Barn To Backyard: 1977 Toyota Celica GT

Jesse MortensenBy Jesse Mortensen

Many people have big dreams of discovering a barn find of their own. The idea may seem good, but sometimes the reality isn’t that pleasant. Rust, dirt, and mice droppings are not usually words associated with fun. Well, some of us will overlook those things because we enjoy the chase. When you do finally find a car though, make sure you are actually prepared to do something with it. Too many people drag out cars from their covered resting places only to stick them in the backyard. That seems to be what happened this poor Toyota that’s listed here on craigslist. Thanks goes to Mark H for the tip!

The seller mentions that they purchased this Celica from the original owner’s son a few years back. It was parked in a pole barn where it had sat for 9 years. There are photos of the car in the barn, but there are also a few of it sitting the backyard. Obviously the seller did not have a plan for what they were going to do with the car after they dragged it home. That’s a shame because these cars where not known for their rustproofing.

The new owner didn’t value the car enough to keep it inside, but they sure think it’s worth a lot now. Like the majority of sellers, they look at the value of perfect examples to determine the value of their basket case. It may very well be worth $15k when it’s fully restored, but how much is it going to take to get there? I don’t meant to be negative. This is a special car and I really hope someone saves it, but I want more sellers to be realistic when putting a price tag on their neglected classics.

Here it is sitting outside on blocks. Two of the wheels are missing and it obviously needs a lot of attention. These were fun little cars that were basically a Japanese Mustang. The mechanicals were taken from Toyota’s sedans, but the package was all wrapped up in a cool looking fastback body. I’m sure it was an exciting day when this car what pulled out of the barn, but sometimes the chase really is most exciting part of this process…

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Comments

  1. Josh

    How would you even go about restoring one of these? Are parts widely available? Even after a full restoration this is still a 70’s Celica.

    1+

    • RichS

      Nothing being reproduced so you’re left to chase down serviceable used or NOS parts, neither of which are cheap or easy to find these days.

      0

  2. P

    Value?

    I think the odds are better seeing Paul Lynde married.

    6+

  3. Jeff

    Not bad looking little cars but I am personally not much for ricers. Looks like it’s got some nice parts left like the body and glass. I think that parting it out it’s about all that’s left to do with it.

    0

  4. Mark m Member

    But how many 70 celiacs are around compared to mustangs and Camaros??

    0

    • Jay M

      Celica is the car.
      Celiac is a bowel disease.

      This car is both.

      10+

  5. T Mel

    I love it when a seller says, “one owner” and then tells how the original owner past the car down to a relative (making it a two owner), and then the seller/current owner buys it from that person (thus becoming third owner), but it’s still a “one owner” car. Get real ppl, only dealers not required to register their inventory can legally be considered a non-owner. Everyone else, flippers, beneficiaries, speculators, temporary dreamers, rebuilders, even dealers that are required to register each vehicle in their name are legal owners.

    8+

    • Jay M

      Yep. I’d rather have a mint car with 20 previous owners than a neglected one owner car.
      “One owner” is one of the most over used descriptions that is supposed to magically increase a cars value, or somehow offset rust and damage.
      Other gems are:
      Lady driven.
      Mechanic owned.
      Executive driven.
      Worth huge $$ when restored.
      Light frame damage.
      Minor engine knock.
      Minor fire/smoke damage.
      Small hail damage.
      Misplaced VIN tag.
      Easy restoration.
      Salvage title due to minor_______

      14+

      • Oingo

        Agreed to a point the one owner in my mind allows me to determine the service history, where it has been kept, what kind of miles does it have etc. A vehicle with 20 owners is suspect for the fact that it was not kept long and that the history is not known.

        0

      • Troyce

        Running when parked (or new)
        Needs TLC

        0

  6. Steve R

    It might be special if it were a garage kept low mileage cream puff that granny only drove to church until she was put in a home.

    It’s a used up, practically abandoned, soon to be parts car. As it sits I’d say it’s worth $500, maybe $1000 on a very good day.

    The seller is a joke.

    Steve R

    6+

  7. Howard A Member

    I agree, pretty wasted. These have to be nice for any appeal. Shame, it was a nice car once. You’d be better off restoring the the Plymouth wagon with the holes in it.

    3+

  8. jdjonesdr

    I really like these Toyotas.. This one… not so much.

    Anybody notice how the seller took pictures of all sides of the car except the right front fender, where the beam is resting on the fender in the first picture?

