And no, it isn't a clever marketing tactic for the new one.
The 2021 Toyota GR Supra might be stealing hearts and dollars with its new 2.0T and upgraded 3.0T engines for 2021, but deep in the heart of the SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco lies a time portal tribute to the old Supra that only die-hard gearheads and fine artists will be able to spot and appreciate. Located atop an old two-story warehouse, this piece of automotive history has withstood the test of time, and it features a 1993 Toyota Supra. Enough said.
What we're talking about is the now internet-famous billboard which for a fleeting moment once or twice a year reveals a classic 90s advert for a fourth-generation A80 Supra. We all know the one: the model that was made famous by movies like the Fast and Furious franchise as well as tuners who eked out more than 1,000 horsepower from the 2JZ engine with ease. But why, 27 years later, is this billboard still visible?
This oddity that has evaded the ceaseless expansion and constant change of a hip and happening San Fransisco neighborhood, but nearly thirty years after it first went public, we now have some answers as to why the billboard is still visible to this day, and why it's likely to stay where it is for many, many years to come. The reason, as it turns out, is more interesting than you think and makes this story all the weirder.
What many have come to know as the Salesforce billboard is now owned by billboard and display ad company Clear Channel Outdoor, and the regional president, Bob Schmitt, holds the secret as to why this decades-old ad can still be seen from the U.S. Highway 101 on rare occasions.
According to Schmitt, the ad was the last to be hand-painted, before the rise of the printed vinyl sheet. The thought that an artist painstakingly painted a 1993 Toyota Supra on such a scale makes us feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, and we wonder if future generations will ever find a billboard of a 2020 Toyota Corolla on some lonesome highway.
Instead of painting over the ad at great cost, Schmitt says that his company simply pastes new vinyl ads over it. What that means is that there's only a window of around two hours, or six non-consecutive hours a year to spot this fascinating piece of automobilia. The reason it has held up so well? It never gets a touch of air or sunlight to blight the detailed paintwork. It took until about five months ago for this gem to be rediscovered and it has since become a legend in its own right.