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One Family Owned: 1983 Toyota Celica GT

Toyota broke new ground when it released its original Celica. The company had established a reputation for producing affordable small cars featuring better-than-average build quality. However, the Celica brought a more sporting feel and remained an integral member of the model lineup until 2006. This 1983 Celica is the GT derivative that has been part of the same family since Day One. It is far from perfect, but it could be the ideal candidate for a DIY restoration project. It has recently emerged after years in storage and is ready to hit the road on its next journey to a new home. The GT is listed here on eBay in Niagara Falls, New York. Bidding has scorched its way to $2,025 in a No Reserve auction.

The Third Generation Celica marked a significant styling shift for Toyota as it embraced a more efficient wedge look for its latest model. It was available in Coupe, Convertible, and Hatchback form, with our feature car being the latter. I have always felt the Hatchback has a styling edge over the Coupe, but the Convertible is also attractive. This GT is an unmolested survivor that has been part of the same family since they drove it off the lot in 1983. Its paint shade forms part of the “Black Package Upgrade” that also brought alloy wheels and Michelin tires to the table. The paint is well past its best, exhibiting wear and a distinct baked appearance. However, with no significant panel imperfections and no evidence of rust, performing a cosmetic restoration to recapture its glory days should be straightforward. The pop-up headlights work as they should, and the seller includes a few additional parts in the cargo area. The trim and glass are in good order, and the wheels should look nice after some attention from a cloth and a high-quality polish.

The Celica’s interior is a mixed bag, but it is serviceable. The driver’s seatcover is pretty shredded, and replacement seems the only long-term option. This is a shame because the remaining upholstered surfaces look far better. A set of slipcovers would hide the problem and may be the perfect choice for those on a budget. The dashpad tells a similar story, sporting an enormous crack on the passenger side. Locating a replacement pad might be challenging, but alternatives exist for those unwilling to perform a DIY restoration with a product like Polyvance. A simple mat retails for under $70, but a good glue-on cap would be a permanent solution for around $220. The shopping list will probably extend to a carpet set, but that is all that is required to make the interior shine. There are no visible additions, with the car retaining its high-end radio/cassette player. Other comfort features include air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, a power antenna, cruise control, and a tilt wheel.

Toyota introduced the Third Generation Celica to the North American market in 1981, with all cars powered by the 2.4-liter 22R four-cylinder engine producing 97hp and 128 ft/lbs of torque. Fuel injection became standard in late 1982, boosting those figures to 105hp and 137 ft/lbs. The power feeds to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission, with the original owner adding power steering to the equation. Outright performance was relatively modest by modern standards, although many owners found these cars entertaining as they rowed the shifter through a twisting section of road. This GT has a history of extended hibernation. It spent years in storage before being revived and returned to active service in 2020. The seller used the car sparingly before parking it for another four years. They revived it again a few days ago, with the car running and the transmission and clutch operating as they should. It probably requires a thorough inspection before being considered genuinely roadworthy, but the winning bidder will start that process from a sound base.

If an enthusiast is patient, they can locate an affordable and straightforward restoration candidate. However, sometimes, they will drop into their lap. That appears to be the case with this 1983 Toyota Celica GT. These cars are held in high regard because their engineering and build quality are typically better than average. The current price is modest, but it has reached the figure following thirty-two bids. If a Japanese classic has been on your radar, this Celica could be ideal.

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Terrry

    Too much 80’s styling in this generation. I liked the second generation that looked like a pony car!

    Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

    I never gave these a second look. I scraped hundreds and you rarely see one in the wild today. We do have the mild mannered 84 Corolla in our current daily fleet.

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo Mike

    I googled the street address of the dealer seen in the paperwork. The lot doesn’t seen big enough for a Toyota dealership.

    Like 3
  4. Avatar photo George

    This is not a GT. A GT had the supra fender flares..supra aluminum wheels and supra Recaro type seats..I know as I had one new…

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo LurkingDirk

      this is in fact a Celica GT, the options you’re mentioning were on the Celica GT-S

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo JCA Member

      This is a GT, not a GT-S

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo John Halsey

      Actually it was the GT-S version that had the Supra seats, fender flares, and 225-60-HR14 tires. In 1982, the S package was a mid-year option (which my car is), however in 1983 the GT-S was a designation on it’s own.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo angliagt Member

      Agreed – our Granddaughter’s is indeed a GT,
      but would look so much better with the flares & bigger
      tires.
      Bought it for $2100,before putting some more money
      into it.

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo bone

    Above average build quality ? the 70s and 80s Asian imports rusted away almost as fast as the Chevy Vega – drivetrains yes, sheet metal and the plastic interiors no

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo 370zpp Member

      As far as the 80s cars are concerned there are many who would disagree with you.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

      I’m calling BS on your comment. Maybe over in yank land they did.
      But over here they didn’t

      Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    I’m amazed, over here it was just called and ST.
    And don’t knock the 22RE.
    I built my son an 85 RA65 coupe with the 22RE, 5 speed, and it would wheel stand when you dropped the clutch.
    It never lost a traffic light drag, mainly because the opposition gave up as soon as they saw it wheel stand.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

      I also built my daughter and RA 60 liftback a few years prior, but it had the 18R/C engine, but also a 5 speed, did awesome burnouts.

      Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    I also built my daughter and RA 60 liftback a few years prior, but it had the 18R/C engine, but also a 5 speed, did awesome burnouts.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    My daughter’s RA60, with body kit.

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    My son’s RA65, prior to purchase from a wrecking yard.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo ccrvtt

      Aussie Dave you are a way cool dad. Your kids are lucky to have a father who provides them with such nice rides.

      You can tell them I said so.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

        Thank you, my daughter has had SP23’s, GTI’s, WRX’s V8 LandCruiser and the like. She now has an BWM X5, a BMW 120 convertible, and a Jeep Rubicon.
        My son has had, MA60’s, MA70’s, Sil80’s. GTI’s. He currently owns a Ford XR8 ute (550hp at the wheel’s) an FPV F6E (340kw at the wheel’s) a BMW X5, a BMW E30, an RS 3, and a Ducati paginal (speed limited to 298kmh).

        Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Aussie Dave Member

    I just went to the eBay ad, it’s sold.
    There was zero photos from the front, guess there was a problem .

    Like 0

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