In a variation of the CC Effect, Dave Skinner’s post on the Celica Sunchaser reminded me of this Celica Convertible I shot a couple of years ago in front of one of my rentals. Whereas the first was by Griffith, the second time around Toyota picked ASC, perhaps because the Griffith conversion wasn’t very high quality. And unlike the Sunchaser, which used a targa roof, this ASC conversion is a true convertible.
The Celica Convertible was only available on the high-line GT-S version, which added almost everything to make the Celica sportier except more actual power. The 2.4 L 22R-E did have fuel injection by this time, and power was up to 112 hp for 1985. But this was of course the same engine used in millions of Toyota pickups, and was all about torque and not about a sporty top end. And except for the plastic timing chain guides breaking, are of course legendarily durable.
200 of these Celica Convertibles were sold in 1984, and 4,248 in 1985; about twice as many as the Sunchaser. Needless to say, this one has been better kept up than the Sunchaser found by Dave in LA. The top looks to be of quite high quality fabric, and still in very good shape. And except for that plastic bag stuck in between the front and rear side windows, the convertible conversion seems to be all-round more durable. That probably explains why Toyota went with ASC the second time around.
Not a 3 pedaler so probably a girl’s car…the slushbox detracts from the sporty aspect of this particular Celica, and doesn’t help acceleration. Toyota automatics of the period were particularly sloppy.
That’s a stereotypical thing to say about automatics. I know at least two women who swear that they wouldn’t be caught dead driving something with only two pedals. 😉
My mom is a diehard row-your-own, since learning to drive at age 15 in Texas on her mom’s Bug (and later Peugeot)…and alternating with her pop’s slab side Lincoln …she can drive anything (and is quite the leadfoot).
Statistically, more women buy manual transmission cars because women make substantially less money than men and on cheaper cars, the extra $800 to $1,000 for an automatic is a non-trivial amount.
One of my sisters will only drive manuals – currently a Toyota Curren and a Mitsubishi L200. Our parents insisted we had to learn to drive in a manual car – for which we are thankful!
While I like the second generation Celica body styling (made famous as the first design out of Toyota’s CALTY Design studio in Southern California), the lines of this generation accept a convertible top much more gracefully. I’d take the keys to this red chariot in an instant!
Is it just the lighting or is the paint on the front fender and door slightly different than the rear fender? Maybe sloppy collision repair?
I think it’s just a sloppy repaint in general. I don’t seem to recall many Celicas of this generation with body color everything.
I have a hunch the front fender and door have recently been polished with rubbing polish or compound. Explaining why it’s brighter, cleaner and shinier… one panel at a time. Whereas the rear quarter panel is less glossy and contains years of worn in dirt and film, making it appear darker. Just a guess.
Plus these Pacific Northwest cars seem to get minimal UV rays, and don’t fade as severely as other areas.
Amazing how you manage to find so many obscure car models on the ground… years later. Especially when they were so rare when new. I haven’t seen this Celica since it was featured in the pages of Motor Trend at the time. I’d prefer a 5.0 litre Mustang convertible, but I’d be happy to have the keys to this one.
Always loved those ’83 Celica Supra wheels… though their look always subliminally reminded me of the German Air Force iron cross…
IMHO this gen Celica is the pinnacle of Japanese “sporty car” design. it looks equally good as a notchback, convertible, hatchback or Supra.
Does anyone know why Japanese car manufacturers put ute engines into “sports” cars for the USA? Toyota did it with the R-series instead of using the T in this model Celica, Nissan did it with the KA24 in the S13/S14 instead of using the CA18 or SR20…. why?
Take your pick of the following reasons:
1. Fewer engines to certify for US emission regulations.
2. Americans generally prefer bigger, torque-rich engines, along with automatics, A/C, power accessories, etc. They work better under those circumstances.
3. The Japanese model in the US was to limit the number of variants, so they could build fewer but more efficiently. That predicted the current market, where there are usually few engine choices.
I’m guessing #1 was probably a big motivator. In Japan, the Celica was available with a whole assortment of engines, not including the 22R or the 21R used in European Celicas. The only JDM powertrain that was offered in another federalized Toyota model was the 4A-GEU, which also went into the AE86 Corolla GT and MR2. (The Japanese Twin-Cam Turbo was sort of related to the engine in the outgoing U.S. Corolla sedan, but probably not enough to piggyback the EPA certification.)
Toyota could have offered the 4A-GEU in the Celica, but it’s possible that it fell victim to point #2. The federalized 4A-GEU had more power than the 22R, but had 25 percent less torque (and at much higher engine speeds) and would probably have cost more. Toyota’s U.S. organization may have decided that people would be leery of paying more for a significantly smaller engine that wouldn’t work as well with automatic.
Some car bodies look better as a convertible than others. This one translates into convertible especially well.
When my wife and I first started dating in ’90, she owned an ’85 Celica notchback. Although it was a slushbox, it was low milage (35K in ’90). not a great performer. But, in it, you could see why Toyota wiped the smile off the domestics’ face with regard to quality. After owning a series of Toyotas from then until the present, I believe Toyota learned more about how to cut corners than the domestics learned about quality and customer loyalty.
The convertible top certainly follows the notchback lines. Very handsome!
ASC is, I believe, the flock of bastards responsible for the headache that is my ’91 Celica GT vert. Not only did they go out of business, leaving a jillion parts inaccessible outside the lucky salvage yard find, they built a system that has tons of exposed plastic and allowed it to be sold in UV-mad Arizona. I will admit, that thing works flawlessly despite a torn cover/roof, and broken latches.
I would punch some adorable thing if someone would just supply me with the rollers for the driver’s side quarter window. Everything else I’ve scrounged up. FOr God’s sake, please!
The car itself is pretty fun for what it is: a $1k commuter with FWD.
Oddly enough, one of my neighbors has a black one. It’s in good shape, but the top is getting a big ragged. Lately, with the rainy season upon us, I see it with a tarp covering the top. It must be difficult to get a replacement top for such a low-volume car. If any of you want to see more, I posted a few pictures of it to the Cohort a few months ago.