Digestible Collectible: 2000 Toyota Celica GTS
For our readers under the age of 25, let me tell you a bedtime story. There once was a time when Toyota sold sports cars.
Seriously. The company now best known for beige once offered a fleet of interesting, sporty, high-performance cars. The Celica, Supra, Celica Supra, rear-drive Corollas, FX16 GTS, and MR2 all came from your friendly Toyota dealer. Nowadays, if you want a little pizazz with your “Famous Toyota Reliabilty,” you must wander to the dank corner of the showroom labeled Scion.
I wonder if, rather than demoting the impressive-but-slow-selling FR-S to the lifestyle brand, Toyota could have revived a nameplate that had some actual credibility beyond drift fanatics. The Celica sold well for a couple decades and was a rear-drive coupe at the beginning, so the name wouldn’t be completely out of left field.
Today, I look at the final generation of Celica, this of the GTS variety. With around 190 horsepower out of a high-revving, small-displacement four, the GTS is — to me at least — an affordable alternative to the legendary Acura Integra Type-R. It’ll never bring the same kind of money good ‘Tegs do, but there are relatively plenty to go around. This one, for $5,800, looks like an absolute bargain. It’s not perfect, but with a detail it could get close.
I’ve heard about some issues with the 2ZZ-GE engine when used on track, but since the engine been used in Lotuses (Loti?) for fifteen years, I’m sure the aftermarket has picked up the slack. If I had the spare garage space — and spare cash, naturally — I’d seriously consider picking this beauty up.