Saturday, March 29, 2014

5k: Yellow Bird: 1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback

The first generation Toyota Celica was built from 1970 through 1977 and sold in large quantities as a Japanese sushi sized antidote to the bloated cheeseburger 'Merican sports coupes of the day.  In 1976 a liftback version was released in North America that resembled a 7/8ths scale Mustang, but regardless the Celica is the classic Japanese pony car to get.  Find this 1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback for sale in Arcadia, CA currently bidding for $5,045 with less than 1 day to go.

Folks joke about the Celica liftback looking like a 69/70 Mustang, but the tri-bar rear tail lamps and rear 3/4 view is pure Mustang fastback.  The similarities stop at costmetic, because the little 1977 Celica is  anything but a big fat bloated '71-'73 Mustang and much better looking than the Mustang II.  

Power comes from a 2.2 liter Toyota 20R engine that puts out 117 horsepower into a 5-speed manual gearbox and into the rear wheels via a solid rear axle. The first generation Celica is pretty basic, but that's part of the appeal - no gimmicks or smog choked low-compression V8, just a simple two-valve SOHC inline-4 that does the job without complaining.

Inside we can see the original long throw shifter, plastic fake-burl wood grain dash, and period correct simulated sheep skin seat covers. We would grow out our mustaches and don pairs of Aviators while cruising back in time in this baby. The original brown hard plastic dash appears to have a few cracks, but no San Andres fault.  There isn't much space inside one of these Celicas - a 1970's Toyota feels laughably compact by today's standards - but with that compactness comes light weight, fuel efficiency and fun!

See a better yellow fastback?



  1. Boy did I want this car when I was 23. Today, I can live without it. My dream car now is a Fiat Dino.

  2. Had one in this exact color combination in college (x w/ a slush box) in college. Check the hatch window seals and rubber hatch gasket --- water can leak into the spare tire well and then the whole thing will rest on the gas tank....(lesson learned). Indestructible otherwise...sister t-boned a GMC van that ran a stop sign - van totaled, repaired the Celica and drove it another 50K. 20R engine is pretty much bullet proof. Later had a '74 w/ an 18R-G. That is the engine they should have put in these.

    You guys have been two for two in the last two posts with cars our family has owned --- the AW11 too... same color w/ spoiler.



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