The 1971 Toyota Celica is an underrated classic


The ’90s were the decade when America’s import tuning scene reached its peak, so it made sense that vehicles made before that time were considered revered classics – respected precursors, to be precise. It’s been 30 years since the 90s already, but for now it can even be assumed that in 10 years the cars of the 90s might as well be considered old school.

The 1971 Celica is an original and charming car that may not have established a great heritage of its own. This may actually delight the original creators of the car, who always seemed to imagine it less as a real performance car and more as a charming and fun runabout. It was never a competitor to the Mustang as it became more of a spiritual successor to the sleek and relatively slower Mustang that debuted in 1964.

While so many cars from this era have become classics in their own right after being revisited decades later, such a wave of nostalgia arouses hardly any nostalgia for the Toyota Celica. It remains what it was in 1971, a charming-looking car that quickly achieved its modest aspirations as a fun and reliable sports sedan with no real ambition to do more than that. If the Datsun 510 which preceded it in 1968 has become an icon, the Celica is still a novelty. It is more famous as the frontline vehicle that would inspire both the Supra and the monstrous Celica rally cars of the early 1990s than it is on its own.

Although it was one of the most beautiful automobiles of its time, the Celica remains largely forgotten. Here’s a look at what makes the 1971 Celica a commendable classic.

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Best-in-Class Celica Specifications

An image of the engine of the 1971 Toyota Celica

Via YouTube / Max Xiong

The 1970 model was larger and had a slightly larger 1.2-liter engine with 73 net horsepower, which supported an optional automatic transmission. It was also the second best-selling imported car in 1970. In 1971, it switched to a 1.6-liter engine. To meet the international market, the power has increased to 100 (102 CV, 75 net). The “5” in the new SR5 option represented the five-speed manual transmission, which was more of a sight on the roads at the time. The car weighed only 1,566 pounds, so it was relatively quick for the class. Celica was built around Toyota’s high performance inline 4 engine, making it even more powerful.

Buyers could choose between a fastback coupe and a four-door sedan with a starting price of $ 1,830, which was a real bargain. It had the typical solid rear axle of the time, with rear leaf springs; the independent front suspension used struts. The brakes were drums all around, and the wheels were only 12 inches in diameter and 6 inches in width. The car was 153 inches long and 59 inches wide, with a 90-inch wheelbase. The interiors were of a high standard; however, the bodies tended to catch rust quickly.

Superior construction of the car

An interior image of the 1971 Toyota Celica

Via Pinterest / Motor Trend

Corollas have generally been appreciated for their interior, although this is also on the decline. In 1971, it offered a remarkably pleasant place, considering its small size and lightness. The incredibly spacious back seat was surprising for a tiny rear-wheel drive car.

Usually in critical supply in full size cars, and interior carpet as standard, high quality vinyl has been used to cover the seats and door panels, and the set has been coordinated in pleasing colors. The dashboard was also attractive and very functional.

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Toyota’s Unprecedented Long Celica Streak


Considered the eternal competitor of the Honda Prelude, the Toyota Celica was an I4-powered coupe introduced several years before the Prelude. Breaking down the word Celica means “heavenly” or “heavenly” and seems to inspire a light and airy composition.

The Celica was produced for an exceptionally long life, ranging from 1970 to 2006. Over the course of its 36 years, the coupe was continually updated to match the styling of the era. Eventually, as SUVs went up and compact sports cars lost popularity, changing tastes led to the end of the line for the Celica.

Many ancient Celicas have been modified; their large number of sales, worldwide distribution and basic mechanical simplicity led to all kinds of modifications, some of which turned out to be quite successful.

While the early Crowns had little impact, the Land Cruiser had become an off-road favorite (and actually supported the company while the Crown floundered), the 1966 Corona became a modest success, and the 1968 Corolla brought the company to the forefront as a maker of rugged yet inexpensive economy cars.

At home, the Sports 800 and 2000GT two-seaters, neither of which were built in sufficient quantity to have a big impact on sales, were of great interest to the company. Toyota’s strength with Celica and most of its other automobiles has lied in constant improvements to provide the best product in its later generations.

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