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Published on April 21st, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Used 1973 Classic Toyota Celica ST review

There are some cars that never fail to amaze me with their continued appeal year after year even with limited spares and rusting problems. One such car is the Toyota Celica, namely the 1974 Celica 1600ST. The original Celica was equipped with a carbureted four-cylinder engine displacing 1.6 liters. Starting in 1971 as a rear-wheel drive sporty looking coupe designed to take on the Datsun 240Z, another popular and attractive looking car.From 1971-74 the Celica used a 120cu.in. motor that started out with 90hp and was later upgraded to 96hp. Interior room was sparse but comparable to a Toyota KE30 hatchback interior which means lots of room in the front, tight in back. These cars had a rather high visual line and low seats so seeing out over the hood was a problem, especially for shorter drivers.

A 4-speed manual box with a 3.727 final drive driving the rear-wheels with 165SR13 radials and a front disc/rear drum brake setup was all that Toyota could manage in the seventies. The steering rack was a recirculating-ball with a 32.8ft turning circle. The suspension used was independent front with coil springs with a live axle rear with coil springs. Suspension could be described as too-stiff and handling was above average. Braking improved as the model years progressed and many owners opted for aftermarket systems to keep them from riding up a tree. For 1976, the wheelbase was lengthened to 98.3in and a 3-door fastback was added to the line-up. The engine was carried over as it was new to the Celica for 1975 coming from the larger Corona model.

In 1976, the Celica line was enlarged with the addition of the liftback model, available only in GT trim. The GT package included the larger engine, offered sportier handling, higher-grade trim, etc. The liftback model was marketed as a sport-touring type vehicle, offering greater comfort and more luggage capacity than other hatchback cars.

Prices for a classic 1974 1600ST starts from RM7,000 which some might say is high however this price buys you an average ‘banger’. A mint condition rust free ST will fetch anywhere between RM20K to RM28,000 depending on your negotiation skills. Finding one will take time. Your biggest concern will have to be rust, rust and rust. Body and trim parts are very hard to come by however places like Australia still have a huge stockpile of parts and prices are reasonable. Only problem is that you will need to fly there and hand carry them back!

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