Either Way: 1985 Toyota Celica Convertible

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This car is right on the edge of the cliff. It could go either way. It’s old enough and has enough stuff wrong with it, that it might not be saved. It could join the ranks of the countless lost cars in the automotive archives. Or, the right set of caring hands could pull it back from the brink.

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It’s located in Springfield, Missouri, and can be found here on craigslist. The asking price is a mere $600. It’s complete and still together enough, that this 1980s relic might be worth saving.

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The description in the ad is one of the “used to run but now it doesn’t” variety, but at least the seller has provided us with some decent photos for a change, which is a clear violation of the Craigslist Cheap Car Bylaws. He says the engine “will fire over but will not stay running.”  That doesn’t sound fatal, but here’s where those caring hands come into play.

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Also in violation of Craigslist Cheap Convertible Bylaws, this one has an interior that looks like it might clean up to be fairly presentable.

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When we post cool old 1940s and ’50s cars, we often see lots of comments about how attractive-looking the instrument panels and steering wheels are. This one looks good to me because like the much older vintage cars, the dash and controls are a great representation of the styling that was popular when this car was made. In less words; this looks like a classic 1980s car interior.

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The seller says 146,000 is low miles for this car. For 31 years old, it’s a good argument. Being a Toyota, mechanically speaking, it could probably be brought back to life for a song.

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The angular 1980s styling won’t appeal to everyone. But if the top goes down, the price goes up, as they say. I don’t remember liking this body style when it was new. But I see it through different eyes now. Attention for attention’s sake is not always a good thing, but this car would turn heads if you drove it down Main Street today.

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Putting it here on Barn Finds for your contemplation is a double edged sword. I can get all kinds of hate-email because it’s not old enough, from the 1980s, it’s an import, and so on. It’s ok. Tell us how you really feel. But one last parting shot, so you can really take in this boxy shape of a car made back in the era of Bananarama and the Human League:

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“Honey, tease up your hair and grab your leg warmers, we’re going cruising. Bring your Huey Lewis and the News and Phil Collins CDs…sorry, cassettes.”  Do you think you could make that fly, in your household? Is this car worth saving? Please, tell us what you think.

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Comments

  1. Mark H

    I’ll take the plunge and say save it. Why not? Yota simplicity, great body style, top goes down (presumably) and it’s resale red. At $600 you really have a good chance of having a decent car.

  2. notpurple

    a fun car thats not particularly common anymore and cheap… i think thats a win all the way around!

  3. fred w.

    Had a silver hatchback version back then, great car, this one doesn’t look that bad for the price.

  4. t-bone guy

    There’s another one. Featured in May 2016. Better condition. Same color.

    http://barnfinds.com/2k-bin-1984-toyota-celica-convertible/

    But, there’s a picture with the top down. Who doesn’t like it looking this way?

  5. AMCFAN

    Seems like a winter price! For the asking price of admission a ragtop Toyota? Half running? I am in. These were rare when new. At least where I am. I would prefer a manual trans but the auto wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Wish it was closer.

    Nothing compares to the feeling of driving a convertible, top down, sunny fall morning, air crisp, leaves turning on the trees……

    Like 1
  6. nessy

    When this model was built, it was based on the Celica GTS which had the Supra flares, Supra wheels and those great Supra seats, it was almost a Supra convertible except for the drivetrain. They should have made this convertible model out of the Supra, not a Celica. I never understood that.

    • Eric Dashman

      I wonder if the Supra OHC 6 would fit in this model? Find a donor car and swap the automatic for a 5 speed. Nice car. I’d be a sucker if it was in the Triangle area. Me and my tow dolly would be there in a heartbeat.

      • nessy

        You would have to change the entire front end to fit the Supra’s longer drivetrain and I believe the Supra wheelbase is also longer which may become an issue.

      • Bob

        The Supra was based on the Celica GT-S Just 6 inches longer with the same wheelbase. Different sheet metal forward of the firewall. Might be worth a check. That 6-cylinder was sure sweet.

  7. Darren

    I’ve contacted the owner and think I might go get this one. I was a Toyota tech for many years and have some engine parts for this one.
    Thank you barn finds! I’m giving this one a shot!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Let us know how it goes Darren!

    • Marty Member

      Darren,

      Glad to hear it! Please send my finder’s fee to the following address….

      Just kidding! I second Jesse’s request; please keep us posted with photos, the road trip to pick it up, anything you want to tell us about it.

      Thanks for reading Barn Finds!

    • Martin

      Way to go Darren! I was just thinking as I read the listing, that this car needs to find a Japanese car guy who sees the potential in this one. It’s becoming rare as heck, and with the general interest and movement in the Japanese classic enthusiast community, this car has nowhere to go but up in value. I’d be a bit concerned about how many rain storms the car has sat through uncovered, hopefully the current owner wasn’t that mean to it, but there has to be some Celica coupes out there in parts car land that could donate many of the needed bits and pieces. I’ll be watching for your updates and cheering from the sidelines.

  8. 68custom

    The GTS also had the Supras IRS as an added bonus!
    plus a fuel injected 22R-E, too bad it is a convertible.

  9. BMW/Tundra Guy

    Darren, I am in agreement with most of the others. Go get it and keep us posted. I am an “Old Toyota Guy” and was working for Toyota soon after these came out. A coworker had a Black, black, and black one. He kept that car immaculate! I mean indescribably spotless!!! I alway coveted that car!!! The conversions were done top notch. I actually tried to get the one T-bone had the link to. I was unable to get a response of any sort. This one, unfortunately, is out of my skill set with the rust. I can only imagine with what IS visible, what IS’NT! Plus I cannot buy an auto in this car. It has to be a stick. Once I got done putting all the performance goodies on it, whew, hold on! As for the running problem, smack the air flow meter. Bet it goes to idle. If not, get a good one from Pull a Part and slap it on. That will probably bring it back to life.
    Please do keep us updated throughout the process, however you choose to bring it back! They are beautiful cars (it’s all in the eye of the beholder, guys) once done up!!!!

    • BMW/Tundra Guy

      I must correct myself. The “Coveted Car” was black, on gray, on black. My memory seems to slip gears quite a lot anymore……………………………

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