1974 Toyota Celica GT

#60536. S/N RA21199092. 74k miles. “2.0-liter inline 4, 5-speed manual transmission, Carnival Red paint, black vinyl upholstery, black vinyl roof, silver 13-inch steel wheels, Toyota AM/FM stereo, Pioneer cassette player, toolkit, spare parts, window sticker.” Condition: 1. SOLD AT $64,050. Bring a Trailer, 11/29/21.

When I first wrote about the RA21 Celica in the April 2017 issue, this was still a sub-$10k car. A year later, a repainted RA21 sold for $15k. But out of nowhere we see this example breech the $60k mark. Is it an anomaly? Not really. One-owner Japanese cars of this age are almost unheard of, especially in this condition. Japanese cars weren’t considered to have much of a future as collectibles in the way a Camaro or Mustang (both of which it resembles) would until decades later. As we often see, the absolute best examples of desirable models can bring twice the price (or more) of cars in lesser condition. This one did receive a restoration back in 2015, in which a vinyl top was curiously added. This makes me think it could have possibly even gone for more without the landau roof. We will have to wait for another one-owner, low-mileage Celica to appear at auction. Don’t hold your breath.

1987 Toyota Supra

S/N JT2MA70L9H0057271. 129,200 miles. “3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, 4-speed automatic with overdrive and electronically controlled transmission with normal and power settings (ECT+ power), Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension (TEMS), 16-inch alloy wheels.” Condition: 3. SOLD AT $5,539. Cars & Bids, 11/24/21.

This A70 Supra is the precursor to the most popular Supra generation, which has left it without many fans. Even so, these don’t normally sell for credit-card money. This car’s flaws were detailed in full on the auction listing, including things like a crack in the taillight, sagging headliner, clearcoat failures and chips. Credit to the seller for honesty, but a lot of these details are barely discernable in the photos, and possibly the bidders judged too harshly here. Overall, the car is in good original condition, with some light wear and tear. Other automatic A70 Supras usually land around $10k, with 5-speeds going for $15k–$20k. Even with its small imperfections, this would be a great driver at a discounted price. Well bought.

1984 Toyota Corolla SR5

#60236. S/N JT2AE86S0E0027986. 103k miles. “1.6-liter 4A-C inline 4, 4-speed automatic transmission, red paint, gray/beige cloth upholstery, steel 13-inch wheels.” Condition: 3+. SOLD AT $9,450. Bring a Trailer, 11/24/21.

1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S

#59589/ S/N JT2AE88C8G0213686. 195k miles. “Rebuilt 1.6-liter inline 4, overhauled 5-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, repainted Medium Blue Metallic, two-tone blue upholstery, 14-inch steel wheels.” Condition: 1-. SOLD AT $35,175. Bring a Trailer, 11/15/21.

While we have tracked the “AE86” Corolla for some time, there haven’t been many listed recently. Then two sold within the same month, at a wide price differential. The red coupe is an SR5 model, a base trim with the 1.6 SOHC 4AC carbureted motor, while the blue hatchback is a GT-S with the 1.6 DOHC 4A-GE with fuel injection. Corolla fans are divided on which body style is preferable. “Initial D,” the Japanese anime that popularized this era of Corolla, featured a hatchback, which probably makes those cars more desirable. The bigger difference is the 4A-GE puts out 50 more horsepower than the 4AC, a significant difference considering the 4AC makes only 75 in stock tune. As for these two examples, the GT-S was much nicer, having received a mechanical and cosmetic restoration. Its $35k hammer price is fairly amazing but well deserved. ♦

One Comment

  1. I remember this car well. Under-powered, poor quality, not impressive from any point of view and expected to last about 80k miles at which point you took them to the junkyard. Back then people bought Japanese cars because they figured that they were so under powered that their kids wouldn’t get hurt in them. No thought was given to safety and it was rare that somebody wore seat belts. The Z-series Datsuns were sport car wannabees that posers and accountants bought not sport car enthusiasts. If you wax nostalgic about how great Japanese cars from the 60’s and 70’s were then I suggest that you stop doing heavy drugs now.