For too many years, conventional car-guy wisdom determined that Japanese cars would never rise to the level of collectability, and that the late 1970s and ’80s were wastelands of forgettable vehicles.
The Pick of the Day is yet another Japanese car from the era that challenges that mindset: a 1979 Toyota Celica Supra liftback that is a rare survivor of the disco days. And it could have a future as a bona fide classic car.
If you doubt that, think of the Datsun 240Z sport coupes that are starting to pick up steam in the collector-car marketplace. Or further out there, the million-dollar sales of limited-production Toyota 2000GTs, or the Mazda Cosmos that are changing hands at around $250,000. Even the scant number of funky Japanese compacts that remain from the ’70s, Corollas and such, are finding an audience among young people.
With just 67,000 miles on its odometer and in apparently original, rust-free condition aside from an apparent repaint to the original color, the Celica Supra is advertised on ClassicCars.com for just $12,500. The upscale six-cylinder version of the Celica was a desirable GT car in its day, and they were nicely finished cars designed to attract sport/luxury drivers.
Speaking of funky, this first-gen model of the Celica Supra also has a major helping of retro charm. The Supra reveals its’70s roots with a “burgundy maroon vinyl” interior that should go well with your bell bottoms and platform loafers.
The photos are not the best in the listing by a Massachusetts classic car dealer, but at least you can see that the Supra seems to be in remarkably good condition for an unrestored original.
The car, which is located in Lyon, Illinois, is equipped with the desirable five-speed manual transmission and is finished in silver (the dealer notes that it looks blue in the photos) with a contrasting black roof.
“Overall, this car is in very good condition,” the seller says in the listing. “The exterior looks good, the interior is in good condition, under the car she is in good shape and mechanically it runs and drives nicely.”
There is one caveat, however. The dealer says that the Supra has been off the road for some years and while it runs and drives, it needs a thorough fuel-system cleaning. At least.
Most of the Toyota Supras getting attention from young drivers these days are the later-generation performance models that are turned into showy sport-compact customs or “tuned” for drifting competitions. But this first-year Celica Supra has more appeal and value in stock condition and, hopefully, the buyer will appreciate the originality of a special car from a weird automotive time.
And if preserved as a survivor, that could pay off in its collector car future.