I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about my habit of browsing Craigslist before, but one of my search terms for a while now has been “Celica GTS”. When that isn’t very successful, I remove the GTS. This time I hit pay dirt. The ad read “Celica GT” but wheels told a different story. Having owned an 87 GT-S years ago and a few lesser models since then I know a thing or two about them. Either the photos were wrong, someone had done a lot of work, or they didn’t know exactly what had. The 4th generation Celica was available in ST, GT, GT-S, and All Trac (or GT4 if you aren’t in this country) trim. Well the All Trac didn’t exist in coupe form, and the ST and GT were 4 lug cars, this had to be a GT-S. Yep the 3SGE that was included under the hood of the GT-S model was different enough for Toyota to upgrade the car to a 5 lug. That was enough for me to go look at it. The truck was actually down for the battery upgrade so looking was all I could do.
On the first visit anyway. The second visit was obviously a different story.
So just like the ad said the car didn’t start, and I still haven’t found time to try and fire it yet. Obviously the car has a few issues in addition to fact that it doesn’t run.
In addition to the missing front lip (above), we have a broken tail light, missing mirror, and just generally some pretty shoddy body work. That doesn’t even get to where they painted over the decals on the spoiler, or the scratches all over the trunk.
The interior is a mix of good and bad. I love the design of these cars. The door panel layout is a miniature version of the A70 Supra, as are the seats. The problem is the car sat too long, and the rodents got to the upholstery. Not a single seat survived untouched.
Apparently the previous owner was an auto shop teacher which is where the car was stored for a lot of years with a rod through the block. Eventually they swapped a used “JDM Engine” into it.
Like all good project cars, it comes with spare parts in the trunk.
The “pièce de résistance”. The first gen 3SGE Engine. I have found memories of this engine in my last Celica GT-S and was pretty excited when I was doing Camry research and found out this was an option in the v10 chassis in Japan. That is of course why I sought out this car and why I jumped at this car for the price. The real problem I have is that I was really hoping to find the car wrecked. While this car isn’t perfect, it is pretty nice, and I don’t know if I can bring myself to part out the interior or let the body go. As an added bonus if I do keep it I could fulfill the dream I had back in the day of doing the 3SGTE swap. Hmmmm.