Five-Speed Drop-Top – 1988 Toyota Celica Convertible

With the fourth-generation Celica moving to the front-wheel-drive platform shared with the Corona, lower-specification versions of this car were more and more of an appliance with a fancy dress. So normally, the only ST162 Celicas you’d find here are the GT-S with its 135hp 3S-GE twincam four-cylinder, or the homologation version Alltrac Turbo. That said, a convertible top makes things fun, and finding a well-kept one with a manual transmission is fairly unusual, so let’s take a look at this 1988 Toyota Celica convertible for sale for $3200 in Garden Home, OR.

1988 Toyota Celica convertible left front

With an indicated 199,000 miles, this is a very well-kept car. Paint looks glossy, the top boot is present, and the only let-down from this angle is the missing wheel center caps. With a recent 10% price drop, the seller encourages you to “get ready for summer” – surely a deal for the compulsive advance planners among you. The car has plenty of recent repairs including a new canvas top, tires, timing belt, water pump, radiator, mass air flow sensor, battery, alternator, and quite a bit more, plus a full service history. Everything is said to be in working order, but for the cassette player, and the seller calls out the air conditioning as being functional too.

1988 Toyota Celica convertible left rear

Various manuals are also included, and the car is said to be for sale because the seller is looking for a Porsche. Given the amount of care this car has had, it seems as if he bought this Toyota with his maintenance-meter already set to “Porsche”. For this generation of Celica, there’s an active online enthusiast site that even has a specific convertible sub-forum, and if you want to make the driving experience a little more exciting, you might consider a 3S-GE engine from a Celica GTS with some of the corresponding chassis upgrades.

1988 Toyota Celica convertible engine

That said, this engine is amazingly spotless, and the badges that hark back to the days when things like 16 VALVES and EFI were something about which to shout are charming. That blue circle indicates one of the most accessible oil filters you’ll find in car, as long as the engine isn’t hot, and the same can be said for the oxygen sensor. It’s so clean you might suspect a recent cleaning, as any car of this age and mileage is likely to have leaks – look carefully for traces of fluid stains.

1988 Toyota Celica convertible interior

The interior is also excellent – everything is original, the dash is free of cracks, and it’s nice to see that third pedal in a time where Toyota was shifting their fun/quirky-to-appliance ratio over to the appliance end of the scale. If you’re looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous Miata, or need to haul the occasional back seat passengers, this one’s worth a look.


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