Celica was originally designed for motorists motorists who love fun and style, and more than just a simple means of transportation.
The name is derived from the Latin word célico meaning "from the heavens" or "celestial".
Through all generations, Celicas have been built around Toyota’s high-performance inline-4 engines.
The plans for the Celica started in 1967.
First generation (1970-1977)
The first generation Celica was released to the market in 1970,at 1970 Tokyo Motor Show in October.It was a "cut-down" version of Toyota’s supercar, the 2000GT, so it was a relatively affordable sports car.
Based on the EX-1 "Car of the Future" prototype, its styling was quite revolutionary for the day.
The Celica was Toyota’s version of the Mustang - an image car rather than a high-volume car.
The first generation came out in two different versions, the LT and ST.
The lower-end LT was equipped with a 2T carbureted four-cylinder engine displacing 1600 cc, while the ST came with a twin Solex-carburetor 2T-B engine.
The Celica sold well from the outset, its first major change or addition taking place in 1974 with the addition of the GT model.The 2T-G that powered the high-end GT model was a DOHC twin-Solex carburetor 1600 cc engine.
The GT model came with various upgrades like underbody spoilers, tinted windows, different hood flutes, power windows, air conditioning, GT front grill, and shared a few things with the ST - a full-length center console and oil pressure/ammeter gauges, rather than the LT’s warning lights.
There was also a GTV version, which could even be considered a hybrid between the GT and LT versions, as it had the 2T-G engine, with a slightly cut-down interior, and did not come with things like power windows, but they were optional. The GTV has firmer suspension
In 1974, 1976 and 1977 Celica wins Motor Trend "Import Car of the Year."
In 1976, the Celica line was enlarged with the addition of the liftback model, available only in GT trim.The Liftback was introduced for Japanese market in April 1973, but not until 1976 for North America.
The GT package included the larger engine, offered sportier handling and a higher-grade trim. This model was marketed as a sport-touring type vehicle, offering greater comfort and luggage capacity than the standard models.
The first Celica for North America, 1971 ST was powered by 1.9 liter 8R engine. The 1972-1974 models have 2.0 liter 18R engine. For 1975-1977, engine for the North American Celica is 2.2 liter 20R. The Celica GT and LT models were introduced in the U.S. for the 1974 model year. The top-line GT included a 5-speed manual transmission, rocker panel GT stripes, and styled steel wheels with chrome trim rings. The LT was marketed as an economy model. Mid-1974 saw minor changes in the Celica’s trim and badges.
In June 1977 Celica reache one million models produced.
The very first entry for Celica in the World Rally Championship was in 1972 RAC Rally when Ove Andersson drove TA22 1600GTV into the ninth place.
Second generation (1978-1981)
The second generation Celica was released in 1978,(production began in late 1977) and was again available in both ST and GT trim levels.
Power was provided by 2.2-liter engines for both models. This new generation offered more safety, power and economy than previous models, and was awarded Motor Trend’s "Import Car of the Year" for 1978.
The second generation Celica can be broken down into two series of release (known as Series A and Series B). These two Celica’s were only distinguishable by appearance, both having the same engine capacity. Series A Celica’s (1977-1979) were released with round headlights and chrome bumpers for lower grades. The higher grades such as GT has black rubber bumpers. The Series B Celica (1980-1981) was released with square headlights and Black rubber bumpers and various other ’minor’ differences.
In 1980, a four-door version was announced, known as the Toyota Celica Camry. This model was a Toyota Carina with a Celica front end. The Camry was spun off as its own model two years later.
The limited edition "US Grand Prix" GT Liftback was offered in 1980, and in 1981 the GTA Coupe was released to celebrate the Celica 10th Anniversary.
There were about 70 different models of 2nd generation Celica ever sold in Japan.
Third generation (1982-1985)
The third generation came in production in 1982.
Styling was changed considerably from previous models and power was now provided by 2.4-liter engines.
In September 1982, the first Celica turbo was launched in Japan. The GT-T has 1.8 liter 3T-GTE engine. In order to meet the FISA Regulation for Group B Rally Car to compete in the World Rally Championship (WRC), 200 units Celica GT-TS were built. These were the basic car for Group B Celica Twincam Turbo (TA64) which built and rallied by Toyota Team Europe
In 1983, Toyota added the GT-S model to the Celica line to re-inject the sports image that Celica had lost as it grew larger and heavier with each subsequent model. The GT-S included larger wheels and tires, fender flares, sports suspension, and a sports interior including special seats and a leather-wrapped steering-wheel and gearshift knob.
