One of the most mind-blowing cars at this year’s Japanese Classic Car Show was Joseph DeMeo’s 1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac. With just 15,200 miles on the odometer, the rally-inspired AWD coupe was basically showroom and the finest example we had ever seen, but Joseph still wasn’t satisfied with it just yet.
According to the window sticker, which Joseph still has, the car sold for $22,863 out the door back when it was new. That’s roughly $48,500 in 2017 dollars, but may Ameratsu bless the soul who shelled out the coin for this unique car back in the day.
Whomever it was got a lot more than an average Celica for their money, though. The All-Trac came with a 190-horsepower turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive powertrain (the naturally aspirated version of which appeared in the Camry All-Trac) via a viscous coupling central locking differential, turning an affordable sports coupe into a high-tech rally monster.
Despite it’s incredible condition, Joseph said that he wanted to go over the entire body with 3000-grit sandpaper to remove any semblance of swirl. It also drove him nuts that the clamps for the turbo air hose had some rust on the surface. When a passerby said that he could simply turn the clamp so that the rusted part wouldn’t be showing, Joseph replied, “But then the clamp wouldn’t be pointed in the factory orientation.”
You’ll never guess what minute flaw he saw from this angle. If you look closely, the fabric on the cargo cover has a tiny spot of wear on the left corner, exposing the brown board underneath. In the photo above, it’s probably the size of a pixel or two. What made Joseph so meticulous about his Celica? Well, he’s a car collector and has had Lamborghinis shown at concours events. All these things are something judges would deduct points for, and he can’t have that. “I want to get this car to concours level,” he explained. That’s a good thing, because Toyota doesn’t even have an All-Trac this clean in their own museum. Fittingly, Joseph took home the Best Neoclassic Award.