conceptualising the GR Supra Sport Top. The result is a prototype open-air creation based on the GR Supra Heritage Edition with similar visual cues and performance upgrades, but with that crucial removable roof.

It was more than just slicing the roof off the A90. “This was no easy build, and we put a lot of thought into cutting the roof and removing a significant part of the car’s structure. It was way more complicated than we originally thought. Removing the top was extremely tough and required some innovative work to retain the GR Supra’s rigidity. I love how it came out, and I hope others love it, too,” Schwerter said.

KC Mathieu, owner of KC’s Paint Shop in Fort Worth, Texas, led the roof removal work. “The steel was a little harder to cut through than we expected. We started with an air saw, and got nowhere real fast,” Mathieu said, adding that after 30 minutes they had only cut about an inch of steel. The surgery would eventually be a success, of course.

The roof design features two composite panels 3D printed by TMNA’s R&D team in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They were contoured to the GR Supra’s body lines and the car retains the windshield header and the outer roof body structure shapes. Unlike a “T-Top” car, there is no centre bar down the middle.

Taking the roof off a car would need compensation elsewhere in terms of structural integrity, and the TMNA team reinforced the roof’s outer body structures and added reinforcement underneath from the engine bay to the back of the tub. Roof aside, this Sport Top mirrors the Heritage Edition showcar, which has been updated.

Stepping back to take a fresh look at some of the over 500 hp Heritage Edition’s custom upgrades, the team worked on making the hand-built rear diffuser and underbody airflow more efficient. They also reworked the exhaust and created a new custom setup featuring twin pipes in the centre of the rear bumper.

There are some nice aesthetic touches as well. You would have already noticed the “basket handle” rear spoiler inspired by the A80, and the round tail lamps is another nod to the fourth-gen Supra. Numerous coats of BASF paint were mixed to exactly match the OEM Absolute Zero white colour. Black HRE twin-five-spoke wheels and big Brembo brakes, too. Toyota really should make this!

GALLERY: 2020 Toyota GR Supra in Malaysia

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