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Japanese Mustang? 1977 Toyota Celica GT

Though not exclusively sold in the U.S., the Toyota Celica took direct aim at the original 1965 Ford Mustang. However, by the time the 2+2 sports coupe was introduced, the Mustang had grown considerably in size. The first generation (1971-77) was built on the Corona platform but was sized between the Corolla and Carina products. Besides a faded paint job, this ’77 Celica looks like a nice survivor that may only need a bit of TLC. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Toyota is available here on craigslist for $15,000. Thanks for the cool tip, Pat L.!

For the American market, the 1977 Celica was powered by a 2.2-liter inline-4 with a 5-speed manual transmission (though the seller’s car has an automatic). To set them apart from other Celicas, they came with rocker panel GT stripes and styled steel wheels with chrome trim rings. Along with a styling update in 1975, they all wore bigger bumpers than their homeland counterparts to compensate for DOT safety standards.

Even though the odometer reading is 95,000 miles, we’re told this ’77 GT runs and drives quite smoothly. So, there should be no checklist of mechanical things needed before you could drive the automobile regularly. The body is straight and clean with no rust, but what might be the car’s original paint is dull and faded. A good detailing might suffice until a repaint is deemed necessary. You should be able to take a magnet to the sheet metal and find that it will stick anywhere, which translates to no Bondo or filler.

The interior is in decent shape, too, although there is a crack in the dashboard, a small tear developing in the driver’s seat, and the headliner starting to sag a tad. These cars aren’t seen frequently nowadays, although the general build quality was good (I had a bare-bones 1977 Corolla once and it was as good a car as any I had owned in those days). The asking price might be a little rich, but this Toyota should grab some attention at Cars & Coffee.


  1. Rixx56 Member

    Russ, I believe there should always be a
    ‘mechanical checklist’ before driving a vehicle
    purchased from whom ones never met. Just
    because a seller reports all is well; inspection
    is a must.
    At the time I didn’t considered it competition for the Mustang, but now see your point; and
    appears rather sporty looking to me now.
    I feel the ask is high, but for me, most are.

    Like 16
  2. Charlie

    Japanese Mustang II… maybe.

  3. Gary Haas

    I had one back in the late 1980s as a daily driver and bought it for the Mach I looks and Toyota reliability. These are auction sweethearts on BaT these days and going for the high teens easily.

    Like 5
  4. Troy

    Its clean hard to know if the odometer has rolled over or not but like every Toyota change the timing belt and water pump and they go and go my grand daughter 06 Avalon his hitting the 400k miles mark and still going

    Like 3
  5. John C

    Back in the day I drove many a $500 dollar cars home that I bought, just did a quick fluid check air in the tires, lights check and off I went. Never had one not make it home, although the farthest I was away was a half hour. Not sure if I would be so brave nowadays. lol!

    Like 5
    • Emel

      My that was risky of you…..a whole 30 miles or so. lol

      Like 3
      • Steveo

        In fairness, 30 miles is a long way to push a car.

        Like 3
    • Paolo

      That was my experience too throughout the 1970s and up to the early 90s. there was still a plentiful selection of 60s and 70s cars too old for used car lots, still in the hands of private owners who had taken reasonable care of what were now surplus vehicles clogging their driveways. It was quite easy to find a car that would start, go, stop and be reasonably reliable for $500. It might not be pretty or a really desirable model but then again it might. The collector car hobby was not bursting at the seams with every stripe of hustler and quick buck artist or half baked expert like it is now

      Like 1
  6. Fogline

    Louvers – gotta love the louvers! Many had and few still have. Would love to see this with a manual and an Alpine deck hooked to an equalizer pounding out some Van Halen. Oh! The memories!

    Looks really clean, fwiw. Probably could drive it another 100k. Works out to .15 per mile…

    Like 10
  7. Chuck Simons

    Bought one new, just because of the looks. And just like this one, blue with white.

    Like 4
  8. Franklin

    15k? For a ’77 Celica? Ridiculous.

  9. chrlsful

    gota green 1 (’72). Put in the tocoma 2.7, turboed, will be a st car that goes to the track a few times.

    Like 3
  10. CCFisher

    The Mustang resemblance is much stronger with the JDM rear bumper.

    Like 2
  11. Derek

    I had a 1976 one, but the notchback rather than fastback. We had slimline bumpers and shorter road springs here (Scotland), and the engine was a high-cam, short pushrod 1600 on a 5-speed; would sit at 90/100 all day. Window fell down, though, so was held up with tank tape.

    Crackin’ car.

    Like 7
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Is that KPH or MPH? :=)

      Like 5
      • Derek


        I remember driving it back north from going caving in Yorkshire and having all these reps in 1.1 Mk3 Escorts being pissed off that this scabby old car was quicker than theirs.

        Like 3
  12. Mitch

    Except the sparkling bright interior and body colour its a desirable
    GT. Look at the trunk pictures, had it once a repaint from red
    to blue? Front seats and door cards from beige to white?
    Solid trim parts just white over sprayed? Could be.

    Then, my estimate for this good starting point is 8000$

    Like 5
    • Calhoun

      I had a red 77 fastback it came with black interior blue came with white, green or yellow ones came with beige interior and so on. No special order mixing. I had everything on it possible, shadow louvers on rear window, front spoiler/air damn,etc. $5,500.00. Had the 5 speed. That 4 cylinder could squeal them in 1st and 2nd and chirp them in 3rd. Looked cool and I had it for 13 years. It had like 367,000 miles on it. Had the body redone once in the time I had it. It’s the one car I wish I would have kept. It was my first Toyota and I’ve been driving Toyota cars and trucks since.

  13. Emel

    That’s alotta coin….for a car that was notoriously known as a rust bucket.
    Only one pic of the underside is noteworthy.

    Like 4
  14. TBall

    Most likely the only toy-yota I would even consider. Loved the “homey I shrunk the Mach-1” look. That said, this appears to be a wonderful example, just more than I would go. Perhaps $8k like earlier comment stated.

    Like 4
  15. B Wallace

    I believe Car and Driver did a review of one of these when new and had it parked back to back with a 69 or 70 Mustang Fastback in the photo.

    Like 2
  16. JC

    You could buy one of these for under $1000 in the 80’s… worlds gone crazy…

    Like 5
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      I paid $400 for my 78 hatchback in this same blue with white vinyl top. It had 100K on it when I bought it (no rust, but smelled of dog inside – no matter what I did, I never lost that smell). Had to put a transmission and clutch in it, but put another 75K on it. Also put a Weber carb on it. Good car. I know I sold it, but I can’t recall what I got for it.

      Like 2
  17. Gary Haas

    Look at what they’re going for on BaT, sometimes > $20,000! These and the 1st gen RX7s are getting very collectible!

    Like 2
  18. angliagt angliagt Member

    I seem to remember one of these going for about $65,000
    on BaT.Seems the wife bought it for her husband who had one
    back in the day.CRAZY!

    Like 3
    • Gary Haas

      Yes! I remember that. But these are fun to drive and getting desirable! I owned a 77 and had a 72 Mach I years earlier. The Toyota was a Mach I lite!

  19. JudoJohn

    These were nice cars in their day. Never saw them as Mustang look-a-likes, still don’t. I never owned one, but did get to work on and drive one. The auto trans REALLY lets this one down. That and the price are why it’s not selling. Oh, and seller- maybe buff that dull paint a little.

    Like 1
  20. healeydays

    Is it sad I couldn’t get past the 2nd paragraph once I read automatic transmission?

    Like 1
    • Gary Haas

      These were not that fast even w/a standard shift. Had one and enjoyed it as I used to have a 72 Mach I, fun, not fast. If any Toyota deserves to be a classic, this one’s it, outside of the 2000 GT.

      Like 1
  21. Stephen Coe

    Everyone remember cash for clunkers? That’s why no hood prices on old cars

    • Gary Haas

      What are hood prices?

  22. Jason Neal

    I had this exact same car back in the day, only diff was blue interior.

    Drove it like a rental and it never gave me problems.

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