The Toyota Celica was a car designed by Toyota to appeal to younger drivers who wanted a sportier feel to their vehicle while still priced somewhat economically and not sacrificing fuel economy and standard street-performance.
The First Generation (1970-1977)
The first generation of Toyota’s Celica was released to the Japanese market in 1970 as an affordable alternative to a sports car that Toyota already produced. The first Celicas for North America were the 1971 ST which had a 1.9 liter engine. This was upgraded to a 2.0 and 2.2 liter engines in subsequent years. The top-model GT Celica in ‘74 was introduced along with the LT model which was presented as an economy version of the car. The liftback was not introduced to the United States until 1976 and the models available with that included the 1600ST, the 1600GT, 2000ST and 2000GT.
The Second Generation (1978-1981)
The second generation was released in 1978 and came in both liftback and coup varieties. Conversions called the ‘SunChaser’ allowed a coup to become something of a convertible vehicle. The 1971 Celicas were the first cars built by Toyota to offer electronic fuel injection. By now the 2.2 liter engine was standard in all models produced in the United States, though Toyota was still producing engines as small as 1.6 liter for its foreign markets. In 1980 the Toyota Carina was introduced that had a slightly different front end. This car was the predecessor for the Toyota Camry which came along two years later.
The Third Generation (1982-1985)
In 1982, the third generation Celica came in coup, liftback and convertible models and now all North American versions of the Camry came with a 2.4 liter engine. The GT-S model was created in 1983 and features a lighter, sportier feel compared to previous models. The GT-S Convertible Celica was produced by American Specialty Cars in California.
The Fourth Generation (1986-1989)
In 1986, the fourth generation of Celica cars represented a complete change. Front wheel drive was now the standard, ST, GT and GT-S models were still available and the All-trac Turbo was introduced to the line in 1988. The All-trac was a limited-time only offer on the Celica, Camry, Corolla and Previa cars offered by Toyota.
The Fifth Generation (1990-1993)
Generation five for the Toyota Celica added fixed door mirrors and introduced standard Driver’s side airbags in North America. The basic ST model had a 1.6 liter engine while the GT and GT-S both used a 2.2 L 5S-FE engine. Anti-lock brakes were available for the GT-S models as well as ABS, sunroof, premium sound and leather interior.
The Sixth Generation (1994-1999)
Another complete reworking of the Celica was done for 1994, this time the car was only available in North America in the ST and GT models. The All-Trac model was no longer available in the United States which was a pity, due to the extreme amounts of power these vehicles had for the overseas markets. A new generation convertible was produced in 1995 for the GT Coup.
The Seventh Generation (2000-2005)
The final generation of Toyota’s Celica began production in 1999 and came in two different models: the ZZT230 and the ZZT231 which was a higher-powered version. Both engines had Toyota’s VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence). In North America the 1ZZ-FE engine was called the GT and was available in both a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic variety.
Toyota announced in July of 2004 that the Celica would be discontinued in the United States due to a lack of interest. In 2003 Toyota released a Technical Service Bulletin for the 2000-2002 model cars with the 2ZZ-GE engine. It warned that the lift bolt may snap which would allow the rocker shaft to rotate. A replacement from Toyota was the simple solution offered.