Another day, another fast Toyota on PH. It'll halt soon, promise, but it's been a while since there's been so much excitement around any brand. Leave alone one with Toyota's reputation. With Corolla in the US, Yaris still going gangbusters in the UK and the GR86 now on sale for a bit less than anticipated, there's a lot to be excited by. And that's without mentioning the Supra; maybe not quite as revered, but still a cool sports car to have in the range.
People will tell you the excitement around GR is partly thanks to waiting so long for them, that the glory days of fast Toyotas are so far in the past that prolonged absence has made the heart grow considerably fonder. Partly they're right, as the Supra had been gone for ages before the A90 arrived, and the GT-Four Celica was ancient history by the time the GR Yaris turned up. However, there have been great Toyotas between then and now. Both Mk3 MR2 and Mk7 Celica were launched around the turn of the century and available to the mid-2000s; with so many icons from Toyota (and the other Japanese manufacturers) now worth so much, the MR2 and Celica look an affordable way into some modern classic fun.
This T-Sport was the flagship Celica, using the 190hp 2ZZ engine that more famously saw service in the middle of Lotuses. If its impact was softened somewhat in the heavier Toyota, the 1.8-litre VVTI-L engine still made for a memorable drive: 60mph came up in seven seconds, the top speed was 140mph, and the redline was 8,000rpm. Even at a good time for affordable coupes, from TT to GTV, that made the Celica interesting, especially when allied to a half decent chassis as well. That not many VVTi-L cars seem to be out there probably owes something to all the coupes available at time, and the fact that the Celica look was available with the lesser 1.8; there isn't a great deal to tell this apart from a much less interesting Toyota coupe. Which might also be why those crazy special editions emerged at the end. Look in the murkier parts of the internet and you'll even find MR2s - only offered with the 140hp engine - fitted with the 2ZZ, sort of like a Japanese Elise. Which is probably a right hoot.
It's just a Celica here, however, albeit one that's avoided any modification (assuming the exhaust was always that big) over the years and accrued just over 40,000 miles in that time. There's inevitably some rust mentioned in the MOT history, but that's largely to be expected - it hasn't cropped up on the test report for a while now. Worth keeping an eye on, though.
Otherwise, it all looks pretty encouraging, the paintwork without any issue and the interior turned out especially nicely for its age; two-tone grey isn't exactly racy, but there are no rips in the leather or even significant wear to draw attention to. As always, there's only so much to tell from the pics, however this one really does like a low-mile minter.
And it's yours for £6k before any haggling. Yes, more than Celica T Sports once cost, even recently; along with the MR2s, there was only so long that fun-to-drive, good-looking Toyota sports cars could stay so cheap. A new Toyota coupe doesn't look likely to make them any more affordable. It still doesn't look much in the grand scheme of things, with a comparable TT currently available for twice as much money. And this Toyota won't have to be returned at the end of the PCP, either...
SPECIFICATION | TOYOTA CELICA T SPORT
Engine: 1,796cc, four-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 190@7,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 133@6,800rpm
Year registered: 2003
Recorded mileage: 42,000
Price new: £22,595 (Celica GT, 2005)
Yours for: £5,995
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