We’ve shared some of the most read articles of 2021 in our Best of 2021, now we’re sharing a few that our employees believe are worth a second look. These are our 2021 staff picks.
It’s 1993. A wealthy buyer can walk into a Toyota dealership and walk away with an all-new Supra – six-cylinder, forced induction, two-wheel drive in the rear. Or, that buyer can roughly cut their expenses in half and come home in a new performance-trimmed Acura Integra – sure, it’s based on the Civic, but that means it comes with VTEC and a shifter that sends power to these front wheels.
We are in 2022. Everything is the same, but everyone is complaining. Why?
It’s funny. If you look at period reviews of the 1993 Supra Turbo, places like Car and driver Where Motor week, they all say the chassis is on loan from Lexus – not the pure, purpose-built platform we all remember. Despite the car combining Corvette-like performance with a more comfortable interior, C&D looked lukewarm on the ‘humble little Supra’, stating:
[W]We wonder if the new Supra is facing an identity crisis. It’s fast, but it’s not a pure sports car like the RX-7. And it doesn’t offer the style, luxury, or prestige of the 300ZX.
On the other hand, it’s also true that the manual-transmission Lexus SC300 and this new Supra are almost fraternal twins in size, shape, drivetrain and price. The Lexus is refined, opulent and imperium styled. … [W]We always find it easier to imagine a long-term romance with the little Lexus coupe, of which the Supra is now such aristocratic offspring.
Maybe Car and Driver would have preferred the Supra if Toyota could have define design constraints for the chassis, rather than just borrowing what Lexus already had. Maybe they would have preferred a version that swapped the old rear seats for a shorter wheelbase, tilting the car more in this “pure sports car” market. I wonder what that might look like.
Our collective memory of the A80 Supra is marred by tuners, miles from texas, and one sort of Following himbo filled remake Breaking point. Nostalgia tells us that the ’90s car is better than the modern iteration: it has a manual transmission, it is more pure, his 100% Toyota without the involvement of any car manufacturer, which is inherently better for vague but totally significant reasons.
However, we forget that the Lexus SC came first. Toyota took a luxury grand touring platform, scaled it down to slightly sportier dimensions, and rebadged it. This is less involvement than the company had in the design of the A90 co-developed by BMW. And now the tuners are push absurd numbers in the Supra’s new engine, which is the only thing that cemented the old car in popular culture.
The old car was just an old car. Built by a business to sell to a certain target customer. The new takes the same formula, a comfortable sporty coupe based on a luxury platform, but adds more performance to the mix. Like always.
Now we see the same situation with the new Integra. Acura has announced a successor to its five-door luxury sports compact, and everyone is convinced that it is a five-door luxury sports compact. It doesn’t matter that each Integra was based on the Civic, it doesn’t matter that it was always available with two-row doors, it doesn’t matter that Acura skips all the forgettable base models with this generation and jumps straight to the equivalent of a GS-R.
No one can be disappointed that the new Integra is not the same as the old ones. You are disappointed that he is the same, and that to be likewise it ruins your nostalgia for the car of your youth. Sure, the Type R was special, but an upcoming Integra Type S is cars’ worst-kept secret right now. You all wanted a world-beating three-door liftback that spun at 9,000 rpm, and that’s a really good thing to want – it’s just not an Integra.
Take off the rose-colored glasses and really look at some of the ’90s cars you’ve always loved. They are good cars, very good cars, but they’re consumer products – built for a target market, sold at retail. Any “soul” that is missing from covers is not something that came from the factory, but something that was added later – either by mods and tuners or by your own bedroom poster memorabilia.
Try the new ones. Make memories. Approach them as extensions of a car, instead of your memories of this car. Then see how you feel – if you still don’t like them, just remember the cars haven’t changed. You did it.