Solid Specimen: 1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback – SOLD!
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October 23, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “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.
If this 1977 Toyota Celica GT hatchback, originally listed in October 2022 on Craigslist in Las Vegas, Nevada, reminds you of another classic car, but you just can’t place it, you’re not alone. Often nicknamed the “Japanese Mustang” or the “Mustang Celica,” the first generation liftback version of the rear-wheel-drive Toyota Celica took a bit too many styling cues from Ford’s iconic 1969-1970 Mustang Fastback. That sincere form of flattery aside, the Celica was a well-proportioned and attractive car that returned decent fuel economy.
Toyota’s Celica also mimicked Ford’s Mustang in an unintended way: rust. Japanese steel produced in the 1970s was not of good quality, and as a result, many Japanese cars from the period have long since rusted away. The seller reports their 95K original mile Celica has been a desert-based car featuring a like-new undercarriage that has never been undercoated and shows no signs of any rust.
Once offered for $15,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, reveals the ask is slightly below this guide’s one-year average of $24,623 based on 13 sales ranging from $14,000 to $61,000. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the Celica featured here:
As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls above this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $15,600 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $23,150 before deducting fifteen percent for the less desirable automatic transmission.
The first-generation Toyota Celica debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1970. Toyota developed the Celica as either a two-door hardtop coupé or hatchback that emphasized styling and driving enjoyment based on a platform shared with the rear-wheel drive Corona sedan. Toyota designed this car specifically for the North American market as a competitive response to the 1964½ Ford Mustang (Pony car) which also was a standard sedan (Ford Falcon) with stylized 2+2 bodywork. For export markets the Celica was available in three different levels of trim; LT, ST, and GT.
1976 brought the largest update to the model. Toyota engineers increased the wheelbase of the car and the car featured various differences both externally and internally. Externally the most noticeable difference is the flat front end (similar to earlier JDM models), the elimination of the removable hood vents (replaced by vents formed in the hood pressing), and the single cowl vent which replaced the twin vents on earlier models. Internally the cars also feature a different dashboards, seats, and carpets. The liftback version also included these changes.
Toyota introduced the fastback-styled hatchback, called the Liftback by Toyota, for the Japanese market in April 1973 but not until July 1974 for export models. The North American liftback (RA29) was only offered with a 2.2-liter 20R engine for the 1976 and 1977 model year. All the liftback models have flat noses. Although there is no “B” pillar in the Liftback, the rear quarter windows are fixed in place and do not roll down (as they do in the hardtop coupe).
The Osborne Tramain YouTube Channel features this vintage Toyota Celica commercial:
The great pictures clearly document what a true rust-free survivor this 1977 Toyota Celica GT liftback for sale truly is. This less-desirable automatic transmission may be a letdown for some, but the survivor quality of this car more than makes up for it.
Here’s the seller’s description:
There will be no letdowns or surprises
with this one.
The car runs absolutely beautifully the engine fires up every time with no hesitation and does not knock smoke or make any funny noise transmission shifts through all gears nicely just like it should no leaks.
Body & Paint
The body is super straight with no major dents The paint looks to be original, so it is, of course, discolored probably A real good paint correction would make the paint shine well, But the rest of the body looks absolutely beautiful The car has never been in any accidents and no indications of any Bondo
all of the upholstery is original and still looks very good seats are all in good shape driver seat is starting to show somewhere with a little tear as you will see in the photos dashboard has a few small hairline cracks headliner is starting to sag a bit door panels look great but the overall condition of interior for being original I would say is excellent
Chrome & Glass
All of the glass and chrome are rust-free and in great shape, with no cracks, dents, or pitting.
Undercarriage & Trunk
The undercarriage is nice and solid, with no signs of rust. It has never been undercoated. The trunk compartment looks great with no rust. The overall condition for being original is excellent for more information
please don’t hesitate to call me”
Paint or Leave Patina’d: What would you do with this 1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback survivor? Please comment below and let us know!