USGP Edition: 1980 Toyota Celica Survivor

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Although special editions can sometimes be yawn-inducing or eyeroll-causing, they can also add some extra flavor to an already rare or desirable car. Take, for instance, this 1980 Toyota Celica U.S. Grand Prix Edition. Not many were made when new, and while it amounted to mostly cosmetic changes, at least the special nomenclature is associated with a racing series and not something silly like a clothing line or stereo company. 

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As Toyota’s brand awareness grew, it became involved with the Grand Prix racing series in the U.S. It’s said that Toyota made 200 in each of the three available colors – red, white and blue, but that number hasn’t been confirmed. Still, I doubt you’ll see another one any time soon. The tweaks included a honeycomb grill, mud guards, special pinstripes and badges, flat-black B-pillars and unique alloy wheels. The standard powertrain and suspension remain unchanged.

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I love the interiors on these 80s Toyotas. The three-spoke wheel, clutter-free gauge cluster, classic shift knob and OEM equalizer combine to offer a driving experience that today’s airbag-laden and tech-heavy rides can’t match. It’s simple and classic, a concept seemingly lost on modern automotive designers. Bidders either agree with my sentiment or are anxious to park this limited-production Celica in their garage, as bidding has already crept over $3,000 with six days left on the auction.

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I’m not surprised that there’s strong interest in this USGP edition Celica, which you can find here on eBay. The special edition credentials notwithstanding, many of these have rotted away by now. Simply finding a Celica in excellent condition is near impossible, and you can forget about finding a special edition. If you’ve been looking for one, you’ll have a hard time repeating a find like this. It’s available in Georgia, and there is a reserve price set.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. jim s

    no over $5000 with about 5 day to go. car looks in great shape for having that many miles on it. i would use this as a daily driver. great find.

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  2. Jerry Landers

    Jesse – Nice car. The purpose of this comment though is about the new policy of publishing the site of the car for sale at the END of the Barnfind write up. Would like to know how everyone likes or dislikes the change? Most times I pick and choose which ads I want to read all the way on Barnfinds and the sale site. I do this especially if I am in a hurry. Hope others will leave their comments. Thanks.

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    • Jesse Mortensen JesseStaff

      We changed the format because many people were just clicking the ebay, cl, etc. links in the email and never visiting the site. Perhaps people don’t really want to read all we have to write?

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      • DougM

        at first I was kinda peeved then realized that the efforts of BF investigative journalism was to generate thoughts from the galley, I’m cool with it! and this
        particular car is one I’m interested in, keep up the great work!

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  3. K. C.

    There was also an Olympic Edition of the Toyota Celica that used the same or very similar black sail panels. I bought a set of the black Olympic Edition sail panels at the Toyota dealer and put them on my 1979 Toyota Celica GT Liftback. The original stainless steel panels did not hold up well (after only 5 years), and the black panels made my Celica stand out when parked near another. I loved the Celica, but the rust monster eventually started to eat away too much after almost 18 years. It was a great 1st car that I still miss.

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  4. JeffAuthor

    20 bids, there are some enthusiasts out there who want to bring this puppy home!

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  5. juan

    It´s almost like my father´s 1981 Celica ST 1600, his was metallic blue, scottish patron seats and sunroof, he put 700.000 km on it with never had any problems or major repairs (we live in Argentina, the routes were REALLY bad back then), I loved it but was too young to keep it when he sold it in 1991; his friend bougth one the same day but metallic grey and when he sold it in 2001 I tiried to buy it but unfortunately I´m too tall to stay in it (1.80m or 6 feet), I can open the sunroof but in winters…..
    Itried to buy it 2 moths ago just for the memories (it was abandoned in a yard and imposible to put it back to life) but came too late, a t least it´s not all lost, it will be a donor for another Celica.

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    • JeffAuthor

      Juan, that’s incredible – 700,000 KM! Wow. And then you found the original car? Quite a story. Send us photos if you have them. The seat pattern sounds pretty sweet, too!

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