1976 brought not just the new Liftback version of the popular Celica, but all the Celicas had significant improvements, including a longer wheelbase, wider track, bigger and wider wheels and tires, among others. It was practically a whole new generation. And ride, handling and braking were all significantly improved, in areas where its predecessor had been a bit weak. The result was a better car overall.
There was a good Car & Driver article comparing the styling of the liftback Celica to a 3/4 scale 1969 Mustang fastback. In typical gonzo C&D style, the photos were complete with a guy wearing a Nixon mask in the car.
As to the car, itself, it went a very long way to establishing Toyota’s solid reputation in the US.
Yup! This Celica, the ’76 SR5 Corolla lift-back and the same year SR5 pick up truck cemented Toyota’s long term reputation of building high tolerance, reliable cars.
I wish Toyota still made these in exactly this model with updated emissions and safety. I wanted one so badly in school…
I have a 1991 toyota celica convertible she’s beautiful
The car I should have bought. ’76 was a watershed year for Japanese imports- the Corolla Liftback and the 1st Gen Accord appeared at the same time. From that time on, it was a “gloves off, take no prisoners” approach to the American can market.
I always liked the Celica. From 74 that I rode in (terribly cramped back seat as I recall) to the ’82 or so that a colleague at work had. I would think they could still sell a bunch of these if they still made them.
I think small sports coupes of this era (’71 to ’76) are the most beautiful from a design standpoint: Celica, Mercury Capri, Opel Manta, Chevy Vega, Alfa Romeo Veloce, Fiat Dino.
If only more automakers made something comparable nowadays.
“If only more automakers made something comparable nowadays”
This x 1,000,000,000.
Amazed that with people in general having smaller families or not getting married etc with the implication being that smaller cars and/or less doors are required, cars have gotten larger, not to mention the SUV craze.