After the third generation made a name for itself by winning six WRC races across the punishing stages of Africa, the fourth-generation Toyota Celica continued by bringing sporty motoring to the masses, starting at a reasonable $9000. For that kind of money in 1986, Toyota gave its buyers a Camry engine and rear drum brakes. However, starting at $12,000, the range-topping GT-S model was a whole different story.
For starters, unlike the ST or the GT, the flagship Celica came with a 2.0-liter DOHC engine featuring 16 valves, variable-induction, and multi-port fuel injection. All that technology resulted in 136 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, an output which demanded the presence of 14-inch wheels and Toyo tires, along with four-disc brakes and anti-roll bars on both axles.
Inside, the GT-S featured a sporty three-spoke steering wheel with a tilting and telescopic column, as well as leather upholstery, an electric sunroof, and a six-speaker, equalizer-equipped cassette player stereo as an option. And with that dominant rear spoiler keeping the car stable at all speeds, it’s no wonder MotorWeek was impressed:
It’s impossible to tell how many fourth-generation Celicas are left on the road these days, but if you happen to find one with a manual transmission and in excellent condition, we suggest holding onto it.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that the ’80s Celica you really want is the 1988–89 All-Trac Turbo. After all, what else could keep up with all those noisy Quattro Coupés out there? A Japanese all-wheel-drive sports car powered by a 190-horsepower twin-cam is your answer: