The Toyota Celica is among the few JDM sports activities automobiles that started off as a sports activities automobile, transitioned right into a sedan then again to a totally pledges sports activities automobile earlier than being discontinued in 2006. Nevertheless, regardless of being cheaper than most JDM sports activities automobiles, it didn’t have a big following in most markets, particularly In its early years of manufacturing.

Most would say that the Celica is extra of a Toyota Corolla because it shares components with Corollas such because the Caldina. When it was first produced in 1970, it shared components with the Toyota Corona and the Toyota Carina, as each have been unveiled at across the identical time.

There may be one primary cause why most JDM sports activities automobile lovers don’t charge the Celica that a lot in comparison with different JDM sports activities automobiles, its front-wheel-drive. A real sports activities automobile needs to be front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, front-engine, or all-wheel-drive. Most Celicas are front-engine, rear-wheel-drive.

Toyota made some A20 and A30 Celicas with an RWD chassis largely as a result of they supposed to compete with the Mustang Pony within the US market. However the Celica by no means stood an opportunity in opposition to a V8-powered mustang. Most individuals purchased the Celica for its reliability and low shopping for and upkeep prices. You might nonetheless have enjoyable with it being rear-wheel drive. Sadly, discovering a first-gen Celica is near not possible. It’s largely overpriced or will value you a fortune to revive in the event you resolve to revive it.

After the third era, all different Celica generations have been produced as front-wheel-drive besides the AWD Celica GT-4. The Celica GT-4 was primarily designed with a rallying perspective, and it’s thought-about the best-looking Celica ever made. Until you like the T180 Celica, which has pop-up headlights like a Miata or AE86.

Red Toyota CelicaRed Toyota Celica

Total, the Celica will not be a nasty automobile in any respect. It makes the proper newbie automobile if you’re simply beginning to study automobiles otherwise you wish to purchase it as a present on your Child’s 16th birthday. Celicas don’t have giant and highly effective engines as all generations got here with 4-cylinder engines. On the time of manufacturing, essentially the most highly effective engines you could possibly get have been the two.0-litre turbo, 2.4-liter NA, and 1.8-liter turbo, which all made round 220 horsepower.

Execs and Cons


Reasonably priced

You may decide up a T230 Celica for just below $3,000, a cut price for a mid-90s JDM sports activities automobile. Costs differ relying on the 12 months of manufacture and situation of the automobile. Getting an older Celica listed for round a thousand bucks is straightforward, particularly in the event you stroll round recognizing uncared for automobiles or when somebody is promoting a Celica they really feel is crowding their storage.

Discovering a grounded Celica is straightforward, particularly at repossession yards or a automobile public sale. If you’re int flipping automobiles, beginning with simple discover low-end sports activities automobile such because the Celica is among the methods you may climb your approach up. Celicas all the time have a prepared market, whether or not a young person trying to purchase his first JDM automobile or only a Celica fanatic. All of us have addictions, proper?

Some early manufacturing fashions slowly grow to be collectibles, identical to different basic JDM sports activities automobiles. For instance, the first-generation Celica GT costs are roughly $30,000.

Black Toyota Celica GTBlack Toyota Celica GT

Enjoyable to drive

That is the character of all small sports activities automobiles, and the Celica isn’t any exception, no matter 4-cylinder engine banter. VVT-i engines have throttle response, particularly at excessive RPMs.

A Celica with an automated transmission may not be enjoyable to drive in comparison with a handbook one, however it makes newbie automobile to study with. To reinforce your driving expertise, you may straight pipe your Celica and set up bucket seats for that further sporty really feel.

Larger spec Celicas such because the GT-S and the GT-4 had an influence output, and most include a 6-speed handbook transmission. These have a significantly better throttle response and experience high quality than the usual spec fashions.

There have been additionally fashions fitted with the two.0-litre turbocharged 3S-GTE, the one turbocharged engine all through the Celica’s manufacturing. You may add a much bigger turbo and a lightweight tune, thus rising energy output. Extra energy, extra enjoyable.

Low upkeep and working prices

The Celica is ideal if you’re on the lookout for a sports activities automobile that won’t dent you financially relating to upkeep and working prices. The primary cause it’s simple to take care of is due to the easy construct. It might be a draw back in efficiency and aesthetics, however it makes main components accessible for servicing and set up. Moreover, you might be driving a Toyota. What might be actually tough about Toyota upkeep?


You’ll by no means have to fret about poor gasoline consumption in a Toyota Celica. These automobiles will common round 27mpg, and a few will simply common 30mpg. This makes it excellent for commuters, similar to when going to high school or work. If you’re within the temper for a highway journey, replenish your trunk and luxuriate in lengthy stretches with out worrying about gasoline consumption.

