At $3,800, Could This 1982 Toyota Celica Liftback Lift Your Spirits?

Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

When Toyota first introduced its Celica, the car was on obvious homage to Ford’s Mustang. When the third generation came around, as exemplified by today’s Nice Price or No Dice Liftback, the Celica had long gone its own way. Let’s see if this one’s price has it going your way.


The tip for yesterday’s 1995 Chevy Corvette Z07 came to me from the car’s present owner. I don’t usually like to post such self-promoted cars, but looking at that big black American sports car, I found myself duly impressed by both its description and its price. Many of you were just as enamored, earning the car a solid 77% Nice Price win and a rare bit of my going against my own rules.

That ‘Vette was the first big win we’ve had in a few days. Let’s see if we can make it a streak with this 1982 Toyota Celica Liftback.

So, this being election season, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from celebrities touting this candidate or that—and always asking for money. Just now I received an email that was purported to come from soft rocker James Taylor. My initial thought upon receiving it was, “Is that guy still alive?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Carly Simon’s ex is not my go-to artist when it comes to musical entertainment—my wife, yes, but not me. I’m more a Death Valley Girls or Heron Oblivion kind of guy.

Still, I acknowledge Mr. Taylor’s one-time popularity and find it a bit humorous that it was seen as necessary to use what was obvioulsy an older or at least heavily retouched photo of him in the email. I guess even one-time popularity can’t save you from the ravages of time or peoples’ memories.


That, of course, brings us back to this Toyota which, just so happens was also pretty popular back in the day. The small Japanese sporty car—e.g. mini-pony car—was, up until the 1990s, a ubiquitous sight on America’s roads, driveways, and motor court parking lots. Then came the SUV and ensuing crossover craze and today hardly a single one still exists for you to buy new.


This Celica hails from even before Toyota made the wholesale transition to FWD and shares much of its underpants and its 2R engine with the contemporary Carina sedan. This was the third generation of Celica to hit the market and the second to sprout a six-cylinder Supra side-gig.


This Brown over… well, more brown ’82 is a pre-facelift edition and hence has pop-up lights that are exposed all the time. The later editions of the model hid the lights when retracted, but this design had the lights looking skyward when not in use. This was supposed to emulate the look of Porsche’s 928 but to me they always looked more like one of those weird-ass flatworms with the eyes on the top of their head.

Despite my personal misgivings regarding the lights, this Liftback looks to otherwise be in excellent shape for its age. The paint appears to hold a shine and is accented by both period-correct louvers on the rear hatch and some snazzy pin-striping on the flanks and hood. Handsome factory alloys underpin.


The hits just keep on coming when you open the door. Now admittedly, ‘80s Toyotas have a reputation for holding up over time, but this 100K car looks far better inside than it has any right to. The striped upholstery is intact and without major issue, as is seeming all the plastic trim. It’s all as angular and as ‘80s as you could imagine, but that’s part of the car’s charm.


The 2399 cc SOHC four under the hood gives it up to the tune of 109 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. That’s matched with a five-speed manual, operated via a tall stick with a cue ball for a shift knob. This will not be a quick car, but it should prove reasonably fun nonetheless.

The ad gives no indication of the car’s mechanical condition, but there’s honestly not a lot to go wrong here. And, this being a Toyota of a certain age, there’s not much likelihood of the stuff that’s there ever failing.


The car comes with a clear title and the seller’s description that it’s 7/10 outside and 9.5/10 on the interior. Those are pretty high numbers. Fortunately, the $3,800 asking price isn’t. That’s not to say, however, that it’s right for the car. We’re just going to have to figure that bit out.


What do you think, is this well preserved Celica from the days when James Taylor didn’t need Photoshop a deal at that $3,800 asking? Or, is that price just too much for you to <3 the ‘80s?

You decide!


Facebook Marketplace out of Indianapolis, IN, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Bork for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.


Richard Dawson's Ghost

So... that’s my car. Sold it about two years ago. I daily drove it for about two years prior to that, but didn’t have anywhere to store it when I went to a newer car.

I paid less for it when I bought it at 78,000 miles, and sold it for less than he’s asking now. The radio doesn’t work, and he’s notably left out images of the rear hatch, which was developing serious rust. And for some reason he got rid of the original shifter, which is odd, because it was in fine shape.

The car was a barn find out of Texas, hence the low mileage, bought about eight years ago originally by a Celica/Supra collector in western Indiana. He cleared out his stuff and I picked it up at the time. It was a fun car for a while.

All told I have to say Nice Price because, ya know. My car.