No conversation about Japanese classic cars is complete without a mention of the Toyota Celica. The Celica nameplate, though retired since 2006, lived for seven generations and 36 years, making it one of the most widely recognized and historically significant cars from that era and part of the world.
The Pick of the Day is a remarkably original, unrestored 1983 Toyota Celica GT with only 48,000 miles on the odometer. It seems fitting that this Celica is shown in a shade of blue that nearly identically matches the sky in the photographs, since the word “Celica” is of Latin origin and means “heavenly” or “celestial.”
When the Celica launched in the early 1970s, it targeted the U.S. market by emphasizing styling and driving enjoyment in a similar fashion that the Ford Mustang had just a few years prior. The Celica was based on the Toyota Carina sedan, but it was configured as a hardtop coupe.
By the time the third generation rolled out at the end of 1981, the car’s design had evolved by giving it an aerodynamic wedge nose and either notchback or liftback rear ends. The more popular arrangement was the liftback, as shown in this nice-looking example. Over time, the Celica developed a reputation for being a sports car – eventually paving the way for the Supra in 1986, which initially was a Celica at its core.
The seller in NoHo Arts District, California, advertising the Celica on ClassicCars.com describes it as a “survivor class vehicle.” The originality is retained throughout, from the metallic blue paint to the matching blue-cloth interior. Its mechanical condition is in a similar preserved state, with new Toyo tires and a recent successful California smog check, the seller says.
The 2.4-liter “22R-E” 4-cylinder engine is one of Toyota’s most-ubiquitous powerplants, known for dependability and planted in a variety of different models, including the Toyota pickup, Corona and 4Runner. The seller notes that everything on the car works, including cold air conditioning which is an important necessity in some regions this time of year.
Worth noting is that this generation of Celica was the last to be rear-wheel-drive, as the subsequent body style went through a full redesign and platform change. Purists who prefer RWD handling dynamics definitely will want to give this one a closer look, as sub-50,000-mile third-generation Celicas are becoming rarer by the day.
The seller has an asking price of just $8,995.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.