    1+

  9. Nova Scotian

    Had a pal back in college owned one. Same colour, and he blew by everything possible back then. He was crazy nuts! I remembered flying going 180plus kms down side roads (110mph) in this tin can! Maybe I was a little stupid back then too! LOL! (Have picture in my college scrap book of needle pegging this speed. WILD (and a bit dumb ass).

    1+

  10. RichS

    Owned a yellow ’77 5 speed car back in the day. Maybe asking price if it was a fairly decent running and driving example, but this thing with a slushbox, missing parts, NO title and condition?

    Take that last digit off the asking price. It’s a parts car at best.

    1+

  11. Steve

    Parts car. I still kick myself for selling the original decals and red paint 5 speed 76 Celica GT with 77k miles about 15 yrs ago. I had no idea there was any “collectability”. I only paid $500 for it, and was shed kept since new. P.O. parked it due to front suspension being worn out from driving on bad gravel roads. Carb needed rebuilding after sitting a few years. One rust spot on hatch the size of your little finger. (AC even worked). Only other work required was a new water pump. It all started when my neighbor moved and left a 76 or 77 gt that ran but had no title (making it a parts car) and roached interior but no dents or rust, just bad paint.It also had 15″ alloy wheels and decent radial tires off a newer celica. It ran and drove good, though. I saw the other car in a guy’s shed with a ton of dust on it, and figured I could buy it if it had a title. After swapping six or eight bolts I swapped the whole front suspension out the whole front cross members between the cars! I also swapped the wheels/ tires. It was a fun car. It broke down on me once (overheated), which necessitated the new water pump, and I guess I got greedy when someone at a gas station offered me $2k for it. Isaid i would sell it for $3k, thinking they would balk, but he said OK. Should have held out for more. Worth at least twice that now.

    2+

  12. Gavin

    I dated a girl in high school that had one of these, it was a fun little car. my sister bought a 78 that was fun to drive, but I didn’t like the body style as well. This body isn’t terrible, and if you don’t stress over “stock” the mechanicals should fit from any Celica up to 85. It certainly isn’t worth the price, though, $1500-2500 is probably fair for o e needing that much work.

    0

  13. audifan

    Interesting car until the owner mentioned he would take firearms as a trade. No thank you, not interested anymore.

    0

  14. PAPERBKWRITER

    Flipper probably ponied up 4 crisp hundred dollar bills for this. It would take a small fortune to save this car with the obvious, and then the unknowns.

    0

  15. John C Cargill

    Rust? I had a 1973 Celica beater in the mid-80s. Ran great, didn’t have too much outer rust. Very durable for a $600 car, Finally at well over 150,000 miles the original clutch went. I bought a clutch kit from Toyota and put the car in the air. I put a socket and ratchet on the first nut on the trans cross member and It turned and fell out along with the bolt and a shower of rust. There was nothing left to hold the trans cross member up but rust and habit. I sold it for parts. Too bad it was fun.

    1+

  16. donaldjones

    having owned this same car a mint choclate brown 4cyl 5speed , i handed down to my son who was at that time in college to busy to check the oil , in so much it lasted a short time,seems they all leaked oil ,great looking car resembling a mustang but smaller , donaldjones@fuse.net

    0

  17. jody

    No title = $500 parts car.

    0

  18. John Taylor

    Tell him he is dreaming, $500 and that is only because they don’t have a bad gear box, oh no hang on it’s an Auto so unless you were crazy over that $250.00, it is not even the desirable twin cam engine and the same one that came out in the Corona as it was called down here, I am being generous at $500.00. Would I want to own that, nah I think a hit in the head would be better at least the pain from that would be gone in a couple of days.

    0

  19. Will

    It looks decently rust free, and here’s the saved ad http://www.craigslistadsaver.com/view.php?name=1977ToyotaCelicaGT

    0

  20. P Wentzell

    Like Joh Cargill, I bought a 1972 Celica GT beater (from a friend) also in the mid 1980’s. The car looked awful but it ran well, it was a blast to drive (5 speed), the air blew cold and the clock even worked! It developed a weird vapor lock, but an easy fix (18RC engine). Loads O’ character, a few Celica owners in the area wanted the car for parts whenever I wanted to sell it. I noticed this featured car has a not-too-out-of-date Georgia license plate – I wonder why it was put away.

    0

  21. cudaman

    Car SOLD for $2500.00!!!!!!!!

    0

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