Collectible Classic: 1976-1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback

1976-1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback

One year later, he saw it there again, and this time Sullivan tracked down the owner, who had bought it new. Eventually the owner, who was getting on in years, agreed to sell the Celica. The car had 8200 miles. "You have to do me one favor," the gentleman said. "You can never take it out in the snow. The salt will kill it."

Salt and the resulting rust certainly decimated lots of the Celica's siblings, at least in the Northeast. As popular as this car was when it was new, you seldom see one on the road today.

That's what makes Sullivan's Toyota such an utter time machine. To see it is to immediately be transferred back to the '70s. It helps that this example is bone stock -- right down to its fourteen-by-five-and-a-half-inch styled steel wheels -- and that its silver color is that of the brochure car.

Open the lightweight door, and you're hit with the smell of warm vinyl. The high-backed, reclining bucket seats were something special in the 1970s, as were the standard five-speed manual transmission, the AM/FM stereo, and the set of five round gauges. This car is further equipped with factory A/C. The seats are low, and the windshield is narrow by today's standards. The back seats are even lower and definitely cramped under that sloping hatchback, but people were thinner back then.

Insert the key, and the high-pitched seatbelt warning buzzer sounds -- a not-so-pleasant flashback. The four-cylinder fires right up once we remember to give it a little gas. The 2.2-liter (2189-cc) overhead-cam engine arrived with the '75 model year; previously the Celica had a 1968-cc unit, which itself was enlarged from the 1858-cc SOHC four in the launch-year car.

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