The iconic Toyota Celica could return after almost 20 years

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The iconic Toyota Celica could return after almost two decades to join the Supra and the 86 in the company’s sports car lineup. Toyota has recently trademarked the Celica name in the U.S., hinting that the affordable coupe discontinued in 2006 is ready to make a comeback.

The Toyota Supra and GT86 Could Soon Be Followed By The Celica
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According to CarAdvice, Toyota filed the Celica name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 15, 2021. The trademark covers "automobiles and structural parts thereof." While this isn’t official confirmation of a future model, it’s a sign that Toyota could be planning a revival of the Celica nameplate as a standalone model. On the other hand, Toyota is currently releasing performance cars through the Gazoo Racing division with the "GR" badge. Since the Celica trademark lacks one, Toyota might have filed the name just to be sure that it retains the right to the nameplate.

But if it returns, it will join Toyota’s existing lineup of performance vehicles, which now includes the GR Supra and GR 86 sports cars, as well as the GR Yaris hot-hatchback. The Celica isn’t the only Toyota sports car from the past rumored to return over the next few years. Some reports are also talking about the company’s plans to revive the mid-engined MR2. Meanwhile, we do know for a fact that the Japanese firm is working on a Le Mans-derived hybrid supercar.

Toyota Celica legacy

1970 - 1977 Toyota Celica High Resolution Exterior
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The Toyota Celica was first introduced in late 1970 as a spin-off of the Carina sedan. The two-door coupe was aimed at the U.S. market as a competitor for the Ford Mustang. In 1973, Toyota introduced a liftback body style with a shorter rear deck and a stance more similar to American pony cars. The first-generation Celica was powered by four-cylinder engines exclusively. Displacement ranged from the 1.4 to 2.2 liters with the most powerful unit, a twin-cam 2.0-liter, generating 134 horsepower.

Toyota redesigned the Celica in 1977, keeping the coupe and liftback body styles, as well as the four-cylinder-exclusive engine lineup. The second-gen model is directly linked to the iconic Supra, which came to life in 1978 as the Celica XX with up to 140 horsepower. A third-generation model with wedge-design styling followed in 1981. This model was the first to spawn a convertible as well as the first Celica to be turned into a rally car.

The Toyota Supra and GT86 Could Soon Be Followed By The Celica
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The fourth-generation Celica, produced from 1985 to 1989 spawned the GT-Four, a turbocharged, AWD model with 190 horsepower. The Celica became even more powerful in its fifth-generation when the GT-Four was upgraded to 221 horsepower, while a special edition model celebrating the car’s WRC success broke cover with 232 horses. In 1993, Toyota launched the sixth-generation Celica, famous for its Supra-esque design with four round headlamps. The GT-Four remained in production with up to 251 horsepower, but it was no longer offered in North America.

2000 - 2005 Toyota Celica
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The seventh and final generation of the Celica was introduced in 1999 with sportier styling but still powered by four-cylinder engines. Power ratings dropped for this model: while the base version came with 140 horsepower, the range-topping coupe generated no more than 188 horsepower. It was discontinued in 2006.

The Celica is also famous for its rallying prowess, having competed in the World Rally Championship for many years. The rally-spec Celica GT-Four won Toyota two manufacturer’s titles and four driver’s championships, as well as many African safari rallies. The Celica was also raced in Pikes Peak hillclimb events and track competitions in IMSA GTU and GTO classes.

Source: CarAdvice

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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