Toyota Targa: 1980 Toyota Celica Sunchaser – Sold?

by | Sep 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

October 20, 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.

For many years, Japanese automakers prided themselves on copying and improving upon other manufacturers’ innovations. One such example was Toyota’s partnership in the late seventies with Griffith to convert Celica GTs into open-top configurations similar to Porsche’s original soft window Targa. We came across this yellow over black leather 1980 example originally listed in September 2021 on Craigslist in Dyer, Illinois (Chicago) for sale by the owner for the past thirty years.

Reported to stored winters and thus featuring only 69K original miles, the current caretaker has their 1980 Sunchaser listed for $5,000 currently. Comparing that price against the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool confirms the private seller has their special Celica priced between this guide’s #4 “Fair” estimate of $2,575 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $5,250.

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 coupe 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 the 1979, 1980, and 1981 model years.

The Bionic Disco YouTube Channel features this classic example of Toyota’s “You Asked For It, You Got It” ad campaign:

If you can source original style wheels and fix the A/C, you’ll have a great Rad Era eligible vintage cruiser providing a great open-top feel. The 20R engine combined with a five-speed manual and rear-wheel drive may be seventies slow, but it will likely be reliably sporty every time you drive it.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1980 Toyota Celica GT Sunchaser model. One of a very limited production. Only 69K miles. Stored in winter, owned for last 30 years. Has had leather seats added, AM/FM/Aux stereo and speakers and new carpet installed. Springs replaced, custom wheels and wide tires. Lots of fun to drive.

5 speed stick shift with 20-R engine. Has A/C compressor but needs line replaced.

More pictures & video of undercarriage are available.

$5,000 cash or bank transfer only. No trades

Show or go: what would you do with this Toyota Celica SunChaser?  Comment below and let us know!

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