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Autotrader Find: 1981 Toyota Celica with Under 100,000 Miles


Today’s Autotrader find is a rare 1981 Toyota Celica.  The second-generation Celica was sold for just the 1978 through 1981 model years.  It was designed in the US and offered in both coupe and liftback forms.  Notably, a convertible version of the second-gen Celica, dubbed the ‘SunChaser’ was offered, though only 2,000 were built in total.  Two trims were offered for this generation; ST and GT, with the GT being the nicer of the two. Altogether, the Celica was sold over seven generations from 1971 through 2006 and generally adhered to a sporty, two-door form factor, though it hardly placed a high priority on performance.  It did spawn the legendary Supra though, which debuted in 1979 as the Toyota Celica Supra, and only dropped the Celica prefix ahead of the 1987 model year.

What we’re looking at here is a 1981 Toyota Celica coupe.  A GT model, power comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, upgraded from a 2.2-liter offered the previous year.  That’s mated to a five-speed manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels; the Celica wouldn’t move to a front-wheel drive architecture until 1986.  The exterior color is Desert Sand Mica over a ‘Wheat’ interior. There isn’t a ton that makes an old Celica noteworthy other than the fact that Japanese cars from this era are extremely rare, and are a unique sight on the road today.  This vintage Celica would certainly stand out in any parking lot, and would undoubtedly turn heads at most car shows.  According to the listing, this one was a trade-in, and there are just under 98,700 miles on the odometer; pretty low for a 40 year-old vehicle.  It’s located at a dealership in Springfield, MO with an asking price of $7,450. Find a Toyota Celica for sale

Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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