The Toyota Automobile Museum in Japan has a new acquisition, a 1983 Celica XX. We know it stateside as the second-generation Celica Supra but technically speaking this is a GA61, which is considerably different than the MA61 we got in the US. It’s a bit surprising that the museum only recently added one to their collection and the specific trim level is a bit odd. Perhaps, though, it’s a roundabout way of avoiding an overt quarrel with Nissan.
The Celica XX was a fairly significant car for Toyota when it debuted in July 1981. Consider the chrome-bumpered sedans that were coming out of Detroit at the time and this thing looked like a spaceship in comparison. Not only that, but compared to the luxury touring car that was its A40 predecessor was trying to be, the independent-rear A60 was actually sporty.
While US and some Japanese A60s came with the 2.8-liter 5M-GEU inline-6, the museum car has instead a high-revving 24-valve 1G-GEU making 160 PS and 134 lb-ft of torque. None of the Japanese versions came with the fiberglass flares that American-spec P-type (for Performance) Supras wore. Instead, they had the L-type’s (for Luxury) thinner sheetmetal-only bodies to conform to Japanese road tax dimensions.
The sporty nature of the Celica XX continued into the cabin, where a two-spoke steering wheel was designed to provide maximum visibility to the instruments. Well-bolstered 8-way adjustable seats
A single-cam 1G-EU making 125 PS was available as a base model, and a variant with a turbocharged M engine making 145 PS and 156 lb-ft of torque filled the luxury segment, available with only an automatic transmission.
However, the top-spec model, the Celica XX 2800GT, came with a 5M-GEU making 170 PS and 174 lb-ft of torque. Notably, it was the first Japanese car to be clocked at a speed of 200 kph, ultimately reaching a top speed of 208.09 kph (129.3 mph).
The record has been debated, as the Nissan Fairlady SR311 claimed to have a top speed of 200 kph in its brochure. However, there’s no known verification of that speed, whereas the Celica XX was recorded and documented. Of course, Toyota and most Japanese outlets are too polite to dispute Nissan publicly, so often you’ll see the Celica XX described as “the first Japanese car to reach 200 kph in decades” or something to that effect.
After the 1983 facelift, output on the 5M engine was bumped to 175 PS and 177 lb-ft. However, if Toyota made another attempt at a speed run that result has been lost to history. Given that significant milestone, if we were running the museum we’d also acquire a pre-facelift 1981 Celica XX 2800GT. And declare its 200 kph record front and center on the placard.
I owned an 82 L-Type and an 85 P-Type, both manuals. Fantastic highway cruisers. Too nose heavy for a true sports car but they epitomized the GT style of driving dynamics in the 80s.
I was just at 2 Toyota museums, the Toyota Commemorative and Kaikan (Car Factory) museums. The Commemorative one was pretty neat if you’re into the background of Toyota, specifically Toyoda and the garment making business. But both pale in comparison to the Automobile museum. I went in 2014 and it was fascinating to see all the cars. If you have the chance definitely go there and skip the other two.
Oops sorry Speedie, that was not meant to be a reply to your comment.
This is the car my dad told me he had “reserved” for me, lol. He maintained this for a good few years from when I was 5 to about 8 or 9. Then, I realized it was never happening, hahaha. I always knew it as the Supra.
In the 80’s, we sold this car in Florida as Imported by Southeast Toyota (the distributor for the South in those days) as a Supra L, our name for it as the luxury model, It had different wheels than this example, but no flares and no wing. Less Boy Racer.