Pristine RA24 Toyota Celica at Gerpan 2018
Updated: Mar 20
Some cars need no introduction, they also don't need a vibrant hue or shade of exotic palette to stand out. Of all the cars i enjoyed looking over while visiting the Gerpan meet, it was a brown 70's coupe that caught my eye.
The 70's were a time of reform for the automotive industry, mostly in America we saw the rise of imports as safety and emission standards restricted style along with speed. The Toyota Celica was the fuel-sipping, back road burner for those looking at an alternative to the Camaro and Mustang models offered at the time. This Kouki (post face-lift) model featured all of the styling cues of a sport coupe but with the malaise-era chrome/rubber bumpers meant to increase crash standards at that time.
Regardless of the regulations that were meant to make cars safer and smog-friendly, the RA24 Celica is a sexy hard top coupe. This example is pristine, the tires feature a close to stock size with just enough tire to safeguard the original wheels, the chrome is showroom shiny, all of plastic and rubber look new without wear from the Florida sun. You would think the owner keeps this in a museum more than they drive it, it is refreshing to see a car preserved in this condition.
When you think of classic cars, especially those of the 70's you usually think of plush carpets, wood grain, and vinyl seats that challenge leather. The Celica ST was equipped with all of these options, look at the original gauges, steering wheel, and the radio! Attention to detail in maintaining originality is difficult with the scarcity of parts for cars like this. I didn't have the nerve to try but I believe each and every one of those six horn buttons work like they should. This is a cockpit i'd feel comfortable riding in as I push ever so slightly on the limits if this rear wheel drive icon.
Engines in the rear, forward opening hoods, targa tops; not all of those features exist on this car but were notes taken by Toyota in the past. To give a premium feel to many of their automobiles, Toyota employed design cues from other, more expensive vehicles to nudge their way into the car crazy American culture that continues to grow today. A design major would be able to dissect this picture further but pillar-less windows and wide rear haunches lowers the car visually from a distance while giving you that "fast while standing still" feeling.
Peeking inside to what is usually my favorite feature, the engine! This model was equipped with a single cam, 2.2 L, 20R engine that pumped out a respectful 96 HP and 120 lb-ft of torque. Years ago a carbureted import engine with this kind of power was more than enough to push 2200 lbs of sleek metal around twisty corners, creating fun memories for the people restoring these cars now. It's a nostalgic look back to what cars were, simple, a fan driven by the motor, carburetor air filter, a distributor...you had to know what you were doing under the hood.
I truly enjoy featuring cars like this, giving a bit of insight in to the past that many of us have forgotten or did not exist in. Here at Teq Digest we love classics, whether completely stock or modified to be your own, it is the cars driven by enthusiasts that continue breathing life into the culture.