Americans may have invented the pony car, but that didn't stop Toyota from making one of their own. While Nice Price or Crack Pipe loves us some Celica, this flamer may take some getting used to.
When introduced to the U.S. In 1971, the Toyota Celica made a splash, albeit less of a one than did the Datsun 240Z a couple of years earlier. The Corona-based Celica lacked an IRS or a smooth-revving straight six, and instead of competing with the likes of European sports cars, it brought a fuel-efficient, four cylinder sensibility to the waning days of the pony car market. By the early ‘70s, the short-lived golden age of the pony car was at an end, having been driven to emasculation by the three horsemen of the first carpocalypse- insurance, pollution controls, and the gas crisis.
The original Celica was capped, front and rear, by Mustang-esque curved bumpers, and the thin-B, heavy-C pillar roofline also drew influence from the American personal coupes. Where Toyota strayed from the recipe was in size- both overall and engine, as the Celica was almost 18 inches shorter than even the original '65 Mustang, and its choice of 1600 or 2000-cc SOHC engines would never have found favor under the hoods of the true American ponies of the era.
By 1977 when this GT liftback was built, the first gen Celica was looking somewhat long in the tooth, and the car was refreshed the very next year with new coupe and hatch models. Short-lived in the U.S., and hence one of the more rare Toyota cars, the liftback model doubled the cargo area, and, for better or worse, made the car look even more like the iconic Stang.
This one, in flame orange - or red - depending on who you choose to believe, sports an un-modified 20R and the steel-case W50 five speed. Period-correct rear window louvers will make the ladies swoon, and you can choose between the currently mounted alloys and the righteous steelies as the car comes with both. The seller says a previous owner yanked the A/C belt to "improve mileage" showing that one or more of them doesn't understand how a car's A/C works. By now, the system is likely toast, and you'd probably need to replace the compressor and accumulator at the very least. Add to that a mysterious coolant light on the overhead panel and there is some concern about what it would cost to keep this mini muscle car on the road.
You also might want to give thought to replacing some of the interior accessories as they together represent a theme that could best be described as Flaming Moe. As the car, externally, belies any indication of the interior mods, opening the door is like lifting Megan Fox's skirt to find that underneath she has a clown-painted, conjoined twin that's built like Janet Reno. The flame mats- front and rear, center console, pedals and seat covers may make you crave Carl's Jr burgers, but don't do anything for the looks.
Despite the Autozonalia, the car looks to be in good shape, and the black interior still looks to be mostly one color, rather than the rainbow shades of beige that many ‘70s Japanese car interiors have become due the sun and the use of different mixtures of dead dinosaur in the plastics. That and the re-spray on the outside make this a good looking 32 year old, despite the Kingsford ad that the interior has become. Add to that the fact that it comes with a hatch full of extra original parts and you've got yourself a flaming deal.
Or do you?
After all, all that will set you back $6,200. . .
For a Toyota.
Now, don't think that I'm hating on Toyota here, it's just that there's a mess of them out there, and if you weren't to buy this one, another would come along pretty soon - and probably with more tasteful Yosemite Sam "Mah Biscuits are Burning" floor mats.
So what do you think about this flamin' Celica for $6,200? Is that a price that lights your fire? Or, does that price make it just a candle in the wind?
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