Curbside Memories: 1985 Toyota Celica GT-S – The Good, The Bad, The Facts Of Life

1985 Toyota Celica GT-S

Los Angeles, California, USA, 1985 – That’s the place and year I earned my driver’s license.  As a 10th-11th grader, life was more than a little angst-filled.  Little things were deemed hugely important, and genuine hugely important things got blown off.  The future was vast, the future was unclear, the future was scary, the future was filled with promise.  Some of that promise was kept, some was not.

And there was the car.  The single most important thing in the life of an adolescent boy as it could supposedly help you procure the next most important thing in the life of an adolescent boy.  Some cars jog the memories, some bring a flood of them.  This car does that for me.  I never owned one of these, I always wanted one, I pined for one, I still swoon a little when I (too rarely) see one.  And this particular one, to me, is perfection.  After two years of catching small glimpses of it around town I finally found it stationary one recent evening, but with far too many people around to get many pictures so a small selection will have to work hard, as it continues to tease me.  It could be an ’84, but I think it’s an ’85.

1985 Toyota Celica GT-S

Memories of 1985.  In no particular order – Less than Zero (the Bret Easton Ellis book), Cheers, Simple Minds, Swatch, LiveAid, That haunting cover of National Geographic with the Afghan girl, Wine Coolers, Helen Slater, St. Elmo’s Fire, New Coke, more Ronald Reagan…

The Celica was pretty much Japan’s version of the Mustang, this third generation being introduced for 1982 and carrying the Supra as a derivative of it as well; after this generation though diverging the Supra in a different direction.  Or rather, diverging the Celica to a FWD platform instead.  This car here is the ultimate expression of the 3rd gen Celica in the U.S. with the wider fenders, pop-up (rather than pop-out, both were offered during the run) headlights, wider wheels and tires, independent rear suspension, and here appropriately shod with the same BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires I believe it was offered with when new.

1985 Toyota Celica GT-S

More memories – Aqua Net, Shoulder pads, Ray-Ban Wayfarers, John Hughes, In-N-Out, SATs, Answering machines with rock songs as the outgoing message, First concert (Thompson Twins/O.M.D./The Models), KROQ, Ralph Lauren Polo, Long permed hair, Body-boarding, Teen Wolf…

The rear louvers are perfection here and linked inextricably to this decade with several cars frequently seen sporting the look.  While every other car on the road is gray with black trim today, it’s that way for a reason, it looks good (if now perhaps just seen too often).  This Celica is ready to cruise down Ventura Boulevard from DeSoto to The Sherman Oaks Galleria and back over and over again just like we did back in the day.  Gas was cheap.  Music was good.  Girls were fun.  Windows were open.  Summer nights were hot.

1985 Toyota Celica GT-S

Christiane F., The Cars, The Breakfast Club, Guess Jeans, Family Ties, Lots of MTV, Car & Driver, Moonlighting, First real job, Billy Crystal, Sony Walkman, Private telephone line, Passing notes, Lockers, Gummy bracelets, Israeli paratrooper bags, The Brat Pack…

I did drive a few, most memorably one night along Mulholland Drive with my best friend and two girls we met at some kind of dance event at Valley College later that year, they didn’t want to drive but wanted to go somewhere with us so gave me the keys.  Stick shift, the square-centered steering wheel, the 2.4liter 22R-EC with the torque delivery of a truck but a fire in the belly of it and those oh-so-supportive seats in the GT-S model.  I kept it tame, but thoroughly enjoyed the solid engagement of the clutch, the feel of a (then-newish) car responding through still-firm rubber suspension bits and good tires.

1985 Toyota Celica GT-S

Close friends, Dates, Love/Infatuation, ATM cards, K-Swiss shoes, Giant barettes, Turbochargers, Girls wearing Obsession, AIDS, Finding college parties, Mask (filmed at my high school), Ozone layer, Traffic school, Tower 6 at Zuma Beach, Betamax…

There were a few in my large high school parking lot, generally bought new for the richer Sweet 16’s, some in convertible form, and a few of the jocks had them too, though they usually not for too long until some overzealousness caused the demise of the car.  1986 brought a new Celica, FWD and somewhat more potent with more finesse to the chassis, but not really the rock solid feel that these here imbued.  The era was ending, the weather was changing, the skies colorful, then dark with the neon lights adding color back into the night.  Soon college would loom, more change, new locations, as well as the near-term and also more distant future with the promises made and sometimes but not always kept.  But this car?  It hasn’t changed.  It still is and always will be perfect 1985 for me.