Return of the RWD Celica?

Speculation continues to abound at the reincarnation of a lightweight, rear wheel drive Toyota. For those of you who haven’t been following this particular rumor-fest, a quick recap: First, in August 2007, it was the Japanese magazines that began reporting on a comeback for the famed AE86 Corolla or hachiroku. Further details from Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun emerged, saying that Subaru, which Toyota purchased an 8.7% share of from GM in 2005, would be providing a boxer engine for the motivation. In October 2007, word leaked that Toyota had created an internal “committee to create interesting cars” and in November, more grapevine gossip said that Celicas, MR2s and Supras were all in queue for revival.

Now, is reporting that this new RWD compact will be a Celica, not a Corolla. If this is true, the new Celica will be offered in coupe and hatchback body styles (what, no liftback?) and in GT or GT-4 trim. The GT will have Subaru’s standard 2.0L boxer and RWD, while the GT-4 will have the 300hp 2.0L from the WRX STi and AWD. This could also mean a return to World Rally Championships for Toyota.

Not since 1985 and the A60 chassis has the Celica been RWD. In 1986, the Celica split off completely from the shared Supra/Celica platform and became four-cylinder FF or AWD only. The world is in dire need of a light, rear-driven coupe. Let’s hope this turns out to be fact, not just rumor, and if the car turns out to be retro-styled after the original Celica, well, that’ll be the bee’s knees.

Read the translation at World Car Fans.

This post is filed under: retro, subaru, toyota.

14 Responses to Return of the RWD Celica?

  1. Mr.L.J. Nordvik said:

    I’ve nothing but respect and fondness for Subaru,but I think a Celica should be a pure Toyota product.Say what you like about Porsche and Ferrari,but they do know a thing or two about preserving tradition and heritage,and I wish Toyota could take a lesson from them.Personally,I’d love for the Celica to go retro,MK I-style.As an MR2 Roadster owner myself I’d love to see a new one more than any other model,and I feel it should be an evolution of the last model,design and engineering wise.

  2. 88TSI_Rob said:

    I could see this happening. Toyota is the top 1 or 2 automaker in the world and it doesn’t have a rwd coupe to compete with Ford & Nissan and soon Chevy, Chrysler, and even Hyundai will be competing in this segment.

    The Subaru engine is an interesting choice. It’s probably just a matter of cost and time. It’s cheaper/easier to drop the Subaru engines in then to convert one of their engines to work longitudinally. Plus as an added benefit the Subbie engines have a huge aftermarket parts catalog which should make this car very appealing to the tuner crowd.

  3. Mr.L.J. Nordvik said:

    Yes,it’s probably cheaper to scavenge Subaru parts,but I’m getting a bit tired of Toyota using costs as en excuse not to make fun,niche market cars.They’re drowning in money,for goodness’ sake!

  4. Jeff Brown said:

    I think Toyota should go with the idea of making a comeback AE86 car, like was originally intended. As cool as the original Celica was and some of the later models were too. Not many cars have gathered such a cult following like the AE86. And i’m sorry but, I don’t see Toyota loyalists flocking to buy this car if it has a boxer engine in it, even if it has 300hp. Why wouldn’t you just go and buy a Subaru. Besides, Toyota was never much for badge engineering. If they do make a car like that I will wait for the thud when it hits the ground.

  5. elmonoloco said:

    Is Toyota out of their freakin minds??!! A Subaru engine in a Toyota??? That’s like putting a ford engine in a chevy! You can do it but it aint right! I want a flippin Toyota motor in my Flippin Toyota…..AAARRRGHHHHH Give me a rear wheel drive, cheap, cool looking car that isn’t a P.O.S! NOW!!!!

  6. Tosco said:

    Put a 1uz-fe in it. What’s wrong with older engines? No developing needed, and they were great motors. Toyota has a rich history of producing the best inline motors in the world, why is it that they dont produce any now? v-6’s are sad, boxers are neat, but not really “in line” with toyota’s history (no pun intended; ) lol.

    If its gonna be a retro celica I will buy the minute it hits the lot, no matter the cost. If the car has the original “mustang styling at half the cost” kick to it theres no way it cant be a success…

    My only worry is that toyota will try to distance themselves from the mustang look of the original liftback…

  7. jonas v said:

    I’m a bit of a purist myself but if Toyota was going to outfit the new Celica/AE86 with an off brand engine, Honda gets my vote: F20C. already tried, tested and pretty close to proven.

    If the committee has already been commissioned for “interesting cars” then why form it for just 1 model? If it makes the Celica its first choice it will have existed for only one car. Celica sales have always been lower than that of the Corolla’s. I believe if the Celica became Toyota’s first “interesting” car out of the shoot, the newly formed committee may quickly become the “maybe not so interesting committee so let’s stick to our fwd, eco friendly plans ” bad idea committee. Sales will be meager in my opinion. Out of the 3 cars: Corolla, Celica & the WRS/STi, which is the most commonly seen vehicle on the road across demographics? I think we all know the answer.

    Though I am an admirer of the Celica, if it is ever to be resurrected and have a stable future, Toyota’s “Committee for Interesting Cars” should establish one for itself first. I’m convinced, the way this young committee can accomplish just that is behind the wheel of a new Corolla, rwd of course.

  8. Jnostalgics said:

    Wow, diverse range of opinions here. We like! šŸ™‚

    Right or wrong, the main reason Toyota might want to use the Subaru engine is because they have no more 4-cylinder RWD drivetrains ready to go. The idea of a Subaru engine may not appeal to all, but maybe it’s worth it if it can quickly bring the car to market. At least it’ll have a cool exhaust note :). I think we can all agree that a retro-styled RWD Celica (or Corolla) would be fantastic though!

  9. Tosco said:

    Of course the corolla is the highest selling car in toyota’s lineup. It’s the best selling car in history. But that doesnt mean that it should take precident as the first car to be released by this project. Sports cars always sell in lower numbers. How many Corvettes did Chevrolet sell as opposed to say, Cavaliers? Lol, but its the Corvette that Chevrolet uses to build their reputation, and so Toyota needs a sports car to fill that gap. Thats the natural balance of things historically. A well rounded company needs
    A large family sedan
    A small family sedan
    A van
    A full Size truck
    A midsize truck
    A light truck
    A full size SUV
    A light SUV
    A high powered sports car
    An affordable sports car
    An economy car

    That’s a well rounded Automotive company. Now lets look at Toyota.

    3 large family sedans———–Avalon, Camry, Camry Solara
    1 small family sedan————Corolla
    1 van——————————-Sienna
    1 full Size truck——————-Tundra
    1 midsize truck——————-Tacoma
    0 light trucks———————-NA
    5 full size SUVs——————-4runner, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Landcruiser, Sequoia
    1 light SUV————————Rav4
    0 high powered sports car—-NA
    0 affordable sports car———NA
    1 economy car——————-Yaris
    1 green car/electric hybrid—-Prius
    1 Anomoly————————Matrix

    What are they planning to add to their Line-up? A crown, and another matrix type car called the Venza. Wow. So just more of the same. How boring. Meanwhile Nissan will release, or rather unleash, the unanswered GTR on North America and Toyota will once again be sitting quaint and fat in the corner. Strange days indeed… :S

  10. Jnostalgics said:

    Lol, Matrix = anomaly. Good analysis though. Agreed, there does seem to be a gaping hole in the sporty car area of their lineup. Arguably, the Scion tC can cover that, but we mourn the days when Toyota had a sporty Supra, Corolla, Celica, and MR2 all at once. Sigh…

  11. big d said:

    I really hope that toyota doesn’t drop the ball on this one. The market really needs an affordable, lightweight, rear wheel drive car that isn’t a damn roadster like the mx-5, s2000 or the solstice/sky. It wouldn’t be that difficult for them build it. Make it a coupe or a liftback. Most hatchbacks or 5 doors look ugly nowadays. I mean look at the new Impreza. Gross.

    It has to be a 2 door. Absolutely MUST be a 2 door. Toyota can’t make the same mistake Dodge did with it’s current Charger.

    Take the 2.4L from the Scion tC/xB. Adapt it for RWD. Leave it N/A (I’m thinkin’ ITB’s), or drop the compression and bolt a turbo on that sucker. I don’t want the boxer engine.

    Take the manual transmission from the Tacoma or develop a new 6 speed tranny.

    Take the rear axle from the Tacoma or develop a new IRS.

    Work out the rest of the kinks. They can do it. It’s Toyota. Problem solved.

    Offer a bare bones model for the purists/enthusiasts and a luxury model with power everything and leather for the average customers.

    Basically I just want a modern AE86 or A60 Celica. The parts are all there. The bean counters would be happy and the enthusiasts would be happy. It would draw more younger customers to Toyota and there could be plenty of TRD parts developed for the platform. All around happiness.

  12. Arthur Roberts said:

    Very intresting debate. I say we want EVO3 speed, Sounds like a Boxer, Looks like a AE86 or First Gen. Celica . Give us a pure tuners car 250-300 hp, Factory Coilovers that adjust, Recaro seats, 2 airbags,RWD, 0-60 in 14sec flat (from showroom) 2500 lbs MAX, and lots of after market parts, thats what kills me you can find every thing for a CEVIC or INTEGRA on the net and speeds shops they can start with the SCION TC drivetrain and take it from there. Lets hope they read our blogs mates.

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  14. Ross Farnham said:

    I don’t want the Subie engine is this car, poor fuel economy for one thing, hard to work on. Toyota needs a good high revving inline 4 or even the current 2.4 with a turbo with at least 250hp would be better. It can be a Celica or Corolla- I don’t care what they call it- I’ve owned, loved and raced many of both. Keep it light, good looking please!!!, 2 door, hatch with good suspension, std LSD and under $20K and Toyota will sell millions.

    I don’t get the Subie/ Toyota joint venture idea here, make it all Toyota.

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