Home » There Must Have Been A Sale On Flat-Black Paint: 1979 Toyota Celica vs 1983 Toyota Supra

There Must Have Been A Sale On Flat-Black Paint: 1979 Toyota Celica vs 1983 Toyota Supra

Sbsd 8 31 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Welcome to another edition of Shitbox Showdown! Today we’re looking at a pair of rear-wheel-drive Toyotas finished in the same, um, esthetic. But first, let’s check the results from yesterday’s Pontiacs:

Screen Shot 2023 08 30 At 5.53.42 Pm

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Bird is the word, today anyway. Six-cylinder or not, that Firebird does look like a better starting point, even with the nasty top. But if it were me, those aftermarket wheels would have to go. Someone will want them; you could probably sell them for half the price of the car, and buy some stock wheels and replace the top with the proceeds.

Now then: You don’t see too many all-primer cars anymore. It used to be common; I think a third of the cars in my high school parking lot, including mine, were finished in matte gray or black. Yeah, you told people you were “saving up for a paint job,” but you knew it was never going to happen. A trip to Maaco might as well have been a trip to the moon. Even Earl Scheib was too rich for our blood. But we made the best of it – I remember letting my artist friends draw all over the primer-gray hood of my old Scirocco. I can’t imagine what the guys at the junkyard thought of it, when its time finally came.

These two old Toyotas are a throwback in more ways than one, then. Both are nearly-extinct breeds, and both would have looked right at home in that parking lot in suburban Chicago all those years ago. Let’s check them out.

ADVERTISEMENT

1979 Toyota Celica GT Liftback – $2,000

00202 22bgtpyui8o 0cz0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 2.2 liter overhead cam inline 4, five-speed manual, RWD

Location: Marysville, WA

Odometer reading: unknown

Runs/drives? Great, according to the seller

ADVERTISEMENT

For all I know, this exact car could have been in my high school parking lot, actually. Celicas of this age were all over the place in the late ’80s, before they all rusted away or got thrashed to death. Here on the west coast, rust wasn’t a threat, and if any car is going to survive a good thrashing, it’s one of these. Still, they’re pretty rare these days, even out here.

00g0g Hsoa72vsyco 0cz0t2 1200x900

It must be said, however, that what we have here is most of a Celica. The interior is gutted, sporting a pair of Honda Prelude bucket seats and nothing else. Twenty years ago, you could have found interior parts for this car in any junkyard; nowadays I’m not so sure. But a remnant of industrial carpet is cheap, you can make door panels out of just about anything, and the Prelude seats don’t look too bad in there.

00w0w Gu2pbbh1841 0cz0t2 1200x900

It’s also missing the rear bumper, but it’s a big hideous slab of black rubber anyway, so no great loss. And of course, there is the aforementioned black primer finish, over what appears to have originally been brown. I think I would have preferred the brown, myself. Its original wheels are also gone, and it wears what look to be Nissan wheels, if I’m not mistaken. That fart-can muffler sticking out from under the rear is offensive in more ways than one, but that’s easy enough to remedy.

ADVERTISEMENT

00w0w Irpme7vyjzk 0cz0t2 1200x900

Mechanically, it’s tip-top, or so says the seller. Toyota R series engines are known for durability and reliability, and this one is old enough to have the good double-row timing chain. Its original carb has been replaced with what I’m pretty sure is a Weber downdraft, a very common modification for these engines. The only mechanical shortcoming is worn-out shocks, and that’s easy to fix as well.

1983 Toyota Supra – $3,000

00s0s B9wbizhkyye 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 2.8 liter dual overhead cam inline 6, five-speed manual, RWD

Location: Auburn, WA

ADVERTISEMENT

Odometer reading: 200,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yes, but brakes need work

The Toyota Supra started out as the Celica’s big brother, and the early ones were actually badged as “Celica Supra.” This second generation distanced itself from the Celica, but retained some familial resemblance. From the rear especially, it’s hard to tell Celicas and Supras of this age apart. Open the hood, or step on the gas, and the difference becomes clear: the Supra has that wonderful fuel-injected twin-cam inline six.

00i0i Ajjm6f4lrrz 0t20ci 1200x900

The seller says this car’s engine runs great, and “most stuff works.” I guess on a forty-year-old car, that’s about the best you can ask for. They do say the brakes need to be bled, but brakes don’t just develop a need for bleeding; if the pedal is soft, that’s a sign that more work is needed. But brakes aren’t the end of the world – unless they fail right when you need them most, I suppose.

ADVERTISEMENT

00y0y Fxrvfd4dthw 0ci0t2 1200x900

Inside, it’s more intact than the Celica, but it’s badly faded. I think it used to be maroon inside, but the seats are sort of lavender and pink, and I don’t know what the hell is going on with the carpet. And what happened to the shift knob? That’s a five-dollar part in any junkyard, or twenty bucks for a generic one from Autozone. Nobody wants to drive a stick with no knob on the shifter. If you lost or ruined the original, put something on there.

00505 38xfb1kdhn9 0ci0t2 1200x900

Supras of this generation so often have louvers on the rear window that it looks somehow wrong without them. The cool “SUPRA” lettering above the taillights is conspicuous in its absence as well, collateral damage from the flat-blackening. At least those fantastic wheels are still intact.

[Editor’s Note: Hold up. Can we talk about this guy for a minute here?

ADVERTISEMENT

Ss Guyinbg

What’s going on here? Where’s he going with that…what is that, exactly? It doesn’t seem like a car part – the end seems more purple than you’d expect and I think that’s some kind of foam padding/grip material in the middle? It also kinda looks like part of a Dyson vacuum, mostly because of that color. But that end also looks like it could bolt onto something? Oh wait– it’s a floor jack! 

Duh, of course it’s a floor jack. It continues off the photo! I have one like six feet away from me! The handle even has the padding in the same place, and mine is metallic blue, not that far off from that purple. Jeez, Jayjay, wake up. He’s just a dude at a junkyard, getting parts! Leave him alone!

He looks like he may be up to some kind of mischief, too. Is this moments before he swings around like a second hand and flings that jack off into the air? I can’t believe I didn’t see that as a jack at first. I’m gonna leave all this in, as a lesson to myself. – JT]

So there you have them: Two rear-wheel-drive Toyota sports cars from the days when New Wave was really new. Neither one is shiny, but are stickshifts, and both can be driven home. So just pick your flavor – you can have a cheap but hollowed-out Celica, or tackle a brake job on a Supra.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
53 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

Voted for the ‘83 even though it is a bit Supra-annuated.

Citrus
Citrus
10 months ago

While the second-gen Celica is undoubtedly the finest car designed by a 1950s child star, there is only one answer here and that answer is “Supra.”

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
10 months ago

As a kid, one of my friend’s dad had a first gen Celica Supra that I thought was pretty cool, so nostalgia alone pulled me to the Supra…naa it was totally the pop up headlights.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
10 months ago

Definitely the Supra. 6 cylinders, some aftermarket stuff, and with a little work, it’ll look like a flat black pile o’ shit.

Oh, wait….

S13 Sedan
S13 Sedan
10 months ago

Supra for sure. The Celica is neat but the A60 Supra is a much better looking car and it even has carpet. Plus you might get to hang out with the happy shirtless man for a bit when you go to pick it up.

Millermatic
Millermatic
10 months ago

It will be interesting to see the final vote. At this point, it’s 95% to 5% in favor of the Supra. Which seems off by about 5%.

What’s the most lopsided SBS matchup to date?

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
10 months ago

I suppose the Supra’s carpet could have been black and then mellowed to a fine ochre … but that doesn’t seem fatal. Brakes, dash pad, re-dye the seats, Maaco paint and you’re all good. We’ll take it!

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
10 months ago

Supra. More complete, more fun.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago

*ahem*

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen, having previously owned a 1982 Celica Supra, I can tell you it is an excellent value and a great…GREAT grand tourer. The 5M-GE is smooth, if a little light on power, the suspension balances comfort and sporting pretensions, and it’s honestly very comfortable to drive. In fact, it handles itself very well in the winter, making excellent snonuts. MPG clocks in at the low to mid 20s, which is good for a vehicle of this vintage and power.

And, as others have said, pop-up headlights. That is all.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
10 months ago

I have fine memories of riding shotgun in that vintage of Supra as my friend impersonated Bullitt around San Francisco.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
10 months ago

The Supra here. Less work and nota blue tarp Interior. You can keep the half naked guy.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
10 months ago

Shirtless guy is in the traditional Sasquatch pose. Is it possible that Bigfoot has been dragging a floor jack around the forest all this time?

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

SWG, is that you?

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
10 months ago

The tattoos don’t check out. But he’s giving Stevie G energy for sure. That’s a compliment.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
10 months ago

I want the Celica but the Supra looks to be the safer bet.

