Toyota classics

My dreamcar

when I was 16 was this Toyota Celica .
My father was working on the local Toyota-dealer sice 1967 so I know their history and models from the 60 and 70’s very well
My favorite was the 76-77 Celica liftback
Now I’m old enough to have them.
We have to one 2000 ST with 18R engine and one GT with 18RG twincam, both red.

The 18RG engine

Rallyversion who is sold

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Toyota Celica GT Liftback

Toyota Celica ST Liftback


The Celica

Toyota‘s first global attempt to sell a sports car to the masses was successfully accomplished with the first generation Toyota Celica. The Celica come in many variants, namely the TA22, RA28, and some consider it as the Mini mustang because it’s silhouette resembles the Ford Mustang of the same era. The 1st Gen Toyota Celica was a great hit, and 40+ years later is still thought to be the sexiest Celica from all the seven generations of Celicas.

The marketing success, eye appeal, first generation, rear wheel drive and nostalgic connection that many feel with the Celica are all factors of what makes it an appreciating classic car.

In brief, the Toyota Celica TA22 was first released for sale in December 1970 and continued until September 1975 when the TA23 was released, closely followed by the RA23 from 1976 to 1977. There has been various changes through the years, more of that in our PreFAcelift vs Facelift section, but the major change was the front during mid production.

Model Codes

  • First character is the engine series,
  • Second Character is the model, in our case always “A” for Celica
  • Third/Forth Digits are the specific model variation



 Toyota Celica (A) with the 2T engine (T), 22 referring to a prefacelift Coupe variant. This would be later replaced by the TA23 facelift long-nose model. Toyota Celica (A) with the 18R engine (R), 28 referring to a Liftback variant. There was never a prefacelift Liftback.


When shopping for any car from a Japanese manufacturer, especially Toyota you will see information and references with a series of digits and characters such as TA22,TA23, RA23, RA24, RA25, RA28, TA28 & RA29. These unique codes refer to the exact generation, body style and even trim of the car in question. These codes should be taken religiously especially when searching for parts and a genuine car.

Below is a reference guide to all codes for the 1st Generation Toyota Celica.

Code Year Body Style Engine Markets
TA20 Pre-Facelift Coupe  T Japan only
TA22 Pre-Facelift Coupe 2T  Worldwide
RA20 Pre-Facelift Coupe 8R  Worldwide
RA21 Pre-Facelift Coupe  18R Worldwide
RA22 Facelift Coupe  20R  Worldwide
TA23 Facelift coupe 2T  Worldwide
TA27 Facelift liftback 2T Worldwide
TA28 Facelift liftback 2T-B Worldwide
RA23 Facelift coupe 18R  Worldwide
RA24 Facelift coupe 20R  North America
RA25 Facelift liftback 18R Japan
RA28 Facelift liftback 18R  Worldwide
RA29 Facelift liftback 20R North America

The amount of optional equipment and the engine can be vaguely matched towards the trim of the vehicle, although in theory you could have an ST equipped as a stock GT, in other words do not restrict your search only for GT models or pay a premium because its a GT.

In summary, the trims are as follows from the ‘poorest’ equipped models to the fully equipped ones:

  • ET: Base model (Japan only)
  • LT: Has standard options more than ET
  • ST: Well specced, with the option of further extras
  • GT: Full Extras
  • GTV: Specced for racing, low on specs but comes with the 2T-G engine as standard.


    The best thing that Toyota has designed the chassis for each and every first generation Celica equal, meaning that any engine mentioned below will bolt straight into your Celica. So if you want to go a bit faster, or want to replace your engine, it will be less effort than you think.I have listed all engines available for the first generation Celica from the slowest to the fastest. All engines for the Celica were 4 cylinders, however later models included more valves which meant more power.

    Code Family Capacity HP What’s special about it? Market Rarity
     T  T 1.4l  86hp Base engine, for those who wanted to be economic and to avoid the higher tax bracket on the higher CC engines.  Japan  High
    2T 2T 1.6l 102HP Standard for LT, SOHC layout. World  Low
    2T-B 2T 1.6l 113HP Standard for ST, identical to the 2T but was fitted with twin downdraft solex carburetors. World  Low
    2T-G 2T 1.6l 124HP Standard for GT, lots of upgrades from the standard 2T  World High
     18R-C 18R  2.0l  120HP  Single Cam (SOHC)  World Low
    18R-G 18R 2.0l  134HP  Twin Cam (DOHC)  World High
    20R  20R  2.2l  96HP Single Cam (SOHC), lots of outdated emission control can make this engine perform faster.  North America  Low

    Note: Technically speaking an engine from the same family could be upgraded with parts from the other engine. Additionally the chassis of the Celica remained the same between variants, so stuff like engine mounts should be the same between the ET, LT, ST and GT.