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 Post subject: These are Factory authorized
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
88TSI_Rob wrote:
Years ago my neighbors had a mid-80's Celica 'vert.

I guess they are still relatively easy to find on Ebay:

1980 Celica Sunchaser in Montana
1985 Celica in Maryland
1985 Celica in Florida
1987 Celica in Canada
1984 Celica in Florida

Although they are a little newer, what about adding to your list the Geo Metro convertible (was it coach built?) and the Infiniti M30 convertible?


Thanks for posting those convertibles. Starting in 1984, Toyota knew they needed to compete for the growing convertible buyer market, so they contracted directly with American Specialty Cars (also known as American Sunroof Corp. & ASC) to convert coupe Celicas into convertibles. This is how all the early '80s factory sponsored convertibles began. The '82 K-Cars, the '83 Mustang, '82 Riviera etc were all 2dr hardtops that were sent to a shop for the convertible conversion. The only difference between the cars I listed before and the post-'84 Celicas are that the later ones are "factory autorized" conversions. They appear in all the munufacturer brochures and are sold to any car dealer from the manufacturer. The '83 and older Celicas are all done without factory backing.

the '90 Geo Metro is also a factory sponsored convertible, though I don't know if the convertible was a conversion that was done after the car was built or if it was engineered as a convertible and built in the factory, like most convertibles today are built. As for the '91 Infiniti M30 convertibles, they were built as coupes, then sent to ASC for the convertible conversion. Both the Geo and Infiniti are manufacturer sponsored, so they do not fit the theme of this thread.


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 Post subject: '84 Celica from Germany
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
The Europeans did not get our Toyota approved Celica convertibles built in the U.S. by ASC. Here is a brochure for a converted Celica in Germany:

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 Post subject: Here are a few Coach built converts for sale
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
I guess I am posting this to show how common (and affordable) these custom, series built conversions are.

'86 Honda CRX (by Straman) http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/car/480282151.html
This car runs excellent, 5000 o.b.o: Red exterior & Black interior "Good" condition meaning it is free of any major defects. This vehicle has a clean title history, the paint, body and interior have only minor blemishes, and there are no mechanical problems at all. The tires match and have substantial tread wear left. You can contact me if you have any questions at (702)292-2831 after 4pm or (909)574-9637

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1981 Toyota Celica Sunchaser Convertible (by Griffith) - $6000
http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/car/456895933.html

This vehicle has always been garaged to my knowledge and the condition of this 26 year old car proves this is true.

The conversion was done by a company named Griffith and it is called a Sunchaser edition.

This vehicle currently has 37,057 original miles and everything on this car works perfectly. The interior and exterior are about as perfect as a 26 year-old car can get with no body damage or wear to the interior. The tires are practically new with less than 2000 miles on them and the wheels are original to the vehicle.
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1982 Toyota Corolla Convertible (by Griffith) - $3499
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/ ... 69854.html

For Sale 1982 Toyota Corolla Convertible for $3,499 in good condition, if you need more information pleace contact Miguel at 571-437-5660 or E-mail me at romad1234@univision.com. Thanks
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1984 nissan 300 ZX Roadster (by Straman) - $2500
http://dallas.craigslist.org/car/483111296.html

this is a project car, in need of restoration. a 1984 Nissan 300 ZX 2 seat roadster...yes folks, this is a real convertible! it has a square tube sub-frame, was done when the car was new by a california convertible shop. I was told about a dozen or so cars were converted at a cost of 10,000 plus the original cost of the car. the good news is this car is mostly compleate...the only thing missing is the auto trans,which I was going to have rebuilt, but someone stole for the metal recycler...but I do have everything to make it a 5-speed. it has a 235 kph speedo, all guages, plus turbo. also has a full light tail light that has 300 zx in the center. engine in car needs a cam, gear broke at idel clean from metal fatigue, according to my mechanic. have 60,000 mile motor and the stick setup to go with car. will take best offer. have clean title, and it is stored in my barn out of the weather. I drove this car for several years...very fast, corners like it's on rails. very light, has fibreglass trunk lid. will try to get pics up in next few days. call my cell at 903-449-0417 for more info.
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 Post subject: An article from Time Magazine, 1980
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
Topless Craze
Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 14, 1980

As love affairs go, America's passion for the convertible has been low key but enduring. From the dawn of the auto age, the sleek stargazing ragtops have symbolized youth, fun and sun. Generations of couples romanced at drive-ins in their back seats, while film starlets and Presidents were photographed proudly sitting behind their steering wheels. But convertibles never accounted for a large slice of Detroit's market; and they finally were killed by air conditioning, increasing vandalism and high-speed driving on interstate freeways. One by one, the big automakers stopped building them. The last U.S.-made convertible, a special Bicentennial Cadillac Eldorado, rolled off the assembly line in 1976.

Now, however, the convertible is making a comeback. In Florida several enterprising entrepreneurs are beheading standard model Toyotas, Datsuns, Cadillacs, Pontiacs and Ford Mustangs to recreate the mystery of a car without a roof. The Florida firms, such as American Clout Inc. and the Griffith Co., work only with new cars. In a 25-hour operation, the standard top is chopped off with a diamond-toothed saw and a polyvinyl one is installed. Unlike the convenient convertibles that Detroit once offered, Florida's new tops do not pop up at the first drop of rain. They must be mounted into place. Once back in the auto dealers' salesrooms, the new convertibles go for roof-raising prices. Griffith's open-top Toyota Celica sells for about $3,500 more than with its roof still on.

