Rare Drop Top: 1980 Toyota Celica GT “Sunchaser”

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Maybe it’s just my imagination, but as we start to head towards Summer, we seem to be seeing more convertibles come across the desks here at Barn Finds. This little Celica is not a factory convertible, but it is a really cool “Sunchaser”, and it promises a world of fun once the weather begins to warm up. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, it is listed for sale here on eBay.

A company called Griffith was contracted by Toyota to undertake the conversion work on the Celica, and conversions were performed on the Celica GT and the ST models between 1979 and 1981. In 1980, there were 500 vehicles converted, and this particular car is #290 of the 500. It is said to be original, with no known accident damage. The soft-top is in two pieces, with a Targa-style top over the front section, and an actual soft-top behind the vehicle B-Pillar. The hardware for the conversion looks to have survived really well, while the Sunset Copper paint appears to be in great condition.

Under the hood is all standard Celica fare of the era, with the virtually bullet-proof 20-R engine sending power to a 5-speed manual transmission. The car is also fitted with the standard power brakes and optional factory air conditioning. The owner states that the car has only covered a genuine 58,000 miles and that there is plenty of paperwork that is included in the sale. He also says that the “Sunchaser” drives like a new car.

The interior is close to faultless, with some rippling of the vinyl on the driver’s seat the only real issue. The car is fitted with an aftermarket Kenwood radio/cassette player, but it doesn’t look like the dash has been cut to fit this, so it would be possible to return it to original. The plaid upholstery can be a bit of an acquired taste, but one of the nice things about the Celicas is that they do tend to be a very comfortable car. If the plaid is a bit much for you to deal with, you can always fit slip-on aftermarket seat covers and tell people that you’re just protecting the original upholstery.

This Celica “Sunchaser” is a car that I quite like, and it really looks like it could be a lot of fun. In writing this story, I went scouting around to see how many other “Sunchasers” are currently on the market. I didn’t find any others, but I did find that this particular car was on the market back in 2013. There was no indication of what the asking price was then, or whether the vehicle did actually sell. At the time of writing, bidding on the Celica is sitting at $1,025, but the reserve hasn’t been met. There is also a BIN option of $15,900, and the owner says that if a buyer exercises this option, they will receive free shipping for continental USA buyers. The BIN price is probably a bit higher than I would normally consider, but it is probably justified due to the low mileage and overall condition of the car.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Keith

    Nice but asking way too much.

    Like 9
  2. On and On On and OnMember

    Great deal if it sells at a good price, Run forever car.

    Like 3
  3. CliffSMember

    Looks like it was here on Barn Finds last year, in Ohio! https://barnfinds.com/sweet-treat-1980-toyota-celica-gt-sunchaser/

    Like 4
    • DN

      Yep! Looks like someone is hoping to make a nice payday! Asking double what he probably paid for it!

      Like 2
  4. mark evans

    It’s beautiful but as Keith said or inferred Ouch!

    Like 1
  5. joe blow

    Theres one on craiglist in Orlando, fl

    Like 0
  6. Joe Flipperhead

    Guy trying to make 10K after last year purchase in Ohio for 5K.

    Like 2
  7. RITON

    At that asking price I hope the respray was done seriously without masking tape and the likes…

    Like 0
  8. emeltzMember

    I had one back in college in the mid 80s. I thought it was a cool design, like a friends Lancia Zagato but more reliable. The Targa roof leaked badly at the corners where the weatherstrip was cut and shrank and it clamped on with just pressure rather than a tight fit. The soft tops plastic windows yellowed with no easy way to replace them. Other than that, for what was available back then, it was a cool car or at least the image was better than the experience.

    Like 2
  9. Little_Cars Little CarsMember

    First listing I’ve seen in a while where the seller agrees to ship anywhere in the US. That’s very cool. Shame that comes with their outrageous Buy It Now price. I hate to think this flipper thinks they are going to pull the wool over our eyes with a markup like that as well.

    Like 0
    • PRA4SNW

      It’s not a bad angle, if you think about it. Many people who buy stuff nowadays (think Amazon Prime) like to not think about shipping at all. You press a few buttons and it’s on its way to you.

      The seller built in the shipping cost to the BIN price, and most knowledgeable buyers will realize that. But, it puts all the work on the seller to prepare and arrange for shipping. I’m surprised we don’t see this more often with automobiles on EBay.

      Like 1
  10. Kip

    I have one of the 2000 Toyota sun chasers in my garage. Very good shape but has not run since1999. Any interest ? Would be great for parts if you have another one.

    Like 0

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