At $8,000, Would You Drop The Hammer on This 1985 Toyota Celica GT-S Drop Top?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Summer will be here officially in just a few days, and what better way to celebrate its arrival than in a convertible like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Celica? Let’s find out if its price is worth celebrating as well.

Canadian provinces, as you might expect of such administrative creations, all have their own emblematic mottos. British Columbia’s is ‘Splendor Sine Occasu’ which in English means ‘Splendor without diminishment.’ 


Remarkably, that motto could also serve as an accurate descriptor of yesterday’s 1994 BMW 525tds Estate, which just so happened to be for sale in Vancouver, British Columbia’s largest city.

Well presented and seemingly without major flaw, that European émigré from Switzerland offered a lot to like, with a five-speed stick and what was promised to be a healthy turbodiesel inline six as coconspirators in its motivational efforts. Unfortunately, its $15,900 asking wasn’t seen as so splendid, and that caused the car to fall in a 58 percent Crack Pipe loss.

How do you feel about coupe to convertible conversions? I’m going to guess that when the job is done by someone in their backyard and involves a reciprocating saw you’re likely going to be on the side of the fence that disapproves of such hack work.


What, however, if the presto-chango was done in a factory, by a company that specializes not only in proper convertible conversions but also in understanding that such work requires appropriate chassis reinforcement, and which has the full factory a-okay to undertake the work? How would you feel in light of those revelations?

This 1984 Toyota Celica GT-S is just such a factory-sanctioned drop top, with the work done by a company called ASC, better known as American Sunroof Company.


Why would Toyota, one of the world’s largest and most accomplished car-builders employ a small, at the time Michigan-based modification house to build a convertible edition of their mini pony car?

Well, the deal is that development of the third-generation Celica had taken place in the late 1970s, and at that time there were rumblings that the American government was planning to enact new automotive rollover standards that would, in effect, make convertibles extinct.


That’s why cars like the Triumph TR7 originally came as only a coupe even though every one of of its predecessors had been roadsters. It also explains the huge gap in Corvette convertible production that spanned the 1978 through ’85 model years. By the end of the ‘70s it became apparent that no convertible killing safety standard was forthcoming and so manufacturers began the process of making drop tops out of closed coupes that had never been intended to go topless.


One such car was the Celica and this black on black on black GT-S appears to be one fine example. The process to convert a Celica coupe into a convertible started at Toyota’s factory in Japan where cars tagged for top-chopping would receive additional frame bracing during construction. Those cars would then be sent to a California factory owned by ASC where they would undergo a 27-step process to replace the steel roof with canvas. That hydraulically-actuated top was made able to be dropped into a well behind the narrowed rear seats and covered with a three-piece hard tonneau cover when retracted.


This one is claimed to come with a new top and sports a clear back window as evidence. When down, the tonneau covers it completely and is a respectable perch for parade wavers. The GT-S model, upon which all the convertibles were based, all came with fender flares and handsome alloy wheels, which this car still exhibits.

Power on the GT-S comes from from a 116 horsepower, SOHC 22RE four. That’s a fuel injected 2.4-litre, and according to the ad the computer that controls the engine has been re-flashed to take advantage of a better-breathing intake and exhaust for a bit more poop. That’s a good thing since the transmission here is a four-speed automatic.


Other demerits on the car include a door ding and the need for some new weatherstripping around the windows. The seller says it’s only driven between May and October and never in the rain. When it is on the road it adds to the 150,000 miles on the odometer. It should be noted here that for ‘80s Toyotas, that kind of mileage means the car is just getting broken in.


The title is clean and according to the ad the $8,000 price is firm. Well, we’ll just have to see about that. The current asking is $8,000, however that’s a reduction from $9,800 asked for the car just a couple of weeks back. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem very firm at all.


Let’s see if it’s at least firmly in the realm of possibilities. What do you think, is this fairly rare and fun in the sun Celica worth that $8,000 asking? Or, would you demand a drop in the price before you’d drop the top?

You decide!


Portland, OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to warvette for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

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