Toyota unveiled the Toyota Celica at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1970. Toyota Celica was a two-door sports car designed to offer styling and driving enjoyment. The car had a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Celica shared its platform with Toyota Carina. Offered first only as a 2-door coupe, a Liftback model arrived in 1973.
For the domestic Japanese market, Toyota Celica was available with a range of engines from Toyota T-series family, ranging in capacity from 1.4 to 1.6 litres and breathing through twin Solex carburettors. The most powerful version in the range was the twin-cam 2T-G, producing 115 bhp.
US-sped Calicas featured 1.9-litre engine from Toyota Corona. European cars were fitted with two middle-ground 1.6-litre T-series engines. Later in the car’s life, the worldwide engine line up expanded to include 2.0- and 2.2-litre R-series engines, with the top 18R-G version offering up to 145bhp. That renge-topping model remains a highlight in Celica’s history for classic Toyota enthusiasts.
Ensuring the new car was comfortable and easy to use was the development team’s main priority, but they also engineered the car with superb handling. Toyota Celica had an independent front suspension and a four-link rear setup with separate dampers.
Built solely for the Japanese market, the GTV model with sports suspension reinforced Celica’s growing reputation after a number of race victories in domestic motorsport. In Europe, Celica’s early efforts in rallying led directly to the formation of Toyota Team Europe (TTE).