The original Celica may not have had the sex appeal of Toyota's previous sport coupe, the 2000 GT, but it was a hell of a lot more accessible. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '73 coupe has an 18RG evolutionarily derived from the 2000 GT's DOHC six, but will its price make you say GTFO?
While Japan's legendary Samurai lived by the Bushido Code - a set of rules meaning The Way of the Warrior Knight, you found the price of yesterday's 13B-powered Suzuki Samurai to be full of Bull-shido, and it went down in a 77% Crack Pipe loss. That was even despite the distraction of a platinum blond bikini-clad model who, by the way, was forced to suffer affronts to her moral standing just for posing in the swim suit and high heels.
This is why we can't have nice things.
No bikinis today, just what appears to be a nice thing in the form of a 1973 Toyota Celica. And it'll be up to you to say whether is price is deserving of a dressing down. Historically, Celicas can be broken down into two categories - rear wheel drive mini-pony cars and front wheel drive white flags to past potential. Yeah sure, there were some all wheel drive rally-bred editions of the later front-drivers, but for the most part the switch from pusher to puller turned Toyota's mini-pony into a gelding.
This Limbaugh-insult red ‘73 represents from the first generation of the rear-drivers, and its Carina-based platform represents the Japanese pony in its purest form. Keeping the nose off the pavement is a suspension well versed in that Scottish dance known as the MacPherson strut, while the same duties in back are handled by a 4-link mounted live axle. Disc front/drum rear brakes offer little drama when stopping, as does its recirculating ball steering in changing directions.
When this U.S.-spec Celica left Toyota City, it was powered by the company's rock solid 18R-C SOHC four cylinder. If that 97-bhp mill were still underhood, there wouldn't be much debate about this Celica's price, because really, while nice, that's not all that unique. Instead, this car has been anointed with one of Toyota's rare expeditions outside of the land of bland. Based on the long serving R (or Arrr, in Pirate) bottom end, the 18R-G gained a DOHC head capping its 1,968-ccs of displacement. Depending on the engine, that head could have been designed by Toyota or perhaps Yamaha, leveraging the work that company did in the creation of the 2000GT's jewel-like six. The R-G was built between 1973 and 1982 in various guises, and was dropped into a number of Toyota's non-U.S. products. Horsepower ratings for the engine have been all over the place during its lifespan, but typically they run about 140, or a hearty 40% increase from the 18R-C.
This one has a set of what look like 40 DCOEs and has its extraction duties handled by a header that's totally tubular. Above all of that is a strut tower cross brace, while external mods include a prominent air dam under the front bumper and Panasport (or their clone) wheels. The car is being offered in North Hollywood which, while the Porn capital of the world is not known for suffering oppressive fog, but in case it does the car has a mist-piercing additional brake light under its Mustang-esque rear bumper. It also has amber high beams to cut through the night and remind you that you have to take a leak.
Much like yesterday's Samurai, the ad for this Celica is short on description. Does it still sport the 5-speed stick ,or is there a joy-slaying slushbox behind that hot 18? Unlike Tuesday's truck, the seller hasn't included a scantily clad spokesmodel to fill in those blanks - or at least make you not care. But the ad does include the price, and a few pics that let you know the car at least appears on the outside to be in pretty nice shape. We'll just have to assume that the interior is as clean as the exterior. Not requiring assumption is the fact that as a pre-'75, this Celica's engine transplant will get a pass from the DMV in pretty much every state, including its current home, California.
The question is, will its price get by your critical eye? The seller is asking more than he's telling and at $9,350 this is one pricey 1st Gen Celica. But then the 18R-G is obviously where your money is going, and if you've ever heard one of those chortling at idle or with the taps fully opened then you'll know the sound is worth some kind of premium. What do you think, is there enough good here to add up to $9,350? Or, does that price make this a pony you wouldn't ride?