A Brief History Of The Toyota Celica [With Pictures]

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The Toyota Celica is one of my favorite vehicles, specifically the 5th generation. However the Celica has had quite the history, spreading over 6 distinct generations.

So let’s take a look at the vehicle through the years!

First Generation Toyota Celica (1971 – 1977)

Toyota Celica First Generation with the muscle car look
Even though this vehicle is very different from the Celica’s that I have owned, it is a pretty stinking cool car. Wouldn’t mind one of these as a project. [Picture courtesy of Toyota USA]

The first generation Celica was actually a rear wheel drive vehicle. With styling cues from the American Muscle vehicles it definitely was a different beast from the later generation Celica’s we know today.

Unfortunately you don’t find too many of these on the road anymore.

Second Generation Toyota Celica (1978 – 1981)

Black and White Photo of Second Generation Toyota Celica
The 2nd generation Celica was only out from 1978 through 1981, a pretty short lived generation [Picture Courtesy of Toyota USA]

The 2nd generation Celica didn’t stray too far from the 1st generation. It was still a rear wheel drive. This also was the last generation before the RWD platform began to be attributed to the Supra instead of the Celica.

The body styling cues definitely were starting to follow the 80’s style of Mustangs.

Third Generation Toyota Celica (1982 – 1985)

3rd Generation Celica convertible in red
The body styling of this generation Celica were definitely beginning to be reminiscent of what we see in later generations. [Picture courtesy of Toyota USA]

The Third generation I would say more builds up the Supra, rather than the Celica name. At this point there were two versions of the Celica, the Celica Supra, and the standard Supra.

The Celica Supra was actually lengthened out slightly to allow for the inline six engine we now attribute to every Supra. At this time, both versions were still rear wheel drive.

Fourth Generation Toyota Celica (1986 – 1989)

4th Generation Celica in red
The 4th generation Celica may not look much different from the 3rd, but underneath it was a completely different vehicle [Picture Courtesy of Toyota USA]

This fourth generation of Celica is the beginning of what everyone knows the Celica as. It switched platforms to become a front wheel drive vehicle. The Supra made its final split and no longer was the same vehicle as the Celica.

This generation was also the beginning of the All-Trac all wheel drive variant. It was a crazy turbocharged 4 cylinder production vehicle that was built to compete in in rallies.

Fifth Generation Toyota Celica (1990 – 1993)

5th generation Celica All-Trac with AWD
5th Generation Toyota Celica All-Trac, because snow and AWD are awesome [Picture Courtesy of Toyota USA]

The 5th generation Celica is by far my personal favorite. I have owned multiple different versions including the ST, GT, and the GT-S. All have been great vehicles.

This is also the unconfirmed first main stream vehicle to switch away from the angular body style of the 80s and into the flowing style that many vehicle now have today.

Sixth Generation Toyota Celica (1994 – 1999)

6th Generation Celica with rounded style headlights and black paint
The 6th Generation Celica was a great vehicle, and stuck to the Celica tradition [Picture courtesy of Toyota USA]

The 6th Gen Celica shook things up a little bit by creating a little bit longer looking vehicle and having 4 round headlights that hadn’t been seen before in a Celica. It was a bit of a polarizing style.

This was also the last generation to have the AWD All-Trac, an unfortunately short lived variant of a great car.

Seventh Generation Toyota Celica [2000 – 2005]

7th generation Celica in black paint
The 7th generation Celica definitely was a different look and style, although was a great looking vehicle [Picture courtesy of Toyota USA]

In an attempt to keep sales going, Toyota heavily revised the look of the Toyota Celica. It switched over to being an angular body style, and looking to be a much more modern looking vehicle.

Unfortunately even with the revamp, this became the final generation of Celica. We can only hope it will come back again.

For now we will have to make due with the new 2020 Supra I guess!