Pinto and Supra
Hey, Duane here! After graduation from college in 1981, I worked for a few months, and then decided to find myself. I sold my 1979 Hurst/Olds to eliminate the car payment, stored my 1969 Hurst/Olds, packed a large duffle bag, and flew east.
That open-ended adventure ultimately lasted only a month in Boston and New York. A very fun, very memorable eye-opening experience for this naive 22-year-old, four weeks of staying in the local YMCA’s and eating and drinking on an extremely limited budget took a toll. I grew homesick. It was time to return home, be responsible, and go back to work.
Returning home, I had one car, the pristine 1969 Hurst/Olds that was too nice to drive daily. I borrowed a 10-year-old faded blue Ford Pinto with torn seats from my father. Years before it belonged to my stepmother and now looked in sad shape. But it always started!
After four months, I had grown tired of driving that embarrassing Pinto. It may have been dependable, but it was no date magnet. Intent on keeping the H/O, I began looking for a daily use car, something sporty but more practical than the stimulating Triumph TR4 I once owned.
My New Supra
I chose the new generation 1982 Toyota Supra sitting in the dealership showroom. Red with black lower panels, its long sloping hood and angular lines looked sporty. Powered by the 145-hp 2.8L inline-6 with 5-speed manual transmission, it had four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and an electric sunroof. The dashboard had full gauges and the sporty front bucket seats had lumbar adjustments, while the fold-down rear seats and usable hatchback made this Supra semi-practical.
Toyota Supra (identical to mine)
My negotiation skills were weak, and in hindsight, I didn’t get the best deal. But at the time I was very pleased. I left the Pinto at the dealership that night and drove the new Supra to my downtown apartment. It was very cold and snowed heavily overnight. The next morning my day-old Supra would crank but not start. I was so frustrated, especially since I knew that embarrassing Pinto would have started right up. I called the dealer and waited for the tow truck. Then I took the bus to work, my first time riding the city bus.
The dealer concluded that the serpentine drive belt slipped, and it was repaired under warranty that day. I returned to the dealership late afternoon to retrieve both the Supra and Pinto, only to find the Pinto buried deep in snow by the dealer’s plow. My week was not going well.
The 1982 Supra was fun to drive. It looked great, was reasonably quick for its era, and transported a surprising amount with the rear seats folded flat. It wasn’t the best car in the snow, but other than one spinout incident on ice that damaged only my ego, this car proved to be a good all-around choice. Owning the Supra for five years, I had become a Supra fan and had no mechanical issues after that first-day no-start problem. Even today this generation Supra remains a good-looking car.
Next Sunday meet its replacement, a turbocharged Supra. Thanks, and always drive with allure!