Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota Celica GT Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 toyota celica gt coupe
After producing rear-wheel-drive Celicas for 15 years, Toyota went to a front-wheel-drive Celica platform for the 1986 model year, while the rear-wheel-drive Supra got bigger, more powerful, and more Camaro-like. These Celicas were quick enough to be fun and made long commutes affordable, but they never attracted much of a devoted following. This means that when one wears out, chances are that it ends up getting scrapped.Here’s a first-year fourth-generation Celica that I spotted in a Denver-area self-service yard last month.
This Celica a very straight body and not much rust. The interior is faded and missing some parts, but looks to have been nice enough on the day it entered this junkyard. With only 110,939 miles on the clock, this car has fewer miles than a lot of the eight-year-old Kias around it in the IMPORTS section.
While I have photographed many earlier junkyard Celicas (including this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’81, and this ’83), today’s ’86 is the first front-wheel-drive Celica in the Junkyard Finds series.
For 1986, the Celica GT got the SOHC 2.0-liter 2S-E four-cylinder engine, rated at 97 horsepower. The GT-S version had a DOHC 3S engine making 135 horses.
This one has air conditioning and a climate-control panel that’s more 1980s than A-Ha.
The liftback version was more popular than the coupe; the convertible was available starting in the 1987 model year, but not many were sold.
“At night, boy do I look good!”
The GT-Four version, which had all-wheel-drive and 190 horsepower, could be purchased only in Japan.
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  • Spinnetti Spinnetti on Feb 11, 2018

    Interesting factoid IIRC... This 2S-FE is another fork truck motor like the original Celica had. I had the great misfortune of having one of these cars. As a die-hard Toyota guy, I've had a ton of them.. well, technically many tons of them and this was the worst one of them all. Horrible engine, not enough wheel travel, poor handling. Ick. If it had the 3S-GE it would be forgiven, but not with this motor! PS, Hi Phil! Hope to have the LS back in Lemons this year....

  • Bostonjoe Bostonjoe on Mar 13, 2018

    No love here for the 4th Gen Celica? I've owned a 1989 GT convertible for the last 15 years that has been fun to drive. It's better than this 1986 (has 140 HP), and the convertible lines are still pretty '80s sleek. Absolutely love the car.

  • Arthur Dailey I do miss the exuberant exterior colours of the 1950's domestics, including the two-tone paint jobs. And 'there is no face like chrome'.
  • Bunkie From the “you can’t make this stuff up” department, the headline of the ad that occupied the screen right next to the picture of this Maserati read “Blunder #11”It’s an in joke in my household as my wife keeps getting offers from one of her financial institutions to lease a Maserati, an offer that is, consistently, declined.
  • Theflyersfan Interest rates going sky high should knock out the next group of people on the fence waiting to buy. I haven't looked, but I'm betting 2.9 and 3.9% on longer 60+ month loans are either gone or almost impossible to qualify for. I'm starting to get "turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater" vibes here. And if you're an American in Iran, get out. We don't need a sequel to Argo.
  • Theflyersfan @Matthew Guy: You might have jumped the gun on this one a little bit. Chevy's website doesn't have a build/config page up yet, nor does KBB or Edmunds. All we have to go on is what Chevy has leaked out to us without seeing the finished product. And I don't see prices on options and each model just yet, just somewhat "around this amount." But all that being said, if I was in the market for a pickup, and saying that I close on a new home later this week (locked in rates before interest rates really went crazy), the MX-5 might need a stablemate. And the "regular" trucks that everyone thinks of have just gotten too large, too over-styled (except for the Ram), and way too expensive. So this size truck seems to hit the sweet spot of people, cargo, and ease of driving/parking needs. So, I'd probably go mid-range with something like the Z71 trim level. I'm guessing it'll be in the mid-30's with enough tech to keep everything connected, reasonable enough fuel economy, and comfort for a road trip. There are some great offroad trails all around Kentucky, and that would have me interested in something like a ZR2, but without knowing exact cost, not sure about that one.But in this class, the Tacoma and Ranger are up there in years and Nissan, while putting in a different engine and transmission, pretty much tidied up the same old bones and is selling it as all new...(Z car...cough...cough). I'd still have to try the Frontier vs. Colorado to make up my mind.
  • Bkojote I go off-roading quite a bit (nothing extreme, just some fun scenic trails) and everyone in our group with a Colorado has basically given up or switched to a Toyota/Jeep after dealing with constant issues and $$$ in repairs.The best trim for the Colorado is something on-road biased. These trucks are good for towing toys or some light duty stuff but a burly off road trim on this is silly as the 4WD system can't handle it. While I believe they fixed the major design flaws of the prior generation (an easily-damaged oil pan and poorly positioned shocks that hang precariously low), the clutch-based 4WD system is notorious for failing on moderate trails- look no further than the recent C&D "Trail Boss" review.