Wednesday, April 23, 2014

3-eyed Sporty Relic in Faded Orange

The other day I was celebrating Spring's arrival with a long aimless bike ride out in the further regions of Queens when BLAM! There she was!
  A 1977 Toyota Celica GT Liftback!
I can tell you from experience that this is, or was, or has, or HAD the potential to be really great car. I once acquired a '77 Celica GT (the notchback version) for $175 that served me (and later a good friend of mine) for years. With the fabled 20R engine mated to the 5 speed stick it was the perfect combination of sporty handling and thrift.
This particular example is showing the rare 1-year-only color Toyota decided to call ORANGE. While I can't vouch for the little cobra logo on the top front fender, I assure you that the awesome flat black hood bulge striping is factory correct (as are the lower body and waistline stripes). From the tilt of the front bumper it looks like this former beauty is a veteran of the NYC streets, though it seems to be enjoying semi-retirement out in the empty blocks past the Flushing Corona Fairgrounds. 
There's something particularly charming about the missing headlight, as if this old codger with an eye patch is saying "you should see the other guy" over a morning whiskey.
One feature that I loved on my '77 was the digital diagnostic readout located below the radio just above the console. It had the letters ESP in white, and when you pushed the large button under it a red message would appear in 1977 digital glory! Mine never worked properly but was always good for random messages when the button was pressed. Very ahead of its time looking back now.
In 1978 Motor Trend named the redesigned Celica it's "Import Car of the Year", but I like to think this was the generation that made the world take notice.

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