BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/8/11 8:05 p.m.


Is it a classic? I think so.

Instead of a cut & paste job, the rest of the story is here on the other forum.

Ian F
Ian F Dork
1/8/11 10:22 p.m.

Oh wow... my favorite old Japanese car.

GSCReno Reader
1/9/11 2:53 a.m.

A brilliant bit of kit, Tim. Congrats. Nice to see that another Japanese classic has been saved. Cheers, Scott

914Driver SuperDork
1/9/11 9:55 a.m.

I looked at one brand new at a car show in a mall. Yellow, black interior, it still haunts my imagination.


KaptKaos Reader
1/9/11 10:32 a.m.

The Japanese car companies have never sent their best stuff to the states. Decades of hot cars were JDM only. Twin cam 240zs, turbo fist gen RX7s, the entire Skyline model line, and that's just off of the top of my head!

I never understood this behavior, and found it counter-intuitive to deny the biggest market your best products.

I don't carry a grudge, and I have owned many Japanese cars. When I see this project, I wonder what motor it could have had in Japan.

BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/9/11 11:17 a.m.

It was more a case of US or rest of the world - IIRC you could get them with the 20R pretty much anywhere, but outside the US, you could also get a twin cam engine (2T-G) in some models.

That said, I think the carb configuration was different in other places (I had an RA40 in Germany ages back and I think that had dual carbs on something like a 20R) and of course most of the cars didn't have the emissions gubbins outside the US and Japan.

blackrabbit New Reader
1/9/11 5:46 p.m.

a classic?? for sure as far as im concerned.. Tim, you are correct in other parts of the world these came w/many engine options!! anything from the lowly 2TC to the 18RG.. including the 2TG, 18RC, 18RG as well as the 20R truck motor we got here... we only got the liftback like this for 2 years 76 and 77 but the model actually came out in 73 everywhere else. heres a pic of the japanese market one i owned a while back and the 73 coupe i still own to this day. vintage celicas.. RA21 and RA25 by blackrabbitracing, on Flickr 1975 celica RA25 by blackrabbitracing, on Flickr

blackrabbit New Reader
1/9/11 5:51 p.m.

almost forgot.. do check out . there are sources there for many bits you might need including the "smiley" bumpers. I think someone is even making them in fiberglass! feel free to email me directly as well, Ive been doing old celicas since 1984... owned over a dozen by now!! blackrabbitracing {at} best of luck w/your new toy.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
1/9/11 7:13 p.m.

I owned one of those. It was silver with a black interior.

BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/9/11 8:13 p.m.

Andy, I'd be worried if you hadn't owned one .

wlkelley3 Dork
1/9/11 8:35 p.m.

Early 70's Celica's are very cool!!

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
1/10/11 8:45 a.m.

I'd love an early Celica. One of the stories I wrote for GRM was a first-gen Celica with an F20C motor swap from a Honda S2000.

Nice score, thanks for sharing!

GSCReno Reader
1/11/11 12:54 p.m.

An 18R-G with Mikunis and some "smiley" bumpers and you'll be stylin', Tim. Period-correct Hayashi Racing wheels look really sweet as well, though I've never seen a set for sale in the States. What mods are you planning? Keep us posted please. Cheers, Scott

BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/11/11 1:52 p.m.

I'm planning to put up a build thread over on the 'other' forum, should be able to c&p that over here.

Most planned mods are to the suspension (lower slightly, try to make it handle OK) and brakes, as the intended use is as an occasional HPDE and Auto-X car. Most of the rubber bushes look shot so I'll be going through those, too.

If the engine is any good (still need to do a compression test), I'm planning to stick a better flowing header on, fix up the carb or get another Weber and possibly put in a better cam. If the engine is duff, I'll try to source an early 22R block and try to use it with the existing head.

Interior wise, better seats and eventually roll bar with harness bar in the back. The interior is pretty bad but I hope I'll be able to collect most of the parts over time and I'm planning to flock some of the parts like the dash pad (which is very cracked) and the headliner (which has no fabric left on it).

Smiley bumpers might be on the cards, I've seen pictures of a white Liftback with smilies that were also painted white...

aeronca65t Dork
1/12/11 6:29 a.m.

Decent cars. I had a later fwd Celica with 7" Diamond wheels (below). Not a great auto-x car, but fun. Back in the day, a good friend of mine bought a first-gen Celica brand new and dropped a 289 Ford in it about 5 years later. Kinda spoiled it.

BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/26/11 12:21 p.m.

Oops, I forgot to update this here thread while I updated the one on GRM, so here we have the Cliff notes:

  • The Weber that is on there is missing some crucial parts like a choke mechanism and it's pretty much impossible to keep the engine running on it. Most of the emissions parts have been pulled, too, so it takes some figuring out as to what I need to block off.
  • Cold compression test values were quite consistent across cylinders but abysmal (60-70psi). It is a low compression engine and I'll need to try and get it to warm up enough to set the valve clearances and try again in the hope that it'll improve.
  • Pulled the rocker cover, looks like some residue from missed oil changes in there and there are wear marks on the cam, but it doesn't look like the engine has done a stupid amount of miles. I'm currently debating pulling the head to check the bores, but I know if I do that then we're talking gasflowed head and oversize valves (a 'better' cam with 22R aluminum rockers is on the cards anyway) "while I'm in there" and I don't know if I want to go this far right now.
  • Bodywise, it's had a smack on the rear corner on the passenger side. Not bad and it's been pulled out but that corner needs a little more work before painting. So far, I haven't found any rust holes. The trunk needs cleaning up, surface rust in the spare wheel well sanded off and repainted. I'll probably do that part of the paint myself, but will leave the outside to the pros.

I've managed to acquire a bunch of used parts (most of the emissions gear, an OEM carb, an OEM exhaust etc, fan duct, uncut and undamaged door cards etc) so things are coming together slowly:

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
1/26/11 1:41 p.m.

Making progress quickly, it seems. Keep up the good work!

BoxheadTim SuperDork
3/13/11 9:16 p.m.

Almost no progress for the last month - we had a major return to winter and it was just too cold and drafty to work in the garage. On the positive side, I managed to pick up more interior parts, a set of 13" Shelby Slot mags with the correct offset (the 14" on the car have the wrong offset on the front) and some more misc parts. Oh, and these:

A set of Mikuni PHH 40 sidedrafts with a Cannon manifold and a bunch of accessories (trumpets and air filters, small bits and a bunch of rebuild kits which I'll need). I'll have to figure the linkage for them which will most likely mean that I'll need to convert to a cable throttle, so I'm not putting them on straight away.

And finally, I got it running better (I hate to say properly) this afternoon. The Weber downdraft on the car was the PO's parts carb, incomplete and just about bodged together so you could start the car and drive it around the yard if you started it five times. No choke, linkage wrong etc etc.

Thanks to the generosity of another GRMer who sold me his parts carb, I was able to put mine together with a working choke - even if I had to swap the water choke for an electric one in the end - and thanks to some setup instructions I found online, managed to put the basic settings together such that the engine fired and actually kept running. Next on the agenda, hook up the electric choke so I can get it to warm up and then hopefully get something like a proper idle out of the engine. I think I need to blank off the EGR for that but given that most of the emissions for the car are in a box under the workbench that's not going to make things any worse. Hopefully I'll be able to hook that all up next weekend and get to set up the choke, time the ignition, set the valve clearances and finally do a compression test hot to see how good/bad the engine is.

And depending on the outcome of that I might want to think pulling the valve gear because the box with the carbs also included a hotter cam and more importantly the aluminium rockers from a 22R, which is a direct replacement for the heavy steel rockers on the 20R.

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