The glamour of a convertible is both eternal and profitable. Griffith originally expected to turn out about 300 ragtops annually but is now producing 150 a month, and has established conversion plants in Jacksonville, Detroit and Los Angeles. The typical buyer is a James Dean in pinstripe. He is a single, 25-year-old junior executive male, making $25,000 a year. He is also someone willing to pay a lot to vroom into the sunset with his blown-dry hair tossed gently in the soft wind.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... hix-sphere


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 Post subject: '83 Celica by Matrix3
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
Just stumbled on this....

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 Post subject: '81 Datsun 200SX Conv by American Custom Coachworks
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
This one is for sale. Nice car.

http://forums.nicoclub.com/zerothread?i ... id=3117679

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:05 am
Posts: 382
Location: S.W. Missouri
That's a cool car. Takes me back to my old 81 hatch. Had alot of good times in that car.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:23 pm 
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Put a flaming chicken on the cover and you're ready to fight crime with the Western Police division!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:09 pm 
Just thought I'd add my car.


I've only seen VERY few Griffith conversions, I've seen alot more Matrix converted corolla's. The thing that gets me is the elusive 1983. The 1980-1982 Converted corolla's had the TE chassie, only the 1983 had the AE chassie which has a duplicate drivetrain/suspension as an AE86 while still having the classic look. It said on this list......


80-83 Toyota Corolla Convertible Specialists Inc.(82) Sparlingco(82,83) American Custom Coach(83) Matrix3(83) Griffith(82)


Griffith (82) but mine is a 1983 Griffith. I have the ID tag in the glovebox.


heres a few pics of my car before i picked it up.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:49 pm
Posts: 154
Location: Norfolk, UK
Only just picked up on this thread, fascinating stuff! I didn't realise you got quite so many conversions. For various reasons they've never been so popular here in the UK - while there were domestic people chopping tops off (Crayford in particular) they were mostly doing British/European models.

A handful of 1981-ish Griffith Celica Sunchasers were sold here, 12 rings a bell. Seen one or two of these at shows.

I think the rust that most cars here suffer from would see off even the best-converted car!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:09 am 
Here is my 1982 Griffith Corolla
Griffith emblem on trunk and logo with model# in the glove box.
She needs some tlc but it is an on going project.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
I have seen the Griffith Corollas referred to as the "SunRunner". Do any of you with the Griffith Corollas have any badges/labels/stickers that call your cars a SunRunner?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:24 pm 
slimwhitman wrote:
I have seen the Griffith Corollas referred to as the "SunRunner". Do any of you with the Griffith Corollas have any badges/labels/stickers that call your cars a SunRunner?


I have read the same but my auto does not have any distinction of the Sunrunner name anywhere.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:57 pm
Posts: 8458
Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA
I thought the SunRunner was just the ones with the black hoop roll bar?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:09 pm 
datsunfreak wrote:
I thought the SunRunner was just the ones with the black hoop roll bar?


i think the Celica was reffered to as the "Sunchaser" and it came as a targa top and convertible with and/or without the rollbar but my recollection is the 82 and 83 Corolla as the "Sunrunner"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
The Celica with the targa hoop was universally known as the 'Sunchaser'. Griffith also made an AMC Concord/Eagle into a convertible with the targa hoop and called it the 'Sundancer'. The Griffith built Corolla convertibles did not seem to have a universal name, though I have seen the 'Sunrunner' term pop up from time to time.

'SunRunner' does not appear to show up on the brochure for the Griffith Corolla posted above, so maybe that name was only used internally within the company. There might have been a copyright problem with that name.

To clarify: ALL Celica Sunchaser convertibles built by Griffith had the targa rollbar. If a Celica Conv has no rollbar, then it was built by someone else, not by Griffith.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:16 pm
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Location: Saratoga N.Y.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:27 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:25 am
Posts: 15
Location: Hampton, NB, Canada
Excellent thread! Thanks for all the info!

I just found the thread (and the forum) through Google while looking for info on a 200SX convertible I always see in my town in the summer. I'll have to grab some photos of it this year and post them up.


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 Post subject: Stunning '83 Celica Conv by Matrix (for sale)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
I just stumbled on this, so thought i'd share it:
http://orlando.craigslist.org/car/617193399.html
toyota celica GT 1983 - $5000

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Reply to: sale-617193399@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-03-24, 4:59PM EDT


Beautiful, always garage kept. Only 78,500 miles(not a typo). California Matrix convertible conversion. Red (original paint) with stylish black top. Interior in excellent condition. Unique/one of a kind car. A must see.

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 Post subject: A really nice CRX Spyder
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:10 am
Posts: 122
Location: KC,KS
http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/car/598339788.html

1987 HONDA CRX FACTORY CONVERTIBLE - $5500

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Reply to: sale-598339788@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-03-07, 5:59AM PST


All orig. 112k new timing belt,seals,therm, tires (on fac 14 si mags). New top, winshield,paint ( stock),Car was 1 of 310 made, sold at dealership in palo alto, authorized by honda, fast and fun,motor and car like new--very rare, sweet little ride and don't forget 45 mpg. I'll get pics up in a few days its silver with charcoal around the bottom all stock two part clear coat. please call, I know every nut and bolt on this car, Bob @ 503-679-4915.

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