All Celica generations have a median reliability score of 4.0/5.0 with few unavoidable points that useful storage expertise can repair. It’s best to think about an engine overhaul, suspension, and transmission rebuild if you’re not sure in regards to the automobile’s situation or in the event you discover early indicators of part failure.

Sturdy engines

The engine choices obtainable within the Toyota Celica may not be those obtainable within the indestructible Hilux. Nonetheless, they roll out from the identical manufacturing plant. Even the 95-horsepower engine used within the A20 Celica will outlive most fashionable engines, however provided that maintained properly.

Nevertheless, squeezing huge energy outputs from these engines will solely cut back the sturdiness. Including a turbocharger equipment is greater than sufficient. Nonetheless, earlier than you try this, you must consider the engine’s situation earlier than you find yourself with a warped manifold or, worse, a cracked block.

Celicas make good venture automobiles

There’s no venture too restricted for JDM sports activities automobiles, from engine swaps and drift builds to constructing a minimalist every day driver Celica. Most Celica house owners will do an engine swap with huge beauty mods because the solely tunable engine able to cheap energy output is the 3S-GTE.

It additionally doesn’t make sense to solely use greater than $10,000 to achieve an additional 100 horsepower. The Celica will simply match a 2JZ, 1JZ, or perhaps a 3UZ. However you aren’t restricted solely to Toyota engines. K24, RB, and 13B swaps are a number of the different choices you may think about.

Beauty improve components are simply obtainable in the event you love the engine as is and also you’d love to enhance your Celica’s look. Nevertheless, Celica house owners have been recognized to go overboard with beauty upgrades similar to putting in Lamborghini-inspired scissor doorways. Effectively, in the event you really feel like doing it, go for it. It’s your automobile and nobody else’s.

Good wanting

Other than the surplus RICE mods, Celicas do look good. Particularly the T180 with the pop-up headlights and the T200 with twin headlights that seem like bug eyes. You don’t actually should go overkill mode when modifying the looks of your Celica. An excellent paint job, coil-over springs, and a few wheels will suffice even on a T230.

White Toyota CelicaWhite Toyota Celica

Varied aftermarket producers make beauty improve components similar to aspect skirts, fenders, and bumpers. Most of that are inexpensive except you need carbon fibre or custom-made panels. When you have the talents fabricating such components from fibreglass or sheet steel shouldn’t be that onerous.


Small cabin and trunk area

The Toyota Celica was designed as a 4-seater, however it’s extra like a 2- seater with 4 seats. If you’re above 6-foot in top, you may discover it arduous driving the Celica. The rear seat barely has sufficient legroom to suit a child. The headroom can be decreased considerably because of the receding roofline.

Most Celica house owners take away the rear seats and attempt to create extra legroom within the entrance seats or hold the rear seats however use them as further storage because the trunk area isn’t that good both. The centre console additionally takes up some cabin area as it’s too broad, which is able to make the motive force and the entrance seat passenger uncomfortable.

The Celica isn’t a automobile you’d use for mall runs after work to do some heavy grocery buying or drive long-distance with pals. It’s a one-passenger sports activities automobile, perhaps your companion whom you get pleasure from lengthy drives. Strive carrying an additional passenger within the rear seat, they usually’ll soar ship earlier than you hit the freeway.

Inside storage can be not that good for storing something both. The glovebox is just too small, and the sprint pockets barely match a water bottle.

Bumpy experience

One of many primary causes it’s endorsed to swap out the Outdated suspension in a Celica or think about a Suspension rebuild is the experience really feel. It’s regular for OEM springs to wear down by way of use and abuse, however in Celicas, they put on out too quickly for a automobile that hardly weighs 2700 kilos. Suppose your Celica nonetheless has the OEM suspension. In that case, you’ll most likely expertise a bumpy and tough experience quickly, no matter whether or not they’re in good situation.

The primary weak spot is within the entrance suspension. Like another front-wheel-drive automobile, the entrance suspension will put on out rapidly, particularly if the automobile is in fixed use. A number of the early indicators you must discover are vibrations and squealing from the entrance wheels when cornering or braking.

Highway noise

Highway noise is unavoidable in older JDM sports activities automobiles as they don’t include assists that cut back or forestall it. Suppose you might be the kind of one who loves a silent drive with none noise. You may think about automobile insulation which reduces however doesn’t fully remedy the highway noise downside.

