We do requests on Eighties Cars, whether or not they are definitive ones. A friend of mine mentioned his 1981 Celica in one of the forums I frequent, and that was enough inspiration for me.
“The Ultimate Toyota.”
1981 was the final year for the second-generation Toyota Celica which had debuted in 1978. Despite this, there were some significant changes, including a new engine.
The Celica’s new engine for 1981 was the 22R 97 bhp 2.4 liter/144 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor. Paired with a five-speed manual transmission, fuel economy was an impressive 25 city/37 highway by the standards of the day (22/34 by today’s standards). Choosing the optional four-speed automatic transmission dropped economy slightly to 25 city/35 highway (22/32 by 2014 standards).
The Celica Sport Coupe was available in ST and GT trim levels. Standard equipment on the Celica ST ($6,699 or about $17,500 in today’s dollars) included electronic ignition, an FM radio, reclining front bucket seats, “cut pile wall-to-wall carpeting,” power front disc brakes and rear drum brakes, and styled steel wheels with 185/70R14 tires (a size still readily available).
Moving up to the GT ($7,429 or about $19,400 in 2014 dollars) added features such as tungsten halogen high beams, dual outside mirrors, a dressed up instrument panel and console, and a locking gas cap.
Optional equipment included air conditioning, sunroof, and power steering. Aluminum alloy wheels, rear window defogger, and cruise control were GT only options.