The Celica was originally designed for motorists who were young at heart and
wanted more than simple transportation. Planning for the Celica was begun in
1967, styling was quite revolutionary for the day and it was influential in
the establishment of the sporty subcompact market segment.
The original Celica was equipped with a carbureted four-cylinder engine
displacing 1.6 liters. It was available only in ST form and as a two-door
sport-coupe, an image car rather than a high-volume car. The Celica sold
well from the outset, its first major change or addition, taking place in
1974 with the addition of the GT model. Introduction of the GT brought with
it a two-liter engine that would, in various versions, power Celicas for the
next 11 years.
In 1976, the Celica line was enlarged with the addition of the liftback
model, available only in GT trim. The GT package included the larger engine,
offered sportier handling, higher-grade trim, etc. The liftback model was
marketed as a sport-touring type vehicle, offering greater comfort and
luggage capacity than the notch-back models.
The second generation Celica was released in 1978, and was again
available in both ST and GT trim levels. 2.2-liter engines for both models
provided power. This new generation offered more safety, power and economy
than previous models.
1982 saw the introduction of the third generation Celica. Styling was
changed considerably from previous models and power was now provided by
2.4-liter engines. 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.
For 1986, Celica changed completely. It was an all-new vehicle with
front-wheel-drive, a rounded, flowing-body and new 2.0-liter four-cylinder
twin-cam engines. Celica was now available in ST, GT and GT-S trim, all
available as either coupe or liftback models. ST-S and GT-S 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.
In 1988, Toyota introduced the "ultimate Celica", the All-Trac Turbo.
With full-time all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, it
immediately took its place as the flagship of the Celica range.
The next generation Celicas, the fifth, were introduced in 1990. They
received revised styling, upgraded wheels and tires, and more power. The GT
and GT-S engines grew to 2.2-liters, while the ST sported a 1.6-liter -- all
were DOHC 16-valve. 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 sound 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.
For 1994, Toyota pulled out all the stops. The sixth-generation Celicas
bore very little resemblance to their previous brethren. Celica was only
available in ST and GT configuration for the 1994 model year, but the
addition of the optional "sports package" to the GT produced GT-S-like
handling. The All-Trac model was dropped, and for 1994 there was no
convertible. 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
New safety equipment in the form of driver- and passenger-side airbags
was standard, and anti-lock brakes were available on all models. Celicas
also sported CFC-free air-conditioning.
1995 saw the introduction of the third generation convertible. Built off
of the GT Coupe model.
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
For 1997, the only change in the Celica was the discontinuation of the GT
In 1998, the ST model was discontinued to simplify the Celica ordering
process. All Celicas (Coupe, Liftback and Convertible) are now GT models.
All ‘98 Celicas include additional standard equipment, making Celica a
In 1999, the Celica ordering process was simplified even further with the
elimination of the Coupe grade. Celica was now available in GT Liftback and
For 2000, Celica went back to its performance car roots by entering its
seventh generation with all-new cutting edge styling, powerful performance
and an aggressive attitude.
The new Celica's cab-forward design features 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.
The Celica GT-S grade is powered by an all-new 1.8 liter, four-cylinder
DOHC all-aluminum engine that generates 180 horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 133
lbs./ft. of torque at 6,800 rpm. The GT-S powerplant utilizes variable valve
timing and lift, with intelligence control (VVTL-i) that increases the
intake/exhaust lift when the engine speed is high to improve output and fuel
The GT model's 1.8-liter, four cylinder comes equipped with VVT-i and
produces 140 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 125 lbs./ft. of torque at 4,200
The GT-S model comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or
four-speed automatic with sport-shift. The GT version is available in
five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions.
Celica: The name is derived from the Spanish word for "heavenly" or
Celicas are built at the Tahara Plant in Tahara, Japan. Convertibles
receive final assembly in conversion in California.