So what do you do if you’re intimidated by the experience of owning a needlessly complex Italian car, but you still want wedgy 1980s styling and a suggestion of sportiness? Giving up on some driving excitement by accepting a durable 22R-E inline four that’s probably only halfway through its lifespan at 165,000 miles will certainly make your life easier, if not more fun. This car also comes from what you might call something of a golden age for Toyota – they had moved beyond a lineup of mostly tinny economy cars, but had not yet arrived at the mostly-appliance lineup they still have today, and had a significant proportion of sporty cars in the family. The Celica was outdone by the Corolla GT-S, MR2 and FX16 in terms of sportiness, but was still a popular contender. Check out this 1985 Toyota Celica convertible for sale for $3900 in Vallejo, CA.
Fender flares, angular dished wheels, wedge styling, flip-up headlights – what’s not to like for a 1980s connoisseur? Okay, so you don’t get the Yamaha-designed 4AGE engine, but it’s nice to see one of these in good condition, and with a 5-speed manual instead of the more common automatic. Check out those interesting headrests on the seats – how do they work? Are there channels within the seats on which they slide up and down?
The car even includes the original top boot, which must be cumbersome to handle and install, and doesn’t so much hide the folded-down top as just tidy up the hump. The condition of the car is really quite remarkable, and speaks both to the care the 22-year owner has given, as well as the quality for which Toyota was coming to be known.
The engine is said to have needed no service, while the clutch was replaced at 120,000 miles. This is the first year for the reworked 22R-E engine, giving a slight boost to 114hp and 140 lb.-ft. of torque. Indeed, while this engine is incredibly durable, it was not known for turning high revs, but did generate plenty of low-end power – exactly what you’d expect in an engine shared with pickup trucks. Do be aware that the timing chains had a reputation for stretching, which could damage the plastic chain guide and ultimately bend valves.
The interior looks decent in this limited shot, and the air conditioning is said to work well. All books, manuals, and tools are included, and the battery was replaced last fall. The car only has two issues – the cruise control and electric mirrors failed within the last year. With any luck, a good cleaning of the contacts will get you back in action. So between this and the Biturbo, would you go mechanically mild or wild?