Rare Rides: The 1983 Toyota Celica, a Sporting Cabriolet
Today we feature the first Toyota Celica presented in the Rare Rides series. It’s beige, very Eighties, and was converted to a convertible after it arrived in the United States. And the lights flip up!
Toyota’s Celica was born late in 1970, as a pony-car competitor to the successful Ford Mustang. As the first-gen model gave way to a second for the 1978 model year, Celica grew in all dimensions. The same occurred again for its third A60 generation, which entered production in summer 1981 for the ’82 model year.
The formula for the new Celica was much the same as before: Engine at the front, driven wheels at the rear, and a stylish body in the middle. While the original Celica was a bit curvaceous, the model’s second and third albums upped the square factor considerably. It’d be fair to award the A60 Celica with the Most Square Celica Ever title. Underneath the new body was a variety of engines depending on trim and market. The smallest power on offer came from a 1.6-liter inline-four (the 2T-B), while the largest engine available was the 2.4-liter 22R shared with the Toyota Pickup. All engines were inline-four in arrangement and paired to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual. Three different versions of the five-speed were offered during the A60’s life.
The Celica received a few updates in North America, notably fuel injection in cars built after August 1982, where the 22R became 22R-E. To utilize the revamped 22R-E, Toyota introduced the GT-S model in North America. This more powerful version was meant to help claw back some of the sports-car appeal the Celica lost as it got bigger and gained weight over the years. There was a global facelift for the 1984 model year, where concealed pop-up headlamps replaced the flip-up ones, along with a more modern grille treatment featuring a flush section, a new lower front spoiler, and different tail lamps at the rear.
The third generation continued the more formal notchback coupe and faster-looking liftback body styles, but in 1983 added a third option: A cabriolet. Built only for the American market, Toyota contracted with ASC to chop the top off 200 Celicas in 1983. Sales were hot enough for Toyota to order more and continued to build facelifted convertibles in 1984 and 1985 (facelifted version shown above). All 1983 convertibles were ST trim, while ’84-’85 convertibles were the new and spicy GT-S.
Celica’s A60 generation remained in production through 1985 and was replaced with the more modern (and front-drive) T160 for the 1986 model year. Toyota softened the sharp edges and modernized the affordable sports car’s powertrain. But they kept the pop-up lamps. ASC kept on converting Celicas into convertibles during the T160 generation, with the added ask of modification of right-hand-drive examples for the Japanese market.
Today’s Rare Ride is one of 200 initial year, pre-facelift carbureted Celica convertibles. With 117,000 miles, it’s in excellent condition. The seller assures the value on these is skyrocketing, so strike while the iron’s hot. Would make a great car for driving, or for sitting in while not driving. Yours for $8,900.