Low-quality inside

Toyota makes dependable and sturdy automobiles, however the inside high quality is all the time common and generally beneath common, relying on the automobile. If the inside of your automobile is in good situation and elements are fabricated from high quality materials, you’ll really feel higher driving it than a automobile with a poor inside high quality which, on this case, is the Celica.

The material seats put on out faster than you count on cloth seats to wear down. However by the point the material is tearing, the seat padding will already be gone. Different points embrace the dashboard cracking and rattling, steering and shift knob cowl warping, and the ground insulation mats exposing the steel beneath. 

Typically mechanical elements fail, and you may’t roll up the home windows or lock the doorways, which places your automobile and no matter is in it in danger.

Low experience top

The bottom clearance on a Celica is best than a Toyota MR-2. Nonetheless, it’s additionally not supreme for driving on bumpy roads. In case you take a look at a Celica from the aspect, you’ll discover that the rear finish seems lifted. The entrance finish is a few inches decrease which raises the chance of the bumper scraping off curbs or hitting excessive bumps.

Celica components are low cost, and you may fabricate them simply you probably have the talents, however this doesn’t imply that you simply go driving wherever you’re feeling like, as you’ll incur extra restore prices. When you have a rally-spec Celica GT-4, you may attempt some filth highway driving. However you must test the monitor earlier than you try this as you’ll be driving a 30-year-old automobile, and something may fail or fall off anytime.

Widespread points


A little bit rust will not be too dangerous of a purple flag on older automobiles, however it happens in locations you’d by no means count on in a Celica. After checking the standard spots beneath the automobile and the engine bay for rust, make sure that you take away the ground’s padding. The ground sheet steel is extra vulnerable to rust than another half in a Celica. You may be getting in your automobile, and your foot goes proper by way of the ground.

Additionally, test all joints for rust. These embrace the doorways, trunk, and hood hinges, and if the rubber encompass seal is worn out, it needs to be changed instantly earlier than moisture and salts leak by way of the cracks.

Failing electronics

This can be a frequent challenge in previous automobiles. One of many first works you must think about is rewiring the whole electrical system in your Celica. This prevents main electrical part failure similar to starter motor failure or minor points similar to windshield wiper failure and stereo failure.

If a few of these electrical elements have been by no means changed by way of the automobile’s possession, you must think about changing them. Begin with elements you can’t do with out, such because the headlights and blinkers, then consolation components such because the AC system and the stereo.

Brake failure

Suppose the automobile nonetheless has the manufacturing facility braking system. It’s best to most likely think about altering it, particularly if the automobile has excessive mileage or exhibits indicators of fixed use. Most Celicas have a calliper and rotor setup on the entrance tires and a drum brake on the rear tires, which rapidly wears out. The drum brake primarily fails resulting from self-adjuster failure or the brake lining wears out.

Outdated drum brakes are likely to have inside corrosion, resulting in the adjuster failing. It’s best to think about a brand new drum brake setup or change to a calliper and rotor setup, which reduces the chance of brake failure and improves dealing with.

Common costs

You’ll simply decide up a Toyota Celica for beneath $4,000, with costs rising or reducing relying on the automobile’s situation. Fortunately there’s nothing particular about Celicas that may trigger a speedy enhance within the worth except it’s a GT-4 or an early manufacturing Celica GT.

For top spec and uncommon fashions such because the GT-4 or the S204 (convertible), you’ll pay extra for them than a normal mannequin as they’re priced roughly at $17,000.

Comparable options

Fashions and specs

1970-1997 Toyota Celica (A20, A30)

Red Toyota CelicaRed Toyota Celica

The primary-gen Celica shares the Identical platform because the Toyota Carina. These automobiles have been unveiled on the 1970 Tokyo Motor Present in Japan. At the moment, Nissan was additionally starting manufacturing of the 240Z. The Celica additionally featured carbureted engines identical to the Datsun 240Z.

The primary-gen Celica was obtainable in each liftback and coupe configurations. Liftback fashions have a straight sloping roof as an alternative of the curved sloping roof within the coupe fashions.

Grey Toyota CelicaGrey Toyota Celica

Toyota fitted a 1.4-litre, 1.6-liter, 1.9-liter, 2.0-liter, and a couple of.2-liter engine on the Celica. Larger trims such because the GT and GT-V include both a 1.6-litre twin-cam or a 2-litre twin-cam, which had the next energy output at manufacturing.

Energy is shipped to the rear wheels through a 4/5-speed handbook or a 3-speed automated transmission. Nevertheless, all fashions with the twin-cam engine are solely obtainable with a 5-speed handbook transmission. Base trim fashions have 1.4-liter engines, and most of them include a 3-speed automated transmission.