Minor changes were given in late 1983 for 1984 model year, and distinguished by the redesigned front end, with fully-closed retractable headlights. Side vents, Hood, grille, tail lights,and bumpers were also new. The GT-R and GT-TR (turbo) were added to the Japanese line up.
Fuel injection became standard on all North American Celica, therefore the 22R engine became 22R-E. The GT-S Convertible, built by American Sunroof Corporation in California, was released in 1984.
Fourth generation (1986-1989)
In the year 1986 the Celica changed completly.
It was now an all-new vehicle with front wheel drive, a rounded, flowing body and new 2.0 L four-cylinder engines. In North America, the Celica was now available in ST, GT and GT-S trim, all available as either coupe or liftback models, with the GT being offered up in a soft-top convertible coupe as well.
STs and GTs came with a 116-horsepower engine, while the GT-S was given a 135-horsepower version of the same 2.0-liter engine. Front-wheel-drive and four-wheel independent suspension made the Celica the perfect all-around sports car.
For Japanese market Toyota introduced the "ultimate Celica", the GT-Four (ST165) in October 1986. With full-time all wheel drive and a turbocharged version of the GT-S 2.0 L engine producing 190 hp (3S-GTE), it immediately took its place as the flagship of the Celica range, and became the official Toyota rally car for all years of production. The GT-Four began exporting for 1988 model year, and marketed in the USA as All-trac Turbo.
In 1988, the ST163 with 4S-Fi engine was added into Japanese line up in ST and SX trim levels.
The ST165 GT-Four made its World Rally debut in 1988 Tour de Corse and finished 6th. The first victory came in 1988 Cyprus (non-WRC), and the first WRC victory in 1989 Rally Australia.
Fifth generation (1990-1993)
The fifth generation Celica was introduced in September 1989.They received revised styling, upgraded wheels and tires, and more power.
Anti-lock brakes were available on all models, as were numerous luxury items — all were standard on the All-Trac model though. With its leather interior, ten-speaker sound1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac system and power-operated driver’s seat and sunroof included as standard equipment, the All-Trac was the most expensive Celica yet. With its 200-horsepower turbocharged engine, it was also the most powerful Celica yet.
Japanese domestic market models are S-R, Z-R, GT-R, Active Sports (with active suspension), and GT-Four.
The S-R and Z-R are powered by 3S-FE engine. The GT-R and Active Sports come with 3S-GE. The 3S-GTE in the GT-Four features air-to-air intercooler and CT26 twin entry turbo to eliminate exhaust gas interference. The Full-time 4WD system in the GT-Four has viscous coupling limited slip center differential and Torsen rear differential
In North America, the GT and GT-S were powered by the 2.2 L 5S-FE, while the ST sported the DOHC 16-valve, 1.6 L 4A-FE. Celica for North America has aero (non-folding) door mirrors, and amber front corner lights.
Trim levels for Europe are 1.6 ST-i, 2.0 GT-i 16, and GT-Four. The 2.0 GT-i 16 Cabriolet was offered only in certain European countries. Models for Australia are SX Coupe, SX Liftback, GT-Four and also 150 units limited edition GT-Four Group A Rallye.
In August 1990, the GT-Four A and Convertible were added into Japanese line up. Super Live Sound System with 10-speakers is standard on the GT-Four A, and optional in other models, but S-R. The 20th Anniversary GT-R came in December 1990 to celebrate 20 years of Celica.
The special rally edition of 5000 units was known as the GT-Four RC in Japan, Carlos Sainz in Europe (in honour of their famous WRC driver), or Group A Rallye in Australia. Special features include:
* a different intercooler which TTE wanted so they could more easily tune their WRC car;
* different hood, the emphasis of which is to get rid of heat as fast as possible, (instead of scooping in air, as is the case with the standard ST185 hood);
* different bumper which is much lighter than the standard one.
Out of 5000 units, 1800 were for Japanese market, 3000 were allocated to Europe, 150 in Australia, 25 in Singapore, and very few made a trip to New Zealand and general markets.
