When it comes to new cars, there aren’t that many sporty FWD coupes around. This was a category that used to be rife with competition – you couldn’t swing a dead cat but for hitting a Prelude, Eclipse, Scirocco, or, in its later years, a Celica – and most all of those cars were pretty darn fun to drive. I think that the seventh generation of Celica – its fourth since making the switch to front-driver – is also one of the most arresting car designs ever offered on a small coupe.
Now, I know we all like our sporty cars to be rear-wheel drive and manually transmitted, but considering the space and cost efficiencies of front wheel drive, and the fact that almost all the little sporty cars were based on more plebeian sedan hardware, it’s simply a fact of life that understeer was going to rule the day in these economical but engaging rides. The seventh series may not have offered AWD and an intercooled turbo mill like the Alltrac editions of its closest predecessors, but the 140-bhp produced by its 1.8-litre VVT-i four was a pretty good starting place. With 180-horses on tap, the 2ZZ-GE-powered GT-S gave drivers even more to play with, and both of those engines could be paired with a 6-speed stick.
Not only was the Celica in its early aughts guise a looker and a reasonable performer, but through Toyota’s performance arm, TRD, even more fun could be wrung out of the platform. The thing of it is, these days you hardly ever come across one of these Celicas that hasn’t been marred by some spectacularly horrible body kit. I know owners want to express themselves but whatever happened to getting a mis-spelled tattoo? I think that a stock seventh gen Celica, especially the GT-S model, is an under appreciated car. Do you share those thoughts? Should we all be snapping up clean and original low milage examples as investments? What do you think about these pointy Celicas, do they warrant a Brah! or a Blah?