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Selling on Saturday

1980 Toyota Celica GT Liftback USGP Edition

  • One-year-only United States Grand Prix Edition example
  • 1 of just 600 produced; 1 of only 200 USGP Editions finished in red
  • Retained by the original owner for 32 years
  • A culture appreciating vehicle equipped with a five-speed manual transmission

VIN: RA42628196

Register To Bid Auction Info

The Toyota Celica was built from 1970 until 2006 and was produced in seven different generations and offered in various body styles, which included convertibles, liftbacks, coupes, and notchback coupes. One of their more unique style offerings was the liftback, which was a fastback-styled hatchback that Toyota coined as a liftback. It was introduced to the Japanese market in April of 1973 and garnered such a following, that it would be offered for their export models the following year. The second gen Celica would be produced from 1977 to 1981 and included a liftback offering, as it was one of their more popular models. Over the span of the second gen's life, about 70 different variants were sold, and at its pinnacle in 1979, Toyota retailed 49 different versions at once. Arguably one of the more desirable and memorable of those variants was the GT Liftback United States Grand Prix (USGP) Edition which was built to commemorate Toyota's connection to the U.S. Grand Prix in Long Beach, California. Only produced for one year, it is reported that just 600 of these USGP Editions were built in total, with 200 in white, 200 in blue, and 200 in red.

A limited one-year-only model, this 1980 Toyota Celica was purchased new from Jim White Toyota of Toledo, Ohio on July 3, 1980, by Mr. B. Edwards. Eventually moving to Tennessee, he brought this Celica with him and would maintain it for an impressive 32 years, before selling it in 2012 to a San Francisco-based collector. It was then sold to Texas-based dealer, DriverSource, in 2017 with a reported 37,727 miles before a Florida collector took ownership. The current owner acquired this sporty example in 2022 and has lovingly maintained it as it shows just 39,245 miles on the odometer at the time of cataloging.

The USGP package came at an extra cost of $750, but added unique styling cues to the exterior, such as a special honeycomb grille, flat black B pillars, Grand Prix body stripes, mudguards, and aluminum alloy wheels. The package extended into the interior as well, as it features ivory vinyl seats with black piping, an ivory-colored headliner and door panels, a black leather-wrapped steering wheel, a USGP dash plaque, and best of all, a high-performance sound system, which consists of an electronic tuner, and equalizer/amplifier.

The 2.2-litre 20R SOHC inline-four engine is backed by a five-speed manual transmission and creates a total of 90 horsepower. It is reported that in 2016 and 2017, this Celica received a suspension freshening of the front and rear with new bushings, rubber, tie rods, hardware, and shocks. At this same time, it was reported that the engine received a thorough tune-up.

A recent participant in the 2023 annual Enthusiast Spring Driving Tour, this Celica was driven by Worldwide Auctioneers' Bradey Gerke, who cruised around the countryside of Indiana without a flaw, smoothly shifting through all five gears. He also found himself at multiple stops explaining to onlookers what this automobile was, as they are rarely seen out in public.

Well-maintained throughout its life, and showing just under 40,000 original miles, this rare 1 of just 200 USGP Edition Celica GTs has become a culture appreciating vehicle in recent years thanks to a growing legion of younger automotive enthusiasts. Positioned to continue to rise in popularity this example will make for a great driver, as it has already proven, or as a garage piece that is occasionally taken out and admired at meets for its subtle Japanese flair.

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