Sunchaser Conversion: 1980 Toyota Celica

What do you get when you take a 1979-81 Toyota Celica and convert it into a Targa-style convertible with a removable roof? You get the Sunchaser, an outsourced, limited production vehicle marketed by Toyota with no more than 2,000 copies available over its three years. This 1980 edition is in good condition with new seats, but a fresh paint job should be in the budget, according to the seller. Located in Athens, New York, this Targa is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,750. Thanks for the topless tip, Chuck Foster!

Toyota hired The Griffith Company to handle the Celica conversions. They started by cutting off the roof of a GT or ST behind the windshield to the edge of the B-Pillar to accommodate a Targa-style replacement. In addition, they removed the roof from behind the B-Pillar to the trunk to construct a collapsible convertible compartment. In the end, all that remained of the original roof was a roll bar. We understand that each converted Celica has a sticker inside the glove compartment that verifies the Sunchaser and the car’s production number, but we don’t know if this car has said sticker.

Under the hood of this Celica resides a 20R engine, which was a 2-valve, SOHC 2.2-liter inline-4 that was rated at 97 hp. The seller says this Sunchaser has a manual transmission, so it’s probably a 5-speed. At 85,000 miles, we don’t know if anything has been done to the drivetrain, but we’re told the vehicle is in all-around very good condition.

The interior of this Toyota looks tidy, and we assume by “new seats” the seller means they’ve been reupholstered. As the paint is getting thin (not according to the photos), that’s the only thing the seller mentions that needs attention. And if there’s no rust, you could forestall that for some time, choosing to cruise around and enjoy the open air instead!


  1. Sam61

    I saw 2 AMC Eagle sunchasers at the AMC homecoming last Saturday in Kenosha Wisconsin. The Targa bar and back fold down piece look identical to that of the Eagle.

    Like 7
    • Sam61

      Thank you….I need to admit I’m “idiot savant”.

  2. Ike Onick

    Another answer to a question nobody asked.

    Like 5
    • BJ

      And another f…..g sarcastic remark no body wanted to hear !

  3. Connecticut mark

    Too cheap. Looks like a scam

  4. RMac

    Russ love your write ups but couple of points none of the Roof is original the whole roof was removed and replaced with the fiberglass sun chaser unit and that had the flip down convertible rear roll bar and lift off front panels they not only converted st I had one that was a 1980 SR5 gt was My wife’s commuter it was a decent little car and very water tight lot of wind noise and it had electrical gremlins

    Like 3
  5. George Birth

    Not a bad price for a Celica Toyota. Those 20 r motors are pretty much indestructible

    Like 1

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