Executive Demo Car: 1985 Toyota Celica GTS

This 1985 Toyota Celica GTS convertible would be rare on its own as an unrestored survivor, but its history as a factory demo car loaded up with all the options makes it even more unique. The palm trees in the background are the perfect backdrop for a car like this, which the seller has owned since 1986 in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He notes he used the Celica as his daily driver for 20 years before retiring it to “fun car” status up until now. The Celica comes with a variety of OEM parts and documentation regarding its history in the local dealer network, and it’s available here on eBay with bidding up to $4,000 and the reserve unmet.

As the seller points out, the Celica convertible was novel for being Toyota’s first production convertible (produced in concert with ASC) and for being the last generation of the model to utilize a rear-wheel drive configuration. The Celica was also totally appropriate for the era, with flip-up headlights, big fender flares, and some examples even coming with a digital dash readout. The seller notes that while this car is in very good condition, it was used as a daily driver and parked in the Florida sun – so plan on finding some minor cosmetic issues to sort out. The Celica also comes with sharp OEM graphics on the side that spell out “GTS.”

I thought about grabbing a Celica coupe of this vintage from my friend’s property in Georgia before deciding against it. That car was simply too far gone, but the reasons it caught my eye in the first place still hold true: First, there’s the obvious: rear wheel drive. But then you throw in the chunky wheels, wide fender flares, awesome bucket seats with lumbar adjustment, and an extremely durable engine under the hood, and you have a vintage 80s coupe that’s easy to live with. However, the engine under the hood is one of the reasons why the Celica of this generation hasn’t become a major collector’s item, in my opinion.

The 2.4L four-cylinder is far from exotic, and was used across the Celica lineup. Whether you chose the GT or the GTS, you were getting the economical but truck-like 22R engine. They certainly got the job done and were more than reliable, but to me, they were always the weak link in an otherwise compelling package. Regardless, if you snag a drop-top like this, I wouldn’t be worried about raw speed or acceleration, anyway – it’s all about keeping a well-preserved vintage convertible on the road and enjoying the sensations that go along with it. If I had to own one, I’d want to buy it from a seller like this.

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Comments

  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Yea, pretty cool and all that….

    Auto trans in one of these? No bueno!

    Like 2
  2. h5mind

    Decals and trunk rack aside, the miles keep this in the “use and enjoy” category. Personally, the slush box dampens the fun factor. I can’t imagine a swap to 5 Speed would be too hard.

    Like 1
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Funny you should say that. . . Buddy of mine and I were just taking about a manual swap on one of these. Come to find out that you’d pretty much need an entire donor car as there are a lot of differences between the manual and automatic cars, and this body of Celica was only produced until 1986; in 87 it became FWD. Donor cars are nigh impossible to come by today, but a decade ago I’d have agreed that a swap would be the requirement AND a fairly easy proposition. Less so today.

      Like 4
  3. charlie Member

    One of the bargains of the week, along with the LeBaron convertible, to use and enjoy. Good enough for cars and coffee.

    Like 2
  4. jerry z

    This is another car I would like to own. Basically a Supra with a 4 cyl engine. A friend had a red hatchback 5 spd back in the early 90’s and the car was a handler! But with a driveway full of cars, not going to happen.

    Like 1
  5. Michael Selinger

    I watched the clock wind down on this one, $5500 top bid, reserve not met.

    Like 1
  6. Duane

    I like this car, but have no place to put it. For what it’s worth-I sold a “museum quality” car about a year ago, but repaired/replaced/detailed with NOS/OEM parts everything cosmetic or mechanical that it needed before I listed it. Seller: you might think about doing this,( or offering to) in the ad. ( PS: Bard Finders–don’t bother commenting that it’s none of my business–I know that–but” been there, done that” & know it might help) Just trying to be a good neighbor—–

    Like 1
  7. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I had a 1985 GTS hatchback, was a fun car, always liked these convertibles, not to mention the Supras. In fact, I picked up a project 83 Supra for $900, needed a steering column and who knows what else, they were rear wheel drive until 1985, 86 was fwd.

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