After a decade of attending Toyotafests, the thing we look forward to most are the surprise builds that come out of nowhere. This year, one of the cars that really caught our eyes was Richard Pope’s 1977 Celica Liftback.
Richard purchased his 128 Silver Metallic beauty new. After enjoying it for nearly 40 years and many stages of life, he decided to take it down to a nut-and-bolt restoration the way one would with a million-dollar garage queen. Aside from the air cleaner and a hotter carb, the engine bay is a treasure trove of OEM parts. Behold the cadmium plating, the unyellowed plastics, the suppleness of the rubber.
When Richard bought the car, it had dealer-installed blue pinstripes. Obviously after taking the body down to bare metal, those were long gone. So during the restoration, Richard had his painter recreate the stripes under the clearcoat. He also deleted the original beauty rings from steelies matched to factory gray, giving the car subtly sinister look.
Despite being hidden from view, Richard spared no expense on the underside of his Celica. Every suspension component, bushing, and and piece of sheetmetal was immaculate.
We also appreciate the fact that Richard kept the USDM safety bumpers for that extra bit of concours-level originality. While there are many jaw-dropping resto-modded Celicas in the US, few have seen a restoration of this caliber. The fact that it’s a one-owner car on top of it all just goes to show how devoted Toyota owners can be.
Our Toyotafest 2017 coverage continues, but in the meantime check out Part 01 and Part 02 of our 2017 Toyotafest coverage, as well as that of Toyotafest 2016 (Part 01, 02, 03, and 04), Toyotafest 2015 (Part 01, 02, and 03), Toyotafest 2014 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04), Toyotafest 2013 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04), Toyotafest 2012 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04), Toyotafest 2011 (Part 01, 02, 03, 04, 05), and Toyotafest 2010 (Part 01, 02, 03).