In August 1991 for 1992 model year Toyota facelifted the Celica.
Sixth generation (1994-1999)
The Celica was only available in ST and GT trims in the US for the 1994 model year, but the addition of the optional "sports package" to the GT produced GT-S-like handling. The ST has new 1.8 liter 7A-FE engine, the GT is powered by a 2.2 liter 5S-FE. Styling of the new Celicas was acclaimed by most publications as "Supra-esque" with four exposed headlights. Celicas were available in either coupe or liftback form, with the GT sports package available only on the liftback. New safety equipment in the form of driver (and then later passenger-side) airbags was standard, and anti-lock brakes were available on all models. Many Celicas also sported CFC-free air conditioning.
Production of the All-Trac, or GT-Four as it was known outside the US, continued for the Japanese, Australian, European, and British markets. This version was to be the most powerful Celica produced to date, producing between 240-250 hp from an updated 3S-GTE engine. Influenced strongly by Team Toyota Europe, Toyota’s factory team in the World Rally Championship, the final version of the GT-Four included improvements such as an all aluminum hood to save weight, four-channel ABS, an improved CT20B turbocharger, and Super Strut Suspension. The 2500 homologation cars built to allow Toyota to enter the GT-Four as a Group A car in the World Rally Championship also sported extras such as all of the plumbing required to activate an anti-lag system, a water spray bar for the front Intercooler and an extender spoiler mounted on risers. The car proved to be quite competitive in the 1995 World Championship. However, the team was banned from competition for a year after the car’s single victory due to turbocharger irregularities.
1995 saw the introduction of the third generation convertible. Built off of the GT coupe, the conversion took place in the ASC facility in Rancho Dominguez, California. The vehicle arrived in the US as a partially assembled vehicle. At ASC, the roof was removed and a three-layer insulated and power-operated top was installed, producing a vehicle that was virtually water and windproof.
The 1996 Celica received optional side skirts to improve its aerodynamic efficiency, as well as a redesigned rear spoiler. Also available were optional driving lights in the redesigned grille area (standard on GT models). To celebrate 25 years of Celica, the SS-I and SS-III Special Edition were released in Japan, and the 25th Anniversary ST Limited and GT Convertible marked this occasion in the USA.
For 1997, the only change in the North American Celica was the discontinuation of the GT coupe. Another minor change was given to JDM Celica in December 1997. Projector headlights are optional for all models. The 3S-GE engine on SS-II and SS-III received VVT-i, the SS-III was given a Beams Tuned 3S-GE engine. WRC style high rear spoiler returned on the GT-Four and also standard on the SS-III.
In 1998, the ST model was discontinued to simplify the Celica ordering process. All Celicas in North America (coupe, liftback and convertible) were now GT models.
The 1998 models have 3 spoke sporty steering wheel and the deletion of front strut bar. Based on the 1.8 ST, Toyota GB released the Celica SR with lowered suspension, bigger alloys, and mesh grille.
In 1999, the Celica lineup was simplified even further with the elimination of the coupe model. The Celica was now available as a GT Liftback or a GT Convertible. The GT-Four was still offered in Japan. Also in 1999, Toyota released pictures of their next concept car, dubbed the XYR. The XYR displayed an aggressive stance and radical styling not seen since the last Toyota sports car, the Supra.
Seventh generation (2000-2006)
In 2000, Toyota began production of the seventh generation Celica. It was very close to the XYR concept with the exception of the front bumper and rear spoiler. The 2000 Celica was an element of Toyota Project Genesis, an effort to bring younger buyers to the marque in the United States.
The new Celica was styled at Calty Design Research, Inc., in Newport Beach, Calif. The cab-forward design featured a high-fashion look with Indy-car design elements. Sharp-edged panels, dramatic plunging curves, a tall tail and a radically lowered front fascia were stark contrasts compared to past models. The new Celica was shorter in length, but longer in wheelbase with greatly reduced front- and rear-overhangs.
