Cars like today’s Nice Price or No Dice Celica used to be common as a cold in the U.S., but then the SUV became the thing to have. Let’s see if this seemingly well-preserved coupe has a price that will ensure its future preservation.
Mythology tells us that Helen of Troy was so damn good-looking that she could drive men to war. Hers was said to be the “face that launched one thousand ships.” BMW is currently doing its part to ensure world peace by giving its mid-sized coupe — these days called the M4 — a big-grille face that no one will ever feel the need to do battle over.
Fortunately for those unexcited about the styling tropes of BMW’s current lineup, there are plenty of older models around, like the handsome 1995 M3 coupe we looked at yesterday. That car carried under 100K on the clock and a replacement engine beneath its bonnet. Those factors were outweighed by its $19,500 asking price and not even a pretty face could save the car from its fate of an 85 percent No Dice loss.
Back in the 1980s, Ford used the BMW 3 series as the benchmark for the performance standards of the company’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) Mustang. A little over a decade earlier, Toyota had used the Mustang itself as its model for a small sporty coupe it would call the Celica.
This 1981 Celica GT hails from the model’s second generation and while it still hews closely to the pony car edicts, its styling owes far less to Ford’s Mustang. This was the first production design to come out of CALTY, Toyota’s Newport Beach, California design and research center. Just as with the previous model, the refreshed Celica was offered in two body styles — a two-door coupe like this yellow car, and a three-door hatchback. The latter of those would serve as the basis for the first Supra.
Seemingly, this one has only been used sparingly over the past 40 years as it sports a mere 32,000 miles on its odometer. The car is offered on Facebook Marketplace, a venue that offers very limited opportunities for descriptive copy, and frustratingly, the seller has chosen to eschew even that minimal opportunity. As a result, all we get is the mileage, that it has a five-speed stick and that it comes with a clean title. At least there are lots of pictures.
From those, we can see that the paint appears to be original with no overspray evident and the same color showing up in the engine bay. There look to be no major bodywork issues, and the factory alloys seem to have held up well. These cars do carry the blight of big black rubber bumpers on both ends. The surface of those tends to break down in the sun and unless properly maintained will leave streaks on any pant-leg that brushes up against them.
The yellow paint is complemented by a black and gray interior with classy houndstooth cloth on the seats and door card inserts. The dash features a full complement of gauges and the factory radio. I’m not sure what those red stickers are on the ashtray and center console, but I’m pretty sure those aren’t original. Also, the upside-down icon on the left horn button is making my eye twitch. I know that’s the result of Toyota pinching pennies and using the same button right and left, but that doesn’t have to mean I like it.
Popping the hood presents us with a very clean engine bay. That’s occupied by Toyota’s stalwart 2.4 liter 22R four. That made 97 horsepower this model year and was pretty economical both on fuel and maintenance. This one sports what looks to be an aftermarket carburetor and one of those tiny hat air cleaners. The intake heater tube is no longer functional as a result and that may cause the car to fail emissions tests if a visual inspection is required. Do your due diligence prior to purchase.
To actually purchase this classic Celica, you need to come up with $6,000. That sounds like an expensive ticket to Radwood, but then an old Toyota isn’t going to cost you much in the long run so factor that into your decision-making process.
What do you think, is this low-mileage Celica worth that $6,000 asking as it sits? Or, is that just too much considering that annoying horn button?
H/T to MoreEqualAnimal for the hookup!
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