From the Cohort by William Oliver
More on this generation Celica GT
Always admired these – made the Capri look a bit a dull.
Preferable with a full set of (Euro spec) headlights though
Ouch! I hope parts are not too hard to come by so that front end damage can be fixed.
I have the headlight bucket and turn signal (both sides) for that car. Really, I do.
I still remember my positive impression of these when I was called upon to test drive one for a friend about 1985 because it had been recommended to him but he couldn’t drive a stick. It was maybe a 1980 as I remember, and a high-trim car. I could immediately see why they were popular. I always liked the styling on these, too.
I believe that the round headlights make this either a 1979 or ’80.
‘79 was the last year for the round lights over here on these.
The “GT” emblem on the grille and “Liftback” on the B pillar identify this as a ’78. The 1979s had “Toyota” and “Celica” badges in those locations respectively.
All Supras of this generation got the quad rectangular lights, but only 80-81 for standard Celicas.
I was working as parts manager for a Canadian Toyota dealer back in the day, and had several of these as “demos”. They were great cars, and sold like crazy! I remember the coupes being a bit quieter than the liftbacks, and these RA42’s were a nice improvement over the earlier 76-77 RA29’s.
That body style was 1978-81. My mom had a 1977 and it was a 1st gen.
Love these. I believe a ’79 was the first Japanese car I ever rode in. Quite a contrast to my moms Duster. They are all long gone around here. I don’t think I have seen one in 20 years.
These made the Chevy Monza, the Mustang II and the redesigned ’79 Mustangs look sick. They stole quite a few buyers away from the Camaro, too. Sad how there aren’t many left.
When I was a kid, the original Celica was my favorite Japanese car, I liked the look (and had never seen a 240Z in Greece).
I liked this version a lot too. And this was an improved car over the original Celica, which itself has some changes to the front suspension or steering for 74 or 75. But those cars had the battering ram 5-mph bumpers, unlike the much nicer looking original
As Adam noted above, this is the 78-81 body style. 78-79 had the round headlights (which I prefer)
I like the coupe more than the liftback, but from 1978-81, this was arguably the best 4-cylinder sport coupe you could buy. Given a choice, I’d take a Scirocco with the fuel injected 1.6 liter and 5-speed…but that only covered 1980 and 81.
I looked at the Celica and loved the styling…for a Japanese car it was revolutionary….After it was the first car Toyota had designed at their new CALTY design center in California
I ended up buying a 1980 Scirocco instead…More expensive but at the time the best performing small car on the market…I now own an 81 Scirocco S
A Toyota of the era without a twin cam under the bonnet should not have been called a GT.
Did Toyota have twin cams then?
At least in the US, the first Toyota I recall with a twin cam was in the Celica body that replaced this one–specifically the Supra version of the 1982 Celica, another terrific-looking car (in fastback/hatchback mode..the coupe was…ugghhh).
The 1982 Supra had an in-line six (DOHC if I recall correctly), and was another burst of light signifying he dawn of a great new era and the end of the darkness of the ‘malaise’ era.
This variant of the Celica also had rectangular headlamp Supra variant, with a in-line six. Not sure if it was a DOHC motor. Car and Driver felt it was more like a Japanese “Monte Carlo”, aka personal luxury (or ersatz luxury) than a Japanese 633i.
Were there any Toyota twin cam motors offered in the US before that?
..burst of light… in my mind, I associate the 82 Fox-body Ford Mustang GT, the 83 (albeit heavier down 20 hp compared the emissions control-free, small bumper German version) Rabbit GTI , and 82 Supra as launching the performance revival. Yes, the Rabbit came after the other two…but to me, dreaming of what car I would want to buy, all three were ‘exciting’ cars. The Supra was certainly the ‘best’ of the three, but it was too expensive for me. The Rabbit was viable……and when I finally had the means, I bought the car that replaced it the (Golf) GTI
Toyota had some twin cams back in the late sixties, but I think they were confined to the home market. I remember reading a report of a twin-cam Corona Mark II Ken Hougham the head of AMI (who used to assemble Toyotas in Australia) had brought in for his own use – you could do that sort of thing back then. Quite a contrast to the pushrod plodders with their chuffing exhaust note they sold here back in those days!
I always thought that this was a good car with a very feminine design, very soft and round. Toyota really attracted female buyers with their Celica, didn’t they? It is as though Toyota saw the “secretary’s” market that was being captured by the 6 cylinder pony cars and made the Celica the secretary’s car from Toyota. The Celica got to be so successful with the girls, they spun off the 8 cylinder Supra for the guys.
Mustangs for guys, Probes for girls.
Camaros for guys, Monzas for girls.
Supras for guys, Celicas for girls.
this model what’s 78 through 81. 78 + 79 had round headlights 80 + 81 has Square headlights I had a 78 left back as I remember it was pretty gutless. Headed 73 Coupe before that more power had an 84 GTS after that great car for the past 26 years I’ve owned a 93 MR2 Turbo. Toyotas are great cars.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2021 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.