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39,530 Original Miles: 1979 Toyota Celica GT

While listings that tell you just to look at the photos can generally be viewed with some suspicion, there are cars that really do present far better when words are kept to a minimum. This 1979 Toyota Celica GT Liftback is such a car, as it is a one-owner survivor (aside from the dealer that’s currently shilling it) with just a tick under 40,000 original miles. So many original details are preserved on this car, a model that has all but disappeared from the roadways due to rust killing the bodies in snow- and rust-belt states. This one has escaped that fate, courtesy of a careful owner. Find it here on eBay in a no-reserve auction with bidding up to $7,700.

Now, you’re likely drawn immediately to the wheels as being a non-original item, and thus diluting the description as a “survivor” almost immediately. You would be right, at first, for feeling that way, but these aftermarket wheels are indicative of personalization trends at the time that this Celica was still a relatively fresh face on the road. Those can easily be swapped out, but what’s impossible to fake is the awesome blue factory paint, which is especially attractive considering so many of these early Celicas were painted white, black, or silver – can you imagine this one with its factory wheels bolted back on?

Other details on the outside worth noting include the still-lustrous black bumpers and tacky-yet-appropriate chrome trim on the lower sills – it all still presents as-new. The interior is where things really get kicked up a notch, however, with nicely preserved blue vinyl bucket seats front and rear, and likely impossible to find factory rubber floormats still in place and protecting the carpets. The blue rugs look to be in great shape both in the passenger and storage compartments, and the factory paint matches nicely inside the door jambs. The A/C and factory radio/cassette are both said to still work, and the headliner is noted as being in excellent condition.

The engine bay features the truck-like 20R four-cylinder, which to me, always the unfortunate feature in an otherwise compelling package. This was far from a stirring engine, although it was quite reliable when new – and likely won’t cost you much to maintain long-term with miles as low as this one has. The best part for me are the pictures showing the ample documentation that’s included, from the original purchase documents to seemingly every shred of maintenance info, warranty paperwork, registrations, and more. This is obviously a Celica that was loved by its longtime owner, and only needs minimal touch-ups to be a total stunner.


  1. Avatar photo Nevadahalfrack Member

    While not the prettiest of the Celica line this particular one is exceptionally nice if one wanted a stick shift turnkey “vintage” metric for a fair price (currently @ $8200).

    One request of eBay admin, though-I’m no college English major but could you PLEASE help people like this with sentence structure and punctuation beforehand!!??!?! Geesh!!!!!

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Susan S McKee

      Apparently eBay charges for periods, Capitals, and commas.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo BlackTa

        i think they actually do

        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    This is one time for me, that this choice of after market wheels complements the car, and looks visually appealing. I’ve never really cared for this design previously. Perhaps it’s the chrome and black design of the wheels, combined with the chrome/black trim on the car that just makes this
    “not the prettiest of the Celica line” stunning (IMO)! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Jaydawg7

      My brother and I replaced the water pump in my sister’s car in a couple of hours when we were 13 & 14yo. The car soldiered on for at least 4 more years before being sold.

      Like 3
  3. Avatar photo kaf

    I always thought the Supra of this vintage were pretty–those extra inches of hood made it look exotic in my young eyes.

    Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Jon

    I had a 77 Celica GT liftback, more of a Japanese version of a mustang fastback with a 5 speed and this 20R engine was a very fast and reliable little sports car that I had many years of enjoyment from and wish I still had today. Same color with brown interior though.

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Doug from MD.

    Spent close to 30 years working around the Toyota brand this is diffently oringal car minus the wheels. The 20r is a legend and can be made into a fun ride.I remember in 1979 driving one of these back from the port of Baltimore. I hit a top speed of 110 on 95 without strain on the gas pedal.No American car in 79 with a 4 banger could hang with this.

    Like 7
  6. Avatar photo mrobin

    I had a 78, white with blue interior very nice comfy car. Not fast or anything, but never had any problems…Bullitt proof.
    Sorry to differ, but I hate those wheels.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Steve R

      Those wheels are horrible. There is a reason why production of three spoke directional wheels stopped in the 1990’s.

      Steve R

      Like 6
    • Avatar photo Robert Eddins

      Yeah, those wheels are just plain ugly.
      But if you like them that,s all that really all that matter, but I agree with those that dislike them. They,d have to go. I love the car though.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo Dan B

      Loved my 78 Celica GT but it did come with Crome dish rims from a Z. I think they looked much better than what is on this car.

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    The eurospec one had much better looking bumpers …

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo goldbrixx

      @JoeNYWF64, I agree with you about the euro bumpers. So much better looking.

      Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. Although I was too young to drive at the time, I remember this generation Toyota Celica. My parents had a 1979-80 Celica GT.

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Too late

    Worked at a Toyota dealer in 79′ , owned a 1979 Celica coupe, best car I have ever owned. Slow ? yes. Perfect steering wheel shape for long drives. Mine had a sunroof, strange this one doesn’t. The exhaust manifolds would often crack. The best wheels for these were the 1982 -1985 Supra / Celica GTS wheels. Polished This ebay ad must have cost a bundle with all the pictures.
    Great cars .

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Murray

    Nice to look at but dreadful to drive. Car writes cheques its suspension simply cannot cash……

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Maxwell Member

    I am very familiar with this gen of Celica. This is by far the best, I’ve seen in years. I am surprised to see such issues with the rear seat – the side panel coverings do shrink over time due to heat but it seems to have far more damage than one would expect. Also, while the driver seat experiences much more wear and tear, in this car, the front seats are find whereas there are splits in the rear seats that have me scratching my head.

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Maxwell Member

    I do not beleive the paint to be original. Pics of the engine bay show evidence of sloppy paint shop work.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Robert Eddins

      My eyes are still recovering from looking at all 800 photos, so I,ll take your word for it.

      Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Butchb

    I had a 81 Supra with the auto trans in 1985. With the gas pedal mashed for miles it wouldn’t break a hundred.

    Like 0

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