Luxurious wasn’t that essential on the time of manufacturing. Nonetheless, Toyota tried to make the inside of upper trim fashions higher. You’ll get higher cloth seats on a Celica GT.

1977-1981 Toyota Celica (A40, A50)

Yellow Toyota CelicaYellow Toyota Celica

Just like the first-gen Celica, the second-gen Celica can be obtainable in coupe and liftback physique configurations. A sedan physique configuration referred to as the Celica Camry was additionally made. Nonetheless, Toyota discontinued it from the Celica lineup lengthy with the Celica Supra. The Celica Supra and the Celica Camry have been manufactured as unbiased fashions, and each are nonetheless in manufacturing up to now.

There was additionally a Sunchaser mannequin made, which had a soft-top convertible roof, however few items have been produced. Engine choices embrace a 1.6-litre, 1.8-liter, 2.0-liter, 2.2-liter, and a couple of.4-liter engine. Base fashions primarily got here with the 1.6-litre or 1.8-litre engine driving the rear wheels through a 3-speed or 4-speed automated.

Larger spec fashions got here with the bigger engines additionally driving the rear wheels however most had the 5-speed handbook transmission. The Celica Supra additionally referred to as the Celica XX or the Celica 2000G, was made as a liftback. It has a 2.6-litre inline-6 which produced round 115 horsepower at manufacturing.

1981-1985 Toyota Celica (A60)

White Toyota CelicaWhite Toyota Celica

The coupe physique model was discontinued. The Third-gen Celica was solely bought as a liftback or a notchback coupe that resembles a pick-up truck with a coated mattress. It was extra like a sedan to most individuals, and it had lesser gross sales than the liftback mannequin. There was additionally the Convertible mannequin, and it was primarily bought within the US badged as a Celica GT-S.

You may get the A60 Celica with the next engine choices; a 1.6-litre, 1.8-litre, 2.0-liter, and a couple of.4-liter engine mated to a 4-speed automated transmission. Like its predecessors, the Third-gen Celica can be RWD. Base trim fashions have the 1.6-litre and the 1.8-litre engines, whereas higher-spec fashions have the 1.8-litre twin-cam engine, 2.0-litre engine, and the two.4-litre engine.

In 1982 Toyota unveiled the Celica Twin-cam Turbo just for the Japanese market. Only a few have been bought to the general public, as most have been made for rallying. The 1.8-liter turbocharged twin-cam engine (3T-GTE) produced round 180 horsepower within the manufacturing mannequin. The rally-spec is made at round 320-horsepower at manufacturing and is taken into account essentially the most highly effective Celica ever made.

White Toyota CelicaWhite Toyota Celica

1985-1989 Toyota Celica (T160)

Red Toyota CelicaRed Toyota Celica

In 1985 Toyota discontinued the RWD chassis, and all Celicas produced since then have an FWD chassis. The coupe physique configuration returned alongside the liftback configuration. Nevertheless, it nonetheless seemed like a sedan, and most prospects went for the liftback or the soft-top convertible.

You get the T160 Celica with both a 1.6-litre, 1.8-litre, or 2.0-litre engine coupled to a 4-speed automated or 5-speed handbook transmission. The AWD Celica GT-4 was unveiled within the USA in 1988 and was referred to as the Turbo All-Trac in different markets aside from Japan. It has the 3S-GTE, which made round 240 horsepower at manufacturing.

In contrast to the Celica Twin-cam Turbo, Toyota made extra items of the GT-4. It was extra obtainable to the general public however at nearly double the worth of a base-spec mannequin with the 1.6-litre engine.

1989-1993 Toyota Celica (T180)

Blue Toyota CelicaBlue Toyota Celica

The 1989 Celica emerged with an all-new “rounder” physique which improved aerodynamics. When it was first unveiled, there was a priority that it might be heavier than its predecessors, compromising dealing with. Nonetheless, there was no important distinction in weight between the T180 and the T160 Celica.

Engine choices have been just like these supplied within the T160 Celica. Nonetheless, the 1.8-litre and a couple of.4-litre engines have been discontinued, and a brand new 2.2-litre engine was launched. Base fashions largely include the 1.6-litre and a couple of.0-litre engines driving the entrance wheels through a 4-speed or 5-speed automated transmission. Larger-spec fashions have a 2.2-litre engine with the identical transmission choices.

