Toyota Targa: 1980 Toyota Celica GT SunChaser – $4,000 OBO

Jun 2020 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday

Toyota’s Targa.  Otherwise known as the early-eighties Celica GT SunChaser remain rare sites with just over 2,000 produced, so when we came across this orange-over-black five-speed example here on Craigslist in Bayville, New York (Long Island) for sale by the caretaker dating back to 1982 it easily met the criteria for us to feature it.  A quick check of the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirm’s the current caretaker’s asking price of $4,000 or best offer falls at the less expensive end of the “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $2,900, $5,175, and $11,650, respectively.  If you are serious about buying this rare Toyota, you can start the conversation by calling the seller at (631) 827-0061 and when you do please remember to mention you saw it featured here on

Toyota introduced the rear-wheel-drive, second-generation Celica for the 1978 model year in both coupé and lift-back forms. Penned in the U.S. at Toyota’s Calty Research Design studio in California, the coupé was no longer a true hardtop; both coupé featured frameless doors with thick “B” pillars. Interested in offering an open-top version, Toyota contracted with Griffith to offer a Targa-style convertible conversion to the coupé in the US.  They were called the SunChaser and had a removable Targa top and a folding rear roof, much like the ’67 Porsche 911 soft-window Targa. These were Toyota approved and sold through Toyota dealers, with over 2,000 produced during that time span.

Doing the math, the current caretaker of the past 38 years means they bought their SunChaser around 1982 when the car was only two years old.  They also state they have “continuously maintained” their SunChaser over that time. While this SunChaser features new paint and a rebuilt engine, the seller admits the inline four needs a new head gasket, so plan on either hauling this car back to your garage or having it completely locally before planning to drive this car now that the warm weather is here to stay for a while.  The wild card on the matter is whether the head has been warped in the process, so we highly recommend a pre-purchase inspection (“PPI”) to confirm the extent of the repair needed.  The two-tone seat covers shown in most of the pictures initially gave us pause, however the overhead shot appears to indicate these were used to preserve the original black interior;  you’ll need to confirm that during your in-person inspection.   At $4,000 there is a lot of potential offered here for an early RADwood-era eligible car that can enjoy top down motoring with.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Classic limited edition 4 seater, 5 speed hard top convertible. Same owner 38 years. Continuously maintained. New paint, nice interior, rebuilt engine needs head gasket. Serious offers considered.

Do you have a Celica GT SunChaser story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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