This Celica came in two trim levels, the GT powered by an economical 1.8 L 4-cylinder 140 hp engine and the GT-S powered by a higher-performance 1.8 L 4-cylinder 180 hp version, co-developed with Yamaha . Both of these engines featured Toyota’s signature VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) system, which continuously varies the camshaft timing. The GT-S had a more aggressive system called the VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing with Lift and Intelligence), which is similar to the VVT-i except until 6200 rpm, when valve lift is increased a fraction further to provide an abrupt increase in power, accounting for the 40 hp difference. The GT was available in both a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic and the GT-S was available with a close-ratio 6-speed manual and a 4-speed manumatic.
In 2001, Honda released its Integra replacement, the Acura RSX, for the 2002 model year with a 2.0 L 4-cylinder 200 hp engine, which competed directly with the Celica.
In 2002 Toyota also made some changes on the Celica GT-S, with the revs being limited to 7800 rpm, down from 8350 rpm on the original 7th generation.
In 2003 the Celica received a face lift, with a revised front bumper, revised tail lights, and the addition of several new colors to the lineup. The GT-S was also now equipped with a drive-by-wire throttle body in the manual transmission model. Throttle drive-by-wire, while shortening throttle response, comprimises the ability to use an aftermarket ECU, thus limiting tuning potential.
In July 2004, Toyota announced the Celica (as well as the MR2) would be discontinued in the United States at the end of the 2005 model year because of increasing competition and lack of sales.
The last Celica was rolled off production line on April 21, 2006.
In the late 1988-1996 Toyota won several WRC championships in a modified GT-4 Celica driven by Carlos Saintz. With an extremely modified engine, X-Trac transmission the Toyota Celica was always a contender throughout its WRC history winning 38 WRC Rallies and 2 WRC Championships.
Toyota began getting involved in WRC with the introduction of the Celica GT-4 (or All-Trac in the States) in 1988. With introduction of the GT-4 and sales of between 2500-5000 production versions worldwide a year Toyota was eligible to race in WRC. Toyota campaigned in both the 4, 5th and 6th Generation GT-4...however titles were won in the 5th generation Celica. The fifth generation car was perfect for rally at the time, however problems with the hood scoop aerodynamics forced a mid-generation addition of the Rally/Group A/RC edition. The Celica RC had a recessed hood vent instead of a hood scoop, and added an improved turbo and intercooler design.
The 6th generation was used only very briefly as teams saw little advantage in switching to a new body style. Teams were actually lobbying extensively to switch over to the Corolla. The Corolla, in driver’s opinions, was a superior car for rally in that it was lighter and had a better view of the road. With the Corolla, Toyota did not see the success that it did with the Celica and ultimately pulled out of WRC in 1998 in favor of F1.
Pikes Peak Celica
Based off of the 6th Generation Celica body shell the Pikes Peak Celica has very little in common with a production Celica. From a 4 cylinder Toyota/TRD Racing engine to a carbon composite body shell, X-Trac transmission, to 4wd...the Celica is probably one of the most expensive, technologically advanced Celicas ever built. Although GT-4s were released overseas it is interesting that the Pikes Peak Celica isn’t based off of the GT-4 design (note the hood differences). My speculation is that this is either due to an aerodynamic advantage or an engine design that eliminates the top mount intercooler. With an estimated 800HP on tap and a huge wing that keep the Celica firmly planted on the dirt, Rod Millen made several record shattering runs, including setting a Pikes Peak record that is still standing. Unfortunately, as Toyota moved out of WRC the Pikes Peak Celica was dropped in place of a Tacoma body shell. Toyota finally dropped the funding of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb all together in 2001.
Introduced in 2002 the NHRA Celica is Toyota’s venture into drag racing. Competing in the funny car class this car really has very little similar to a Celica besides the paint scheme. If you do consider this a "Celica" however this may be the most powerful Celica ever built. The supercharged, nitro-burning, tire-spinning stats put it at a whopping 6000+ HP. The NHRA Celica is capable of reaching speeds over 320mph with quarter mile times less than 5 seconds.
While not near the fastest, nor the most powerful, the Nascar Celica is certainly worth mentioning. Campaigning in the Goody’s Nascar Series the Celica is a DOHC V6 racing comparably powered domestic V-8s. Introduced in the 6th generation body style the Celica can now be seen in the latest (7th Generation) body style. This series has been shown on the Speed channel...the Goody’s series is a smaller scale than typical Nascar which races smaller circuits around the country. As of this update the Huffman Celica is number one in the standings