Ask Toyota if it's planning a successor to the Supra mantle, and you'll get a well-practised response: no such project exists.
New reports out of Europe however suggest that there's a black-ops project underway at Toyota, with the quiet approval of the company's track-loving CEO, Akio Toyoda.
According to British magazine car, development of the LFA supercar and the entry-level FT-86 sports car has given Toyota's rear-wheel-drive team an insatiable desire to return the carmaker to its sporting roots.
Rumours of a new Supra have been circulating for nearly as long as the badge has been absent from showrooms. That'll be 10 years, next August.
This time, it's easy to feel that it's a different situation, that the fan-favourite could return. Nissan's success with the 370Z and even the Supra's one-time rival, the GT-R, must surely be ruffling some feathers at Toyota HQ. With or without the Lexus LFA.
Car says the reported new Supra is nearly ready for a green light, with a production goal set for 2014.
Does Toyota need a new Supra? It's unlikely that the FT-86 is going to sell in the sorts of numbers that will show a real impact on the company's sales - and a new Supra wouldn't make much difference there, either.
Toyota already has the sales - it's the number one carmaker in the world - but, among the fans and enthusiasts, does it still have the respect it once enjoyed?
To quote the eminently quotable (and ironically appropriate) film The Fast & The Furious: "To some people, that's more important."
For now, as it works to reestablish its image as a quality leader, the world number-one carmaker is likely to focus its sports car energies on the upcoming FT-86, scheduled to make its market debut in the coming year.
Lexus LFA - Tokyo Motor Show Edition
According to reports, the new special will feature an unpainted carbon-fibre roof (as opposed to the usual painted carbon-fibre roof), and a carbon-fibre rear spoiler.
It's unclear if the special Tokyo car will slot into the existing 500 LFAs to be built, or if it will enter as a new special-edition beyond the initial production group. Reports suggest it will sting buyers an addition $50,000.
Toyota FT-86 - Tokyo Motor Show
The Japanese carmaker has yet to make an announcement, but reports earlier this year suggested Toyota will unveil the production-ready version of its FT-86 sports car at this year's Tokyo Motor Show.
Toyota has however confirmed an unveiling in time for the 2012 model year, and the company's Australian arm has promised a 2012 local debut.
Golf GTI-rivalling Lexus CT 200h
That could soon change, with reports out of the UK pointing to plans for a much faster version of the CT. Details are sketchy for now, but for Lexus, a quick CT could be just what the doctor ordered.
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