Toyota Celica 2.0 GT 1987 very underrated indeed.
My 4th car and first proper sports car at the age of 22,back in 1989/90 was a 3 year old bright red/grey interior 2.0 GT with only one previous owner and 30,000 miles on the clock.I could just afford it with my PX,a newish Ford Escort 1.3 (boring and slow,I didn't own it too long!),price was about £9k and only needed to find £5K with my px and was well worth it back then.
I remember the day I collected it being so proud of owning something different from the crowd,I hadn't even test drove it! My first drive down the high street crawling along flashing my pop up head lamps to let people in and out was a hoot.Out of town down the dual carridgeway I put my foot down for the first time and woosh! Light weight coupe,2.0 litre 16V power,very nice!The 16v engine would rev upto 4000 rpm nicely for normal driving pace,then over 4000 rpm the extra 8 valves would open up giving it an almost turbo like kick of power way upto 6200rpm.The brakes were ABS,a first for me,wow they were great and stopped the car smartly in dry or wet without skidding or loss of control under hard emergency braking.ABS brakes would however get confused by ice,pressure would come back up from the pedal and you were helpless,a common fault with all ABS systems I believe.
These could do 0-60 in 7.8 secs,not bad and around 140 mph so capable of seeing off the hot hatches of the day.Front wheel drive was ok but torque understeer would happen if pushed too hard.This means that the front wheels would lose grip and when this happens you obviously can not steer and plough straight on,but this rarely happened to me,the limit of driving this car was way above that for safe road driving and only on a track day would this be a problem.I am now older and wiser so prefer rear wheel drive every time!
They made a GT4 Turbo 4WD car that was alot more powerful and better handling than mine,so this would be the one to lookout for now.At the time,I impressed a collegue so much he bought one too! A rare sight nowadays because not too many of that model were sold and I guess survivours would be few,parts probably tough to find now.
Alot of old Jap cars become obsolete so fast and parts are a major problem so take care buying one of these if its less than perfect.Mine was only three years old but well built,lovely paintwork,everything worked,typical Japanese reliability,servicing was fair but not the cheapest.
A very fine handling chuckable car that won many rallies during the 80s and 90s in GT4 form 4WD,probably better than the later generation Celicas?
I also had a mid 1990s model,the first one to have no pop up lights so a bit boring ,boo! If you are lucky and can find one,check the service history carefully,low miles best and not too many owners but this may be very difficult!
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The Toyota Celica I will be specifically covering in this review, is the 1989 (G Reg) Non-Turbo GT Model. (ST183)
Looks - Well firstly the car is a very sporty little number, it is a 2 door coupe with sleek styling, a fairly long bonnet, and the front arches kind of stick out to the sides i think, almost like biceps!
The car is similarly styled to the GT-Four (The Turbo Version) but lacks the bonnet vents, and more attractively styled front bumper of its peer.
Interior - Depending on the colour of the car you buy, you will either end up with a grey, black or blue interior. Personally i ended up with the blue one (having bought a white car) which i wasn't overly pleased with aesthetically, the black interior is much more attractive
The Interior of the car is very comfortable, and although it is a sporty coupe, i managed to fit a fold up futon sofa bed in the back of mine when i readjusted the rear seats, so it is practical as well as sporty.
The Boot is absolutely enormous, large enough for a 6 foot man to curl up in (tried and tested) and there is generous leg room in the front and back (depending on the size of your driver)
Performance - The car has a 2 litre 16 valve engine, pushing 158 bhp as standard, and the car is definitely good for speeds in excess of 125 mph. I am more than certain with uprated parts the car would go way beyond that.
The car is basically a front wheel drive version of the SW20 MR2 (MKII) The cars share the same 158bhp 3SGE engine (3SGTE being the turbo version) and the interior and dash setup is very similar also.
Fuel Economy - At worst the celica was giving around 26 miles per gallon, i mean when it was really really being driven hard.
Generally you can expect to return a good 30-33mpg i would say, which is comparable to that of a 1.8 Mondeo for instance.
Insurance is not awfully high on this car, if my memory serves me it is insurance group 13 and i (being 22 at the time) with no NCB was paying around £630 on my own.
Overall if you'd like a nice sporty looking car without delving too far into the turbo powered insurance crippling world of japanese sports cars, you could certainly do worse than give the Celica GT a try, i sold mine to a friend, and when i get in for a lift i still smile every time.