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Why I hate Toyota Celicas... 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:15 am
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Car(s): 1965 Wasp, 1966 Bellett sedan, 1966 RatBellett sedan, 1967 Bellett GT, 1978 Gemini van, 1994 LS400, 2004 VY SS Sandman
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You know what I hate? I hate Toyota Celicas.

Never a car so awesome has been ground into putty to the point it was pointless.

The first Celicas were hot little cars. Jap-spec muscle cars in their style and flair, with pillarless windows and frameless doors. Sure, we got some fairly mundane versions here in Australia, but nothing a spanner and a Webber carburettor couldn't fix. The TA22 had a pert, round bum, Coke-bottle hipline and just cried out for a deep-dish 13"x8" set of Hotwire alloy wheels all 'round. And that's what they got.

Then they introduced the lift back TA27/RA25. The lift back had a definite mini-Mustang look around the back end and fussy detailing at the front. But despite the dilution of the overall awesomeness of the Celica, the lift back was pretty cool. And people did them up. Especially with Webbers and fat Hotwire alloy wheels.

Then, in 1977, something awful happened. With apologies to our US members, an American named David Stollery was allowed to re-style the car. The RA40 Celica was visually heavy, overly long, more than a bit fat and was over-styled at the front, with a slim grille and a quartet of "I didn't expect you to take me from behind, Guv'er!" headlights expressing extreme surprise. People like their sports cars to be lots of things, but being surprised isn't one of them.

The coupe looked both surprised AND a bit unco-ordinated, but the lift back was a bit like a surprised cockroach, except that it was about 18 metres long. The only saving grace of this model was the introduction of the heroically powerful Toyota Celica Supra six cylinder version, however this version never came to Australia and is, at best, dismissed as a legend.

The update model featured square headlights and a stern look, a bit like what Sam the Eagle from The Muppets would look like if he were a Toyota Celica. Regardless though, there was no toughness, coolness or sleekness, just stern-ness.

Things got marginally better when, in 1981, Toyota released the RA60 range. Although shaped more or less like a half-eaten wedge of cheese, the notchback and the liftback looked fairly sleek from a 1980's point-of-view, especially when the 1982 update included proper pop-up headlights, rather than the flattened-trilobite-look of the original RA60. Better still, the six cylinder Celica Supra became available locally and was best experienced in third gear on a greasy road. Featuring bulging wheelarches, deep-dish alloys and a unique roof spoiler, some of these go-fast accessories found their way onto lesser Celicas both via vehicle customisation and from the factory. Just not here.

While looking positive, engines were typical lack-lustre 1980's instruments of boredom, choked by emissions restrictions and before the magic of electronic fuel injection had been refined and made available en masse.

A completely re-designed ST160 Celica was unleashed on the sports car market in 1985. Drive was now from the front, completely opposite to the original tail-sliding, oversteering rear wheel drive examples. This change was made because by 1985, no Celica owners tail-slid or oversteered. In fact, Celica owners did not even know which end of the car it drove from. This is because they were now all hairdressers. It looked pretty good; it was stylish and a lot smoother than the ol' cheese trilobite that preceded it but, it was no longer a driver's car. And the only reason that non-hairdressers bought it, was because there was an AWD version that was going to become a rally legend. Except they didn't buy that version, because it was too expensive.

The ST180 model that replaced it was pleasingly evolotionary in its styling, something that is often sadly lacking from Japanese cars that have no family resemblance to each other. However now it also looked like a sucked lozenge. In all fairness, the rally version GT-Four was now the hero car and embarking on what would become a renaissance for Toyota's rally efforts, however this didn't matter because the non-GT-Four versions were essentially Toyota Camrys with a lozenge-shaped coupe body. And the last of the generation, the ST200 really didn't change much, except now it had the face of a guppy, something the Honda Integra did with much more success.

For the new Millenium, Toyota released the final Celica, the ST230. While Celica in name, this heralded as big a change as the move to front-wheel drive in 1985. The entire car was redesigned for cashed-up Generation Xers who were lusting after aforementioned Honda Integras. Toyota ditched the Camry engine and designed a high-revving, VVTi-equipped, premium unleaded-only machine. In doing so, they alienated their core market; hairdressers and middle-aged female empty-nester real-estate agents. The torquey characteristics of the Camry-derived 2.2 litre four cylinder were replaced with a machine more suited to powering a caffinated chihuahua than a ladies sports coupe. The engine lacked any torque and would only deliver power when revved from about 5000rpm onwards. Of course, we all know that most car owners believe their car is dying if it is revving beyond 3000rpm, so the final Celica pretty much missed the mark. And it looked like a door chock.

Along with the mid-engined MR2 and the super-powerful Supra, the Celica gave Toyota a sporty image, even if it did not deserve to. In gratitude, Toyota killed off all three within the space of a year or two...and have still sold record amounts of cars since.

So I hate the Celica, not for what it was, but for what it became.

Cheers,



Dave

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Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:34 pm
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"looked like a sucked Lozenge !!" "powering a caffinated Chihuahua !!" and resembling a "door chock" :lol: :lol:

From it's spunky conception to it's mundane demise as a modern wadster. Through it's fortunate longevity, you have captured an era well visualized in my mind. No fotos needed.

B.

btw, boys talk in the late 70's, refered to as a "sillycar"


Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:53 pm
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i agree with the newer hairdresser versions, but dave............ the ra40........
what about the ra40r??????????? the one with the 2tg twin cam, then the 18rg twin cam. they flew!
peter williamson raced a couple very successfully at the mountain, and became the FIRST car to show live TV pictures to the world from inside the car, known as RACECAM.

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Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:24 am
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Location: Rye Park, N.S.W.
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Yes, there were a sprinkling of hot Celicas in a sea of mundane-ness. I fitted one of those 18 RGU (Yamaha head) motors & cast iron 5 speeds to Tracy's first car, a '65 Fiat 1800, & it made IT fly! Sang at 8000 revs & the first car we had that would hold 110 up catherine hill in 5th gear! After it's sad demise , we gave the mechs to my godson for his mini-mach 1 liftback. That was a sports car!
Agreed, Toyota had a missed opportunity & should have bought hero models out for the enthusiasts, instead they were content to sell the mundane to the hairdressrers. Shame.
But I still got a soft spot for those early examples!
Cheers, Matt.

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Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:30 am
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I hate them too.....that is all.


Zeus


Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:23 am
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Their mechanicals look real good with a Morriss Marina fastback coupe body on them :lol:

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:55 am
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yellowperil wrote:
Their mechanicals look real good with a Morriss Marina fastback coupe body on them :lol:

here we go again....

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Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:35 am
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WASN'T ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:01 am
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Toyota changed the Celica little over the years. An all-cosmetic "Action Package" joined the options list in 2002, and 2003 brought some styling changes inside and out, plus a newly optional JBL stereo and HID xenon headlights. :lol:


Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:26 am
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