1988 Toyota Celica GT 22R from North America


This car is reliable, fun, and you can park it anywhere


Exhaust system needed replacement from headers.

All steering and suspension components replaced.

Some window switches and various interior controls had reliability problems, but I attribute this to poor electrical work performed by the previous owner and would expect my problems were unique to the vehicle.

Convertible top needed replacement.

General Comments:

This was a really fun car to drive. In spite of its poor level of maintenance (I purchased from an older woman who hadn't been able to drive it in years, the car ran and drove well. I live in the southern US, so the convertible top was a joy year round.

The engine and five-speed manual required only basic maintenance, and were extremely reliable. If you're considering this vehicle, try to get the 5-speed, as the engine lacks low end torque and you'll want to compensate with manual control of the engine speed.

The fuel economy was nice; my commute is mostly on freeway and I was averaging 30+ MPG.

Despite not being the "quickest" car I've ever driven, it is still a lot of fun. I found it to handle decently in corners and the FWD provided superior control in wet conditions. There is a nice balance between economy and performance.

The best part for me was the comfort; I am 6'4" tall had plenty of head and leg room, with very supportive front seats. Even without the rag top I would've still been quite fond of this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th September, 2005

1988 Toyota Celica GT-Four 2.0 turbo from UK and Ireland




Vacuum hoses split.

Intercooler leaked coolant into the intake.

Rear suspension bush failed (major job)

Knock sensor failed.

ECU light on all the time.

Ran badly.

Loads of other minor things.

General Comments:

Not very impressed really. I can see why it would have been so good at the time, but it is over complicated for what it is. Really not worth sinking cash into.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 31st July, 2005

15th Jun 2006, 14:01

I'm glad there are much people like this writer.

The more people who bring this extraodenary car to a junkyard, how rarer this car will get.

I own one and had to restore it for a whole lot of money, tree times the buying price.

Now it's perfect and it drives better than a 1992 Carlos Sainz.

The St165 is very complicated and even nowadays mechanics can't handel it.

1988 Toyota Celica GT 2 liter 3SFE from North America


Buy one, but check carefully for rust


Rust, rust, rust. Entire front crossmember was rotted out and had to be rebuilt from 1/8 inch plate steel. If this had to be done at a garage, it would have cost much more than the car was worth, so I am lucky my dad is an experienced welder. Entire rocker panel on the right side had to be welded back together. Frame rail on right side had to be welded. A few holes in the floor still need to be welded. Lots of rust, I tell ya...

Motor or tranny mount is bad, makes a bad clunk if I decelerate, then press the gas again.

Cruise doesn't work. I suspect a bad speed sensor on the transmission.

Power mirrors don't work.

Handbrake doesn't work. The front cable is bad. Cheap to fix, but I haven't done it yet.

Rear struts needed to be replaced when I got the car. Hard to find, new or used.

Fuel pump is making a moaning sound. I haven't looked to see what could be causing this yet.

Heater controls on the dash are broke. I n order to adjust where the air blows, I have to reach up behind the dash and pull a lever, but I usually leave it set to blow onto the window. Controlling the heat itself is another story. I have to push a wire under the hood to adjust the heat, which by the way will not turn off totally.

General Comments:

I bought this car from the original owner for 400 bucks 3 months ago. They apparently didn't put much effort into preventing the car from rusting, as the car is extensively rusted. It's a good thing my father is handy with a welder, otherwise the repairs would cost much, much more than the car is worth. It took 4 days to repair the front crossmember alone.

For being an old car, it doesn't have many miles on it. 130000 original miles on the odometer. The engine still runs good, but there's some rattling coming from the head. I assume the valves need to be adjusted.

My oil pressure bothers me. When the car is warmed up and idling, the gauge is only 1/4 up. I find myself occasionally revving the motor a bit to build up pressure. I don't know if the pressure is too low, but I don't feel comfortable about it.

The gear shifter seems to have a fairly long throw, which is odd for a sporty car. This makes it somewhat hard to shift fast. My brother's Civic has a much shorter throw to the shifter.

The clutch was replaced about 4 years ago, but was only driven a few thousand miles since then. The guy who owned this car before me had the clutch replaced then retired shortly after. I guess he didn't feel the need to drive the car much afterward.

The 2 liter engine provides a good amount of power, I have no trouble merging into high speed traffic, and I rarely have to downshift on highway hills. It's pretty easy on fuel as well, on a steady speed highway cruise, it will return 35 mpg or so. There's more than enough power to keep up with city traffic. As with most multivalve four cylinder engines, there's not a lot of torque below 2500 rpm, but cross that point and the engine springs to life. Power drops off above 5000 rpm. With the engine, I find I can pull away in third gear at 1300 rpm and the engine doesn't complain. Redline is set at 6000, but it will go to 6400 before the cutoff kicks in. There is no need at all to go that high normally as there's very little power at those engine speeds. It's not the smoothest engine though. It does get loud in the upper rpm ranges, and does shake a bit at idle. No balance shaft, I assume. My brother's 93 Civic DX will outrun the car to a point, but at about 75 mph, the little Honda starts to run out of breath, and that's where the Celica starts to catch up.

With the standard 13 inch tires, there's not a lot of cornering grip. The tires will howl if you take a turn a bit too fast. It's also rather easy to break the tires loose on pavement. I've barked the tires more than once without trying to do so.

Leg room is sufficient, but shoulder room is a bit lacking if you're built like a football player. Leg room in the rear seat is skimpy, if the front seat is back more than half way, you practically half to sit crossways on the rear seat if you don't want to be squeezed.

The car has a quite large turning radius. This makes it awkward to wiggle in tight parking lots. The power steering works flawlessly, and isn't feather light, like some larger Ford cars. It has a bit of weight to it, but still doesn't offer very much road feel. A true sporty car shouldn't have power steering, but it wouldn't be very easy to live with if it didn't.

The driver's seat has a quite useless adjustable lumbar support feature. You turn a knob, and it adjusts one of the seat cushions to provide extra lumbar support. This isn't very effective. The driver's seat also has a slightly more useful bottom cushion adjustment to make it tilt up or down by a small amount.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th June, 2005

28th Jun 2005, 10:21

You would have been better off taking all the money you have put into this one and buying a decent example to begin with. You can put a lot of money into a rusty old car, and you will still have... a rusty old car.

29th Jun 2005, 09:05

I'm the author or the review and I'm 25. Secondly, I've barely put 100 bucks into the car so far for repairs, 10 bucks the the plate steel, 25 for MIG welder wire, 20 for arc welder rods, and 30 for miscellaneous items. My dad did thw work for me, so I saved a lot on labor costs. Now, let me tell you about that front crossmember. The original crossmember as it comes from the factory is made of a thin sheet metal. The metal that was used to rebuild the cross member is plate steel, one-eighth on an inch thick. If you know anything about metal working, you would know that 1/8" plate steel is much thicker and much stronger than thin sheet metal. so I would, without hesitation, say that the rebuilt piece is at least twice as strong as the one that was there originally.