Project Potential: 1989 Toyota Celica GT Convertible – Sold?

Aug 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

September 29, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The summer may be winding down, but in some ways, that makes it the perfect time to own a convertible. The temperatures are cooling off just enough (well, not as much as we’d like) that it’s not unpleasant to keep the top down, and you may even sniff out an end-of-season bargain or two. This 1989 Toyota Celica GT Convertible was originally listed in August 2021 on Craigslist in Baltimore, Maryland with lots of original details intact and an asking price of $3,200. Comparing this price against the NADA Price Guide confirms this private seller has his Celica priced below the going rate for one, as the “High” retail price is pegged at $4,100.

The fourth-generation Celica represented a dramatic departure from the previous era. Gone was the rear-wheel drive-chassis that design-wise was closely linked to the Supra. Now, the Celica stood on its own, with a front-wheel-drive layout, flip-up headlights, rounded styling, and a new turbocharged drivetrain option with all-wheel-drive. It was truly a transformation into a classic 1980s hot hatch. The convertible didn’t get the option of turbocharged, all-wheel-drive drivetrain, but it did get a high-quality drop-top conversion courtesy of convertible conversion specialist ASC. The work ASC did to convert the Celicas to convertibles caught the eyes of Japanese buyers as well, and the converted Celicas made two trips by ocean once the conversion work was done.

The MotorWeek Retro Review Channel features their review of a similar 1988 Celica GT Convertible:

The seller’s car looks like a smart buy given its very original condition. Small details, like the seller noting it retains its original R12 air conditioning system, the undamaged front lip spoiler, and the super clean upholstery are all strong signs the Celica was cherished by its previous owner and perhaps even stored indoors given there’s no obvious evidence of fading, either on the painted body panels or the mouse-fuzz upholstery. The automatic transmission may be a buzzkill, but it also further supports the notion this Celica didn’t fall into the perils of boy-racer ownership and was perhaps just a retiree’s summer driver. The seller claims its needs are fairly minor, so good luck with fixing this one up if you decide to take it home.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Runs and drives well all original automatic transmission the body is in good shape has a small ding in the rear quarter panel. The top is electric and the motor is working but I think it has a leak in the line. The top will go down manually. The air conditioning is original r112 it needs to be converted to r 134 besides that with a few little things that need to be fixed this car is worth way more than what I’m asking.

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

1 Comment
  1. Project Potential: 1989 Toyota Celica GT Convertible – Sold?

    I have an ’89 Celica convertible that I’m trying to restore. It is 100% driveable, I would have no trouble taking it on a 2000 mile round trip. Mt problem is that I cannot get proprietary parts for it. The servo motor in the heater isn’t working; someone disconnected (and lost) the linkage to the little door under the dash, so I have to move it by hand if I want heat or no heat. The front spoiler was in bad shape when I bought the car. I could not find one and ended up making extensive repairs on the one I have. The hinges are broken on the flip-up door on the console. I may end up making new ones if I can find the right material. If all goes well I would like to put a new canvas top and rear window on it. The existing one seals out the weather but is looking shabby. My fantasy would be to find someone who has proprietary pares for this vehicle.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *