1976 Toyota Celica GT: Asian Muscle

celicagt

While the Japanese makes may not be as celebrated as some domestic iron on Barn Finds, I think we can all admit Toyota used to churn out some very attractive cars. I always likened examples like this 1976 Toyota Celica GT here on craigslist in Florida to a baby Camaro (heck, it was called the “Japanese Mustang” when introduced), what with its squared-off jaw line and aggressive haunches that always looked ready to ride. This particular car looks street-tough on the larger wheels from a later-model Supra, and the seller points out it has the desirable chrome bumpers and is a lifelong Southern car, escaping the cancerous rusts that attacks many older Japanese vehicles. Despite having an engine rebuild, the seller claims it could still use a tune-up – and for close to an $8K asking price, I’m dying to know why. Have any of you owned this generation ‘Yota? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Charles H for the find.

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Comments

  1. Rich

    Glad to see this on here. Just starting to pay attention to these and curious what others think of the value. Personally I think it’s on the high end here but this is a nice example despite the flaws. Maybe 5 or 6k is a more realistic price imho.

  2. RayT Member

    I’ve driven a fair number of Celicas; the first ironically, was a new ’76 I was considering as a replacement for my Mazda RX-3. Yes, they were reasonably attractive, reliable and well-built, but –with the exception of the later limited-production awd Turbo — pretty dull drivers.

    My guess is that the owner has a fair amount of money sunk into it, and wants it all returned. Maybe some California Celica addict would make a near offer, but I’m thinking the price is roughly double what it should be.

    Sadly, “old” and “in (relatively) good shape” don’t always mean “desirable.” I hope someone comes along and takes it; just won’t be me.

  3. George

    With the recent rise in prices for early Datsuns I have to imagine this one is going to skyrocket in the near future especially if Yoda comes out with a new Supra.

  4. Fred

    Had one in the early 80’s, not very sporting to drive since it is basically a Corona underneath. And fairly rust prone. Not sure where they are getting that asking price from, seems like $2 -3K to me.

  5. don

    Far from a classic Muscle car, and not worth the asking price.

  6. Chris in Nashville

    My grade school teacher drove one and I have always wanted one but price is out of reach of the present balance in my toy fund…

  7. JW454

    A very good friend remarried at 40 years old to a girl of 27. She came with a twin to this car. It seemed to run well and didn’t cause any problems for them. When they moved away for a better job they just left it sitting in front of the house where they lived. The plan was to come back and get it the next weekend but that never happened. I’m sure it was towed away eventually. It have have been 5~6 years old at the time.

  8. Paul from Australia

    In Australia current pricing for a genuine 1976 RA28 GT is approximately $30k AUD (approx 22k USD)
    Most tidy, rust-free examples of TA22, RA23 & RA28 fetch between 10k AUD and 20k AUD (7.5k USD – 15kUSD)
    So that one if it’s in excellent condition is extremely cheap by Australian standards.

  9. Dolphin Member

    Nice condition, but agree the asking is too high. A few Japanese cars have moved up in value, but so far this isn’t one of them, so it would have to be bought by someone who had a need for this particular model. Those people are probably very scarce.

    OTOH lots of people wanted a 240Z or some later Z car back then, and many still do. Same with the Toyota 2000GT, but not because the dentist down the street had one. Most people never saw a 2000GT in real life. I’ve seen exactly one, at a race shop in So Cal, but never driving on the road. No, it was because the 2000GT appeared on most car magazine covers when they were new, and were simply unobtanium for a just about everyone. That, and maybe also because Shelby raced them. All that helps make a car wanted today.

    That never happened to this Toyota and that’s why ‘cooking’ Toyotas like this car—as nice as it is—will never be in the same league, even if they do look a little bit like a small Mustang.