The notchback coupe began being accepted slowly, however including a rear spoiler within the liftback made prospects lean in the direction of the liftback. Nevertheless, if you wish to set up a big wing, you’ll should take away the whole rear roof within the liftback because the manufacturing facility spoiler is moulded onto it.

1993-1999 Toyota Celica (T200)

Black Toyota CelicaBlack Toyota Celica

The sixth-gen Celica is taken into account the best-looking Celica. In reality, whenever you take a look at it from the aspect, it nearly resembles its larger brother, the Supra. It was obtainable in coupe, convertible smooth prime, and liftback physique configurations like earlier generations. Nonetheless, there’s not a lot distinction between the 2 in the event you look nearer. Most individuals wouldn’t inform the distinction between a liftback and coupe mannequin if not for the massive spoiler on the liftback mannequin.

A brand new 1.8-litre engine, additionally used within the Toyota Corolla, was used alongside the two.0-litre and a couple of.2-litre engines. The Celica GT-4 with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine (3S-GTE) was revealed in 1994. Energy output was round 250 horsepower for non-Japanese fashions. Compared, Japanese fashions have been restricted to 240 horsepower at manufacturing.

The 3S-GTE was so good that Toyota used it in different automobiles just like the Caldina GT-T. It was extra like a Household rally wagon. It’s additionally the one turbocharged manufacturing engine used all through Celica’s manufacturing years. In case you discover a Celica GT-4 in good situation, you can also make respectable energy if the engine is in good situation.

1999-2006 Toyota Celica (T230)

Black Toyota CelicaBlack Toyota Celica

That is the last-generation Celica produced between 1999 and 2006. It was extra just like the Celica’s final dying kicks as nothing too particular revolves round it.

The 1.8-litre engine within the T230 Celica was supplied in two variations, 1ZZ-FE and 2ZZ-FE, driving the entrance wheels through a 4-speed automated or a 5/6-speed handbook transmission. The 2ZZ makes extra energy (180 horsepower) than the 1ZZ (140-horsepower) primarily due to its bigger bore and shorter stroke.

No turbocharged, RWD, or AWD variations of the T230 Celica have been made. Nevertheless, this was the primary Celica to function a premium JBL stereo, leather-based seats, chilly cargo storage, energy home windows and door, and a 6-disc CD changer.

Security was considerably improved within the T230 Celica as ABD, passenger airbags, and side-impact airbags have been commonplace.

Manufacturing numbers

No particular manufacturing figures are supplied for the Celica per era. Nonetheless, when manufacturing led to 2006, 4,129,626 items have been produced. 


Is the Toyota Celica Quick?

The Toyota Celica is a sports activities automobile, however it isn’t that quick because it has much less energy output than most of its opponents. It’s additionally heavier because it weighs round 2700 kilos. However you may nonetheless hole some fashionable automobiles with one.

Can I swap engines in a Toyota Celica?

Sure. The engine bay is giant sufficient to suit a V6 or perhaps a V8 in the event you put some work into it. Since larger engines have extra energy outputs, it’s important to think about upgrading suspension and drivetrain elements, wheels and the braking system.

Is the Toyota Celica low cost?

Relies on the spec and the situation it’s in. A banged-up base trim Celica will value you beneath $1,000, and also you may even get it totally free from an previous man who had it saved away in his barn and has no use for it. However, a high-spec mannequin similar to a GT-4 or a 1973 Celica GT will value you something from $17,000.

Is the Toyota Celica Dependable?

Sure. Very Dependable certainly. If you’re on the lookout for a sports activities automobile with low upkeep prices, the Celica is the automobile for you. Components are simple to seek out, and you may salvage hunt from Corollas in a scrapyard because the Celica is only a corolla with a sportier physique.

How lengthy will a Toyota Celica final?

 A Celia will final for so long as you need it to as sturdiness will depend on upkeep. Not that it’ll fail on you in the event you skip one oil change, however Toyota automobiles are recognized to last more with little upkeep.

Does the Toyota Celica maintain its worth?

No. A Toyota Celica won’t respect or maintain its worth except it’s a restricted version such because the GT-4 or an early manufacturing mannequin. It’s one of many automobiles you purchase to drive and have enjoyable with whereas studying some primary mechanical works.

How one can import a Toyota Celica

Learn our Final Information on How to Import a Car from Japan

  • Sources
    • Carproblemzoo.com
    • Cpgnation.com
    • Celicahobby.com
    • ToyotaCelicas.com
    • Truedelta.com
    • Featured Picture by Security Insured

Christopher joined jdmbuysell.com in 2018 as an automotive Journalist and now has oversees all communications with consumers & sellers.

Christopher WeydertChristopher Weydert
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