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1978 Toyota Celica GT

Asian, Classics  /   /  By Steve Haas

eBay Listing: 1978 Toyota Celica

The recent introduction of the Scion FR-S would lead a newcomer to believe that rear wheel drive 2+2 sports cars were a new discovery for Toyota. Rather, the company has a long history of making sporty cars and one of their longest-lived nameplates was Celica. The first three generations of the Celica were rear wheel drive and helped build the foundation for Toyota’s reputation in the United States.

This 1978 Celica is from the first year of the car’s second generation. Relative to current expectations of performance this car seems like a relic. However, when one contemplates what else was available on the market in 1978 this shines in a brighter light. For example, when the Chevy Corvette came standard with but 185 horsepower from it’s 5.7 L V8, the 95 horsepower from the 2.2L four cylinder 20R engine is actually proportionally about the same as the new FR-S to a contemporary Corvette.

These were also practical cars, and the liftback design with fold-down rear seats gave the car surprising carrying capacity. Because of their practical nature and their now legendary reputation for reliability, low-mileage examples are few and far between. Rust protection in the 1970s was also not what we’ve come to expect today, so this is an even rarer find; a low mileage unmolested car from a dry climate.

The example listed here claims to have just over 41,000 original miles and is reported to wear the car’s original yellow paint. The sporty black vinyl seats and interior also appear to be all original, even sporting a bit of sun fading on the rear carpets… a reason many of these wore shading louvers in their day.
This is an interesting example of a car that most of us would hesitate to call a “collector car.” However, the best examples of any car can sometimes become collectible simply by surviving. Celicas like these were great sellers for Toyota and they used to be quite common on the road. When was the last time you saw one?

Click the link to view the listing and its extensive photo gallery before the auction expires on Apr 09, 201318:20:11 PDT: 1978 Toyota Celica

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  1. Tom April 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm Reply

    I saw one when I looked out on my driveway! :), unfortunately didn’t rust proof it when I got it! Now near mechanically perfect with 22R Block/ 20R head and performance goodies, might consider this unmolested one should the price be right. I KNOW FOR FACT this SOLD in Wisconsin 3-4 weeks ago for $6500… If The Almighty God wants me to have this one, Vs. the Blue one in California, I will know soon! Only thing missing is the roll open sunroof from my favorite one ever.


  2. Debbie May 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm Reply

    Looks familiar, but my 1980 one was brown, and not too pristine!!

  3. jason May 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm Reply

    My first car I bought when I was 17 was a 1978 Celica GT coupe. Dark copper brown. It was 6 years old when I bought it. It had 64,00 kilometres(40,000 miles)when I got it. I drove it for 7 years(like I stole it) and sold it at 265,000km’s. It still ran like a Swiss watch, didn’t burn any oil. Sometimes I wish I still had it, but life moves on, unfortunately. If my Celica could talk, It could write a book :-D.

  4. Kathi July 2, 2013 at 6:12 am Reply

    I had this exact car (yellow GT 5 Speed Liftback) bought new in June 1978. Mine had the rear window louvers. Loved that car, but it rusted like crazy. Traded it in late 1983 for a Daytona Turbo. But I had a LOT of fun in that little Celica! The person who posted that one sold for $6500 – that is about what I paid for mine in ’78!

  5. Sean Markey November 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm Reply

    I own a 78 gt coupe with luvers on rear window its rust free and drive it every day I can’t find one like it anywhere does anyone have some insight on it let me no thanks

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