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Toyota Celica Information & History

The Toyota Celica name has been applied to a series of popular sports cars made by the Japanese company Toyota. The name is derived from the Spanish word for "heavenly" or "celestial".

Through all generations, Celicas have been built around Toyota's high-performance inline-4 engines. The most significant change between generations occurred in 1986, when the drive train was changed from rear wheel drive (RWD) to front wheel drive (FWD). During the RWD generations, U.S. market Celicas were powered by various versions of Toyota's single overhead cam 20R or 22R engines. During the FWD generations, top-model Celicas came with turbo and, most recently, variable valve timing tweaks. Through seven generations, the model has gone through many revisions and design forks, including the Toyota Celica Supra (later well-known as the Toyota Supra). Others versions include a four wheel drive turbocharged model (designated All Trac in the U.S. or GT-4 in Japan and Europe) (1988-1999), a hatchback model, and a convertible model.


In racing the Celica is known for its rally racing prowess. A special RWD variant has been entered into the Japanese Grand Touring Championship, and a specialized AWD variant, called the GT-Four, competed in Group A Rally racing from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. The GT-Four model was produced for the public in extremely limited numbers, and is considered a collector's item by some enthusiasts. In the street racing community, the Celica is a popular car due to its price and easily customizeable engine. The RWD Celicas were frequently used by street-based drag racers in the early 1980s.

First Generation

The first generation Celica was released to the market in 1971. Allegedly a "cut-down" version of Toyota's supercar, the 2000GT, the Celica was a relatively affordable sports car. The original Celica was equipped with a carbureted four-cylinder engine displacing 1.6 liters. Available only in ST form and as a two-door sport-coupe, the Celica was Toyota's version of the Mustang - 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.

Second Generation

The second generation Celica was released in 1978, 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. In 1980, a four-door version was known as the Toyota Celica Camry. This model was a Toyota Carina with a Celica front end. The Camry was spun off into its own range two years later.

Third Generation

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, independent rear suspension, and a sports interior including special seats and a leather-wrapped steering-wheel and gearshift knob.

Fourth Generation

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. 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. In 1988, Toyota introduced the "ultimate Celica", the All-Trac Turbo. With full-time all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine producing 190 HP, it immediately took its place as the flagship of the Celica range.

Fifth Generation

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.

Sixth Generation

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(except JDM), 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 the liftback. 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 conversion takes place in the ASC facility in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. The vehicle arrives in the U.S. as a partially assembled vehicle. At ASC, the roof is removed and a three-layer insulated and power-operated top is installed, producing a vehicle that is virtually water and wind proof. 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). For 1997, the only change in the Celica was the discontinuation of the GT Coupe model. In 1998, the ST model was discontinued to simplify the Celica ordering process. All Celicas (Coupe, Liftback and Convertible) were now GT model's. All 98 Celicas included additional standard equipment, making Celica a better value. 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 GT Convertible. Also in 1999, Toyota released concept pictures of their next sports car, dubbed XYR Concept it displayed an agressive stance and radical styling not seen since the last Toyota sports car, the Supra

Seventh Generation

In 2000, Toyota began production and sale of the 7th generation Celica. It closely resembled the XYR concept with the exception of the front bumper and rear spoiler. This Celica came in two trim levels, the GT powered by a 1.8 L 4-cylinder 140 hp 1ZZ engine and the GT-S powered by a 1.8 L 4-cylinder 180 hp 2ZZ engine co-developed with Yamaha. Both of these engines featured Toyota's signature VVTi (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) system, which continuously varied the camshaft timing. The GT-S had a more agressive system called VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing with Lift and Intelligence) which would act as VVTi until 6200 rpm when the valves open a fraction further and basically provide a 40 hp boost. 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.

Unfortunately, Toyota was too late to the sport compact party, the Celica enjoyed the spotlight for about a year or so, being that it was one of the few vehicles offering 100 hp/liter for under $27,000. The next year 2001, Honda released the Acura RSX with a 2.0 L 4-cylinder 200 hp engine, which competed directly with the Celica.

In July 2004 Toyota announced the Celica will be discontinued in the U.S. at the end of the 2005 model year because of increasing competition and lack of sales. Celica sales hit 52,406 units in 2000, but dropped sharply to just 14,856 in 2003. As of November, 2004, just 8,216 Celicas had been sold for calendar-year 2004. Exporting is expected to cease in July, 2005. However until mid May customers may still order one, although it is advised they take action now.

With the Celica exiting the US market in the 2005 model year. Toyota's answer to the sport compact market is the Scion tC. It is unknown if the tC (based off the European market Toyota Avensis) will form the basis for the Celica overseas, or if the next Celica will be based on a different platform.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from articles at Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia

Most Popular Parts For Toyota Celica

2000 - 2005 Toyota Celica Air Filter
Brand: K&N Filters

 Part # B1000-145470

Year Range: 2000 - 2005
Model: Celica
Application: Air Filter
Notes: High air flow with exceptional filtration. Designed to increase horsepower and acceleration. Washable and reusable. Last up to 50,000 miles before cleaning is required depending on driving conditions. For models with production year from 8/1999 to 7/2005.

Category: Toyota Filters

2000 - 2005 Toyota Celica Fuel Filter

 Part # E1000-127018

Year Range: 2000 - 2005
Model: Celica
Application: Fuel Filter
Notes: 60K maintenance item

Category: Toyota Filters

Toyota Parts - Click Here to Save Now

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