By on June 5, 2015

1990 Celica AllTrac

In the pre-Playstation days of the early ’90s, most Yanks knew nothing of the glory of an AWD turbocharged powerslide on gravel. I was lucky, as my dad installed a C-band satellite and we watched all kinds of oddball motorsport from around the globe. I especially loved watching Carlos Sainz and his Castrol-liveried Celica ripping up stages.

The homologation special has been around nearly as long as road cars have been built into racers. Nearly every OEM that went racing built street cars that aped the racers, in an effort to make certain parts kosher for the track or stage. Sadly, many of those meant for rally never made it here to the States, as there were few such enthusiasts here.

The ST185 Celica All-Trac (GT-Four elsewhere) was Toyota USA’s offering in this range. 200 turbocharged horses through all four wheels was quite unusual for the time, though the pride of Normal, Illinois would soon prove the formula could be a sales success for Mitsubishi and Chrysler. This car has nearly 180k on the odometer, which is quite high even for a Toyota. There could be a bit of rot, too. But there were so few of these imported, I’m thinking clean All-Tracs have some collector value. If not, for $5k, thrash it at a rallycross.


Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

25 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: 1990 Toyota Celica All-Trac...”

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen one of these in person. I think everyone bought DSMs and thrashed them into oblivion. Some insane part of me wants to take the drivetrain and transplant it into a Camry All-Trac sedan.

    • 0 avatar

      I have seen a few. And yes, this was my dream too. My dad had a 5 speed Camry All Trac. Possibly the rarest Camry of all time. Had a big button in the middle that said “DIFF”. Good luck finding a running version of each lol.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve seen just a couple. Man, these were in quite the collectors circles for awhile.

      Too bad Toyota can’t (or won’t) produce something like this again.

      • 0 avatar

        Subaru will happily sell you something like this.

        Better, honestly, because it’s not 1990.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re right its not, because in 1990 we appeared to have a bright future.

          • 0 avatar

            I’d like to see Subaru still install diff locks in all its cars to be blunt. Then they might still have some cred with me. Having grown up near Michigan those old 80s Subarus with diff locks had a status that was near legendary for an ability to go just about any place you’d take a four-wheeler.

    • 0 avatar

      I know I’ve seen a white one, because I noticed the black ALL-TRAC hollow letter decal on the back. But that was years ago, and I think it was the only occasion.

  • avatar

    I had an ’88 and lusted after the 90-93’s like mad. Proper liftback, too.

    It’s an AZ car so it could be rust free, but the price is so low that I wonder what wrong with it?

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    at one time you could go to a toyota dealer and get this along with a MR2 and a Supra.

    To quote Steve McQueen at the end of The Sand Pebbles: “What the hell happened?!”

    A rhetorical question I know…sadly we all know the depressing answer.

  • avatar

    I owned one of these. I bought it used with under 20k miles. The sticker on the one I bought was nearly $30k – I paid about $15k. I guess there was little demand for a rally car in Dallas TX.

    It wasn’t the fastest car I’ve ever owned but it was one of the most fun cars to drive that I’ve ever owned. Mine looked just like the one pictured. It also had a killer sound system; Toyota called it “System Ten”. Ten speakers in the car, including 10″ woofers in each door.

    On a mundane Friday afternoon while I was driving home from work; smashed by a Prelude (not my fault). Totaled. The car had about 85k miles on it when the accident happened. Insurance settlement was for $13.5k. I looked to replace it with like kind, but there just weren’t any around. An outstanding car that was overlooked by most.

    • 0 avatar

      10″ subs in the doors!!!!!

      • 0 avatar

        One of my favorite things to do was drive up to the softball field with the windows down, the sunroof open, and the William Tell Overture from A Clockwork Orange blasting.

        Of course if anyone else blasts their music like that they’re flaming a**holes. It was ok for me to do it – after all it was Classical music.

  • avatar

    Cool car for sure but…..Why is this car under the ‘Crapwagon’ feature? I don’t get it. These were fun and very reliable…. I thought the “Crapwagons’ were dedicated to the very tempting cars that hide a Pandora’s Box of issues & very costly repairs or hard to get parts (E.g. SVX, Millenia, 3000GT, Audi RS6, etc…) or what is a Crapwagon anymore? Who knows… B&B – what say you?

  • avatar

    The joys of the big satellite dish days. My favorite memory of them was not discovering Speed when they covered racing (that’s second), but my buddy installing one expressly to pick up the Sunday morning feed of Babylon 5 so we could watch it, sans commercials, hours before the Richmond affiliate showed it that evening.

  • avatar

    So if I would DD a crapwagon, does it still make it a crapwagon?

  • avatar

    Very nice, and much cooler than any non-STI Subaru WRX. The ST205 version of this car not sold in the US is even nicer yet. Love 80-90s Toyotas.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    A buddy worked at a Toyota dealership at the time. His impression is that it was disappointingly slow and heavy. The 323GTX (remember those?) was much more fun.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    This car still looks beautiful and has aged pretty well (not so much the interior). It seemed at that time that they could do no wrong style wise: 3rd gen Camry, 93 Corolla, F&F Supra, LS400, SC400 even the Tercel looked decent.

    Sadly, nowadays it would be probably smoked by a 4-cyl Camry.

    They still command good money here, where IIRC some of the Carlos Sainz editions can still be found. Normal FWD cars can be had for little money.

    In any case, if I owned one of these I’d check for condition/availability on transfer case, rear struts, rear wheel bearings, tail shaft spares and probably a swap for a newer (and more powerful) 3SGTE engine (from a Caldina, like the MR2 guys are doing).

    I remember 2 years ago seeing a guy DD’ng one of these slightly lowered with some big black wheels. Brought me a smile every morning.

  • avatar

    Wait.. what? Crapwagon status bestowed on my first real car bought with hard earned lawn mowing money?

    Bought first one (1990 model) in Dallas in 1997 for around $7500. Red like above. Put 70K miles on it and sold it for $5500. Nothing failed but it was heavy and understeered like Bruce Jenner.

    Picked up a black 93 in 2002 for $10K after some forum idiot told the seller he was way under on price. After seller reneged on agreed price I STILL ponied up the extra money because of first Alltrac experience. Feeling a bit sullied by this I kept the sellers cell phone number and called him once a year just to see how long I could keep him on the phone. For ten years.

    The 93 was, no make that IS since I still have it, well put together and DMS vehicles seem shabby. I woke it up some with straight exhaust and manual boost controller but I like them close to OE and never went with the big wheel or wing business. Most important change was a huge rear adjustable sway bar that de-Jennered it. Can’t sell it because we got engaged in it and I want my daughter to drive it. Currently at 89K miles…

    Forums for these went to crap years ago..

  • avatar

    I think I’d prefer this in white with white alloys, which usually looks good on late 80s and early 90s stuff. Like that prior crapwagon the Piazza.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: 6/21/business/gas-tax-holiday- biden/index.html
  • EBFlex: You realize when you call me comrade you’re calling yourself comrade right? Sit down son.
  • Jeff S: Comrade EBFlex who can even politicize a simple discussion of what to have for dinner.
  • Jeff S: @DenverMike–Didn’t think EBFlex liked vehicles I just thought he was some political hack...
  • bullnuke: UPDATE: The incident referred to by Ol Shel occurred in in a Chicago, Illinois, suburb. The 2nd Amendment...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber