Toyota continues teasing Celica revival from official channels

Toyota just can’t help itself from dropping not-so-subtle Celica hints all over the place. Last week it once again teased a revival of its beloved sports coupe from one of its official channels. When was the last time a car company talked this much about a car it had no intention of releasing?

The article comes from Toyota Times, the company’s official “news” page that is in reality, like any public-facing site, more of a PR outlet. The article doesn’t offer any new information, but its existence is itself the sign. Every other company tries to downplay or avoid mention of models that enthusiasts continuously badger them about, usually with canned statements like, “We don’t comment on future product.” Then there’s Toyota, blabbing nonstop about a car that has support from the highest levels of the company.

The article gives a brief history of the Celica, but starts with a recap of all the statements from Akio Toyoda. First, there was the statement he made from the Shinshiro Rally in March, before he stepped down from his role as president:

The Celica is a car that I would like to have again. Given its success in the WRC (FIA World Rally Championship), I think the Celica name has a special place in the hearts of rally fans, alongside the Corolla and Yaris. There was a period when Toyota dropped various cars, but we have since seen long-selling models make a comeback. I have a faint hope that President Koji Sato will carry on this trend for us.

In fact Sato, just before assuming the president position, said that it was his “life’s dream” to revive the Celica. When the Toyota Times interviewed Toyoda-san again at Rally Hokkaido and asked about the chances of a Celica comeback in September, he dropped some more hints (emphasis added):

“You’ll have to ask Toyota Motor about that,” replied Akio. “I’m not on the executive side.”

When the questioner doubled down—“You could put in a request, right?”—Akio countered, “Well, I have, but I don’t know how it will turn out.”

He went on, “I’m not just saying this because we’re at a rally event, but Juha Kankkunen is Mr. Celica. He was champion four times in the Celica. Now you can all have a think about why I’m asking Kankkunen to be so involved.

Juha Kankkunen was the driver who helped bring home Toyota’s 1994 WRC trophy behind the wheel of a ST185 Celica GT-Four, and he’s been seen palling around with Toyoda-san all over the place, including from the inside of a Honda.

There’s one other point of interest in the article. At the end of the brief history of the Celica’s rally conquests, there’s a brief acknowledgement of the epic cheating scandal that got the ST205 Celica GT-Four booted from WRC and all its points stripped. It doesn’t outright admit to cheating, but it’s extremely rare for Toyota to even mention the incident:

…the ST205 proved difficult to set up. In their haste to overcome the problem, the team improperly modified the restrictor that limits airflow into the car’s turbocharger. When this breach was discovered, Toyota was stripped of all points for the 1995 season and suspended from the WRC for one year.

Toyota was once the most buttoned up of all the automakers. Now it seems to be leading us on like a drunk bridesmaid at a bachelorette party. We’re pretty sure there’s something in the works, even if it ends up being an electric coupe like the new Honda Prelude.

If the Celica does happen, it’ll arrive at an amazing era of Toyota history. Alongside the 86, Supra, and possible MR2, essentially every famed sports car nameplate will have been revived.

Thanks to Bryan Kitsune for the tip!

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1 Response to Toyota continues teasing Celica revival from official channels

  1. Bryan Kitsune says:

    Thanks for the shoutout! 🙂

    I hope IF it actually happens that they manage to find a way to stay true to the heritage of the Celica. Even if it is a hybrid or EV. I don’t know how, but…hopefully. The fact that Sato & Toyoda seem genuinely passionate about the Celica gives at least a little cause for hope.

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