2nd Oct 2004, 22:53

I drive a 1981 Celica GT I got it for $200 real high miles the guy I got it from messed up the carb. but I straitened it out and now it really gos it even took my friends Eldorado at take off and that's got a V8.

Plus the Celica and the 1981 Stalet I have are vary reliable, but aren't all Toyota?

6th Mar 2005, 00:53

We just purchased a 1981 Toyota Celica gt with only 90,000 original miles. The body and interior are all original equipment. The only problem so far is no get up and go.. The carburetor was replaced prior to the buy and has had no additional miles since the replacement. Gas mileage is only aprox. 19 miles per gallon. Any ideas???

3rd Jan 2006, 12:43

I bought my 1981 Celica GT coupe in April 1982 - it had ~9,000 miles on it. It has 238,000 miles on it and is still running great, though the body has some rust and requires bondo every few years to pass state inspection. The engine and automatic transmission (w/electric overdrive) are original and have not had anything done to them, but regular maintenance. Still has good power and gets 27 mpg on highway and ~22 mpg overall for the driving I typically do. The only mechanical problem has been a leaky exhaust manifold that needs the nuts on the studs re-tightened every few years. with rear wheel drive this car is even good in the snow with studded tires and a bag of sand (~80 lbs) in the trunk.

15th May 2008, 14:11

I have a 81 Celica GT 5 speed. It's probably the best car you can buy. Cheap, reliable, and lasts forever.

Mine has 300k miles on it and the engine is still pretty strong. The engine is very tunable and parts are easy to find. LC Engineering has great stuff, but are expensive.

The only real down fall is body parts are hard to find. I broke a tail light and can't find a replacement. If you are willing to spend the money, I have $400 in ignition parts from MSD and Bosch 4506 spark plugs, and the car runs better than ever.

23rd Jul 2008, 13:43

They don't make 'em like they used to. I've had my 81 celica for about 10 years now. I was in an accident a few years back. Some girl made a left into me. I spun out through three lanes. Her car was completely totalled. Mine looked fine. I drove it home. It needed some work. But looking at it, you could hardly tell I was in accident.

9th Aug 2008, 02:36

I have a 81 GT and love the little car. I looking for a few parts. Side lights front and rear. The guy that selling the MSD can email me at jagcompany@aol.com. May like to buy the whole setup.

19th Oct 2008, 20:49

I bought my 81 Celica GT about 3 months ago from a tow yard for $500. It's great!! The odometer says 24K, but I'm guessing it's been turned over at least once. The list of what it needs is crazily huge, but it still purrs fine. The body work, well, rust spots in all edges, window seals leak, LOL, can't expect much for a towyard rebuild. I'm looking for parts to rebuild her up. Any ideas, send me a line: hambypaul@yahoo.com

8th Apr 2009, 16:27

Good up grades that I have done so far are, a MSD ignition box, you will need a tach adapter with it, a blaster ss coil, high output wires and good spark plugs, I did some research to find the plug number listed in one of the comments above. It all cost about $400 from checker but the car runs really smooth now and it really improved my gas mileage.

4th Feb 2010, 11:27

I acquired a 1981 Celica that had the SUNCHASER conversion done in Griffin, GA by Griffith. Did some brake work, new clutch, patched the soft top, but she runs and lays rubber like no car I've ever had before. Great little runner. I get 25MPG city and 30 MPG hwy. Can't beat it.

4th Feb 2010, 19:05

That's what makes imports so great. The aftermarket parts market is huge, you can get a ton of power out of the little engines in 'em, and you can still get 30 MPG. Try that with an American car and you'll be good for a straight line (forget corners) and you'll be getting MPG's in the low teens.

11th Sep 2010, 22:46

I have just bought a 81 Celica GT Coupe. It has only 2 spots of surface rust. All original, 106,000 miles, one owner. The paint is about gone but I will repaint all original colors. Windows don't work. But all in all I am excited. Not a single dent, original aluminum wheels.

5th Oct 2010, 08:06

Just bought a 1981 Celica Sunchaser model. 175,000 miles on her. All original. I can't believe how solid this car is... most early Toyotas rot to death. There are two little surface rust spots along the targa bar, that's it. The car runs fine, trans shifts great. The color isn't that great... tan body with the brown int. But all in all, it's a nice little car. I really never see these cars around.

1st Nov 2011, 05:03

Celica mileage: You should get 34 MPG highway, and 20 MPG city. I have a 5 speed one, and that's about right.

I am thinking of fitting an old school six, like a 149 Holden red six, as in the 1963 Holden EH, which gets 36 MPG around town, at a steady 30 mph. (the EH weighs about the same as the Celica).

Other options might be a 225 cu in slant six (which in the 2500 odd pound Dodge Duster returned 35 MPG, in 1976-78). Best of luck!

2nd Nov 2011, 03:33

Re: '81 Celica 's spinning out. Under steer seems to be the cause, I've noticed it myself, on narrowish country roads that wind moderately.

I have been thinking very old school here to address this one. What if we were to fit semi- elliptical leaf springs at the rear? It might take the "wallowing" out of the ride.

I say this because my two other vehicles are Holden coupe utes, and they have 7 leaf springs on the back at each side, and have NEVER shown signs of losing grip in the wet.

They are by no means a fast vehicle (top speed, 65 mph), and are wide and low, and with a power to weight of an early six cylinder muscle car (1292 kg, 145 h.p.), so the motors last forever, as does almost every other component.

One of them has done over 350,000 miles. I would dearly love to see them used in the states. In 1978 to 1981, we had a Valiant one-tonne 2 wheel-drive ute in Australia, that used 7.5 litres/100 km on the highway. There are still plenty around, being used by farmers, etc.

Needless to say they are a HEMI, 4 speed, with ELECTRONIC LEAN BURN Ignition. They are a wide, low, very well built vehicle, rarely require maintenance, and parts are plentiful, [many of the latter still being made], and with the huge new interest in six cylinders, especially old school, for economy, we might just see this sort of thing being made new.

Case in point, look at the new Mustangs. The body shape is almost full circle, back to the early seventies.

Sanity returns?

8th Jul 2015, 20:35

I am looking for a 1981 Toyota Celica GT Coupe with a manual transmission in good shape.

If anyone can find me a great condition Celica which I end up buying, I'll pay a reward.

Email me at vnishimoto@att.net

2nd Aug 2015, 06:22

I had a 1981 Toyota Celica GT; it was the best car I've ever owned. It had plenty of get up and go. I would try to find a factory carburetor for it; with only 90,000 miles, it should have plenty of power. I put over five hundred and sixty thousand on mine, and it still ran great. It just had some rust issues. I wish I would have kept it and fixed the rust; it was that good of a car. Good luck with your Celica!!