  10. Fran

    It always looked like a 1970 mustang to me, imagine if ford actually made that and called the Mustang ll

  11. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I always liked these fastbacks, but the closest to having one was a 1985 Celica GT-S hatchback I had, it was a peppy 22R engine 5 speed, and also had these wheels stock. The Supra would be the one to have with the straight 6, but the GT-S was fun to drive, they used the same body, but the Supra had a longer hood/front clip and pop up headlights. Some of the GT-S forum members have put V8’s in theirs, they also made some GT-S convertibles, which are forum favorites.

  12. Doug Towsley

    I had a relative who had one of these, she wanted me to paint it and I wanted nothing to do with working on a relatives car. I owed my Dad money and he forced the issue. I ended up painting it for her (back in mid 1990s) She loved that car, and kept it another 10 years or so. She expressed interest in another. Dunno about other parts of the US but these are dang near Un-obtain-ium around here. Finally found one literally sitting in a barn a few miles from my house, Spotted it on a MC ride on a back country road. Recognized the front end poking out. Stopped and talked to the owners. Despite being a remote area, they had a lot of offers and had no interest in selling. Finally relocated it to another part of the property to avoid all the door knockers and pickers. I have ZERO idea on values, but no lack of people wanting these.
    Back in the late 70s and early 1980s Every late teens or 20 something chick drove one of these it seemed. Im betting a LOT of nostalgia these days. I used to play in bands in the 80s and we wrote a song about it. “Bi##h’s in Toyota’s” Metal song in key of A. Typical teen misogynist metal tune. It was a catchy tune but oddly we couldnt get any airplay with it on local radio. Many years later, I worked at a place where there was a lady who drove one of these in pristine condition, Stuck in the 70s, dressed like Stevie Nicks, still sported 70s/80s feathered hairstyle 25 yrs later, I told her/played her the song. She thought it was pretty funny.

  13. Steve-O

    About 15 yrs ago a neighbor moved off and left one (red hatchback) of these on some land i bought. He never got the title from the guy he bought it from so it was just a parts car. It was fairly solid and ran and drove but the interior was toast. I had 5 acres now so what the heck. It had the newer GT wheels on it as well.

    Shortly thereafter i was in Giddings Tx to visit my dad where he was working on a pipeline (welder). What do i happen to run across but another red celica GT hatch (original paint, nice interior)sitting in someones yard. I stopped and asked about it and $300 later was the proud owner. It ran and (barely) drove as the front end was worn out from the local gravel roads (reason it was parked.)

    Due to the bad front suspension I trailered it home. Eight or ten bolts later and i had the whole front suspension swapped from the parts car. I also swapped the newer wheels onto it. I rebuilt the carb and replaced the water pump. Sold it for $2500 one day while filling up with gas. Never got around to fixing the ac.

    It was a fun car and reliable, but didnt handle exceptionally well, or have a lot of power.

    Funny side note; i offered the parts car to the new owner. He turned it down but a few weeks later i was in the pasture and the parts car was on blocks and rear axle was gone. I called the new owner and he said the rear was leaking and burned up the ring and pinion. I asked him to at least bring me the old axle so i could move the car. He never did. I knew where he lived so a few weeks later i drug it half way in a trailer, took it to his house and unloaded in the middle of his driveway. ;)

  14. Shilo

    I had a 1975 Celica. I loved it. I put over 200,000 miles on it. A great car

  15. Steve-O

    $8 for a car needing a tune up?!?! Hmmm…

  16. Tundra/BMW Guy

    Yeah, I had a 78. Even had the Supra rims. Had a sunroof. Man! I lloovveedd that car! Not a race car by any stretch of the imagination but absolutely indestructible! I loaned it to my Brother (in another state, up north) and that was the last I ever saw of it! Except for about 6/7 years later when I got tracked down for a parking ticket he had received while he was “borrowing” it!
    Price seems a bit high but the engine appears to have been tweaked with the carb and headers. The 83/84 Celica GT’s both convertible and hard tops, were darn sweet looking cars also. I keep toying with buying another one!!

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