The Celica first launched in 1970, and almost immediately became immensely successful not only in its domestic Japanese market, but overseas as well, particularly North America. Its modern “coke-bottle” styling was complemented by spirited performance from a range of four-cylinder engines.
Originally available as a two-plus-two coupe (based on the contemporary Carina), the range was expanded by the addition of the elegant Liftback model from late 1973. Many believe this model, particularly in 2000GT form, to be the most sought-after variant of the original Celicas.
The millionth Celica was built in 1977, just months before the release of the second-generation models. Its specification reflected a renewed focus on the lucrative North American market, and also begat the larger six-cylinder Supra (called the Celica XX in its native Japan). Despite being significantly larger then its predecessor, the new generation was actually somewhat lighter. A mild facelift occurred in 1979, with changes to the lights and bumpers.
The third-generation arrived in 1981 (1982 for most export markets), and was immediately noted for its distinctive flat-surfaced straight-edged styling, incorporating semi-retractable headlights. A mid-life facelift occurred in 1983/4, bringing with it independent rear suspension and revised front end styling incorporating fully retractable headlights.
Perhaps the biggest change came with the introduction of the fourth-generation Celica in 1985, and with it a shift to front-wheel drive. Clean, aerodynamic bodywork provided a fresh break from the previous generations, and the range was joined by the four-wheel drive turbocharged GT-Four version (All-Trac in America). This tech enabled the Celica to maintain a successful rally career, which would continue for much of the following decade.
From 1985, The Supra would become its own separate model, continuing the rear-drive six-cylinder formula and breaking all ties with the Celica.
The somewhat organic ’Super Round’ styling of the fifth-generation models from 1989 proved a little controversial, but ultimately won over enthusiasts, particularly with the continued success of the GT-Four on the World Rally stages. In fact, with this model, Toyota would claim manufacturer victories in 1993 and 1994.
The new sixth-generation models appeared in 1994, and were available as a liftback only—with the exception of North America. The American market received a two-door coupe based on the Japan-only Celica-based Toyota Curren. Styling was intended to evoke that of the newly introduced fourth-generation Supra. Headlights were now fixed, and not retractable.
Once again, a GT-Four model was reintroduced and proved successful in the WRC, despite it being up against the new Subaru Impreza.
The final seventh-generation Celica was launched in 1999. It was only available as a two-door coupe, and four-wheel drive was no longer available. Sales had been slowly declining year over year by this stage, even after a mid-life facelift in 2003. After more than 35 years and over 4.1 million units, production came to an end in 2006.
Price in US dollars.
18" x 24"
24" x 36"
Printed using archival inks on acid-free 220 gsm poster stock.
Shipped worldwide from California in a poster mailing tube.
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Artwork ©2016 Aaron Hillsdon. All model names and designations are trade marks of their respective owners. Depiction does not imply endorsement or affiliation.