Monday, December 2, 2013

1981 Toyota Celica Sunchaser

I wrote about one of these cars back in 2010. I have taken some of the text from that post.

The convertible conversion was done by the Griffith Company. The Griffith Company was owned by Jack Griffith. That's the same Jack Griffith who dropped Ford V8s into TVR Granturas and created the pretty spectacular TVR Griffith in the 1960s.

The Sunchaser was created with the blessings of Toyota and sold through Toyota dealerships with a full factory warranty. Built for roughly 3 years, there were, depending on the source, somewhere between 2000 and 3000 built in total.

The conversion was similar to a number of convertibles of the day (i.e Baur BMW). The roof immediately behind the windshield to the edge of the B-Pillar was removed and a removable fiberglass targa top was installed in its place. The B-Pillar and a section of the roof was left in place and a fold-down vinyl top covered the rear portion of the interior. The undercarriage was also heavily modified. When introduced, the Sunchaser was praised by testers for its structural rigidity.

This car looks to be in nice, original condition. The car I wrote about in 2010 had body graphics on it. You should ask the seller if this car came with the graphics. If they were removed for a respray, check for rust repairs, as older Toyotas had rust issues Personally, I like the car better without the graphics.

This generation Celica was never considered a true sports car, and this one, with an automatic transmission, will certainly not scare you with its performance. But, being a Toyota, it will most likely run forever with minimal problems. It's an easy to own, easy to drive, "weekend car."

There are similar styled convertibles available; the Lancia Beta Zagato, the above mentioned grey market Baur BMWs, the Jaguar Cabriolet, etc. All, in their own way, are great cars with better "names" than Toyota. None, however, have the legendary dependability and easy, inexpensive parts availability like the Celica has. There is something to be said for that.

Located in Charlotte, NC, click here to see the eBay listing.


Anonymous said...

This chick car makes a VW Rabbit Covertible look like something from a Monster Truck ralley.

Wilson Toyota Scion said...

Like this post about one of Toyota’s older convertibles! It looks like it is in great condition!