Shirtless dude is concerning. Were they filming a reboot to Jackass in that scrapyard?

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
10 months ago

Pop.

Up.

Headlights.

Need I say more?

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago

I voted for the 79

The first two generations of the Celica are fucking awesome, and IMO the 80s Celicas/Supras are kind of ugly.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

I had to upvote your comment for saying the first two gens of Celica are awesome. They are. A friend in high school who was also my first roommate in college had a first gen Celi. Ran great except for the radio. For all their automotive excellence, Toyota had the worst fucking radios in the 70s-80s.

Then may last roommate in college had a second gen Celi that we drove down to Mexico several times for cheap Cuervo. Never stranded us.

But then I had to downvote you for saying the 80s Celicas/Supras sucked. I love these early eighties versions! This Supra needs the single louvre/top-of-hatch wing, but other than that, it’s a RWD straight-6 with a 5-speed! Add in glorious 80s rectilinear styling!!!

Bomber
Bomber
10 months ago

I voted Supra but that Celica has fond memories for me. My older brother taught me how to drive manual in his of that gen. Such a fun car…

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
10 months ago

Supra was my pick even b4 the good looking shirtless dude lol

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
10 months ago
Reply to  Nycbjr

Rumor has it that he is SWG’s cousin! ヽ(͡◕ ͜ʖ ͡◕)ノ

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
10 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

don’t doubt that! lol

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
10 months ago

I’ll take the Supra and the El Camino before they rot away. I always loved that generation of the Supra

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago

I said a ten second car, not a ten minute car!

My wife is pleased that Supra is about 3000 miles away from me. Even if it’s not that Supra. And the 5M is a Burger King double cheeseburger to the Jay-Z’s Five Guys. The A60 is still hella dope. This is a P-spec kit and some paint away from being Radwood glory. Just imagine the steeze at your next family gathering when you’re like “Yeah, I took the Supra”. And, I’m a Nissan guy so I’m not totally sure, but 3k for a running and driving vehicle that says Supra on the back seems wildly cheap. Looking locally I can get an A70 roller with a poorly swapped 1j-ge for 4k, but everything else is over 8k. The only A60 is 12k, pretty clean though.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

Some of you may be drawn to shirtless guy, but I’ve only got eyes for the green MR2 on the other side of the picture.

Give me that even if its double the price of these two sad sacks put together.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

This guys collection has a whole is pretty rad. GX, LS400, A60, MR2, it’s like Toyota’s greatest hits. Plus an El Camino, F150, e90 either 330/335 and that w204 might be a c32. I tried to enhance, but the Goth Girl isn’t at work here at NCIS. He’s probably not wearing a shirt to distract you from that gold mine of cool!

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

In the first picture with the fruit truck, he’s got what appears to be a two-tone 67-72 C10 as well. Interesting assortment for sure.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

This is the correct answer. Love that green!

Bearddevil
Bearddevil
10 months ago

I like the simplicity of the ’79. I think it works better as a blank canvas for whatever direction the buyer wants to go in. The ’83, while more complete, has a lot of plastic to break, and more electrical complexities to deal with.

JumboG
JumboG
10 months ago
Reply to  Bearddevil

I owned a 81 and 85 Celica. The 85 was by far more reliable and had fewer things break. Things like door hinges and seat backs broke on the 81 – and it had electrical problems. THe 85 didn’t (and it had 250k miles on it when I sold it, and the buyer immediately drove it from NC to CA.)

Last edited 10 months ago by JumboG
Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
10 months ago

Supra Dupra

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
10 months ago

Something about the ’79 Celica that is making me drool. I love the Supra, but the Celica would look great in candy apple red, Work wheels, a modified 2JZ or 1JZ. Bride racing seats. A 14 speaker Dynaudio system. I can dream…

NewBalanceExtraWide
NewBalanceExtraWide
10 months ago

I grew up in Western Washington, up in the mountains. Shirtless dudes dismantling cars were a-plenty, as were primered cars in every parking lot. I can smell a big-gulp cup full of chewing tobacco spit just looking at these scenes.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
10 months ago

“I can smell a big-gulp cup full of chewing tobacco spit just looking at these scenes.”

_:(´ཀ`」∠):_

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
10 months ago

I had an ’82 Supra. One of the first in my market. It was awesome. Sad to see them now in tweaker form.

53
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x