Friday, October 31, 2014


Finally, we have finished the feature on this raw 1972 Toyota Celica GT, five months after we actually had a date with it. Jump on over to the full article.

On our recent trip to the Golden State, we couldn't help but be excited with the whole idea of California. This trip would be our very first time to set foot on the state, despite having had numerous stops on connecting flights to and from Asia. The thought of having the Pacific Ocean on one side and mountains on the other is just too good. Plus, you factor in the fact that California has the best automotive scene in the country (Japanese car scene is just ridiculous), and the excitement level just skyrockets.


The first stop on our trip was Los Angeles. Thankfully, we have a couple of friends there, and one of them just happens to have a very strong addiction to cars - pretty much like how a toddler would be overly possessive and attached to his toys. Well, this certain friend definitely retained most of a little boy's attitude towards toys, only that his toys are now bigger and more expensive.


Meet JM. He and I have known each other for around 14 years now, since high school. We shared the same interest in music, which pretty much helped us get acquainted with each other. Little did I know, this guy also had the same interests in cars as I have, and only knew about it 6 years later when he moved to LA. This guy had an Infiniti G37 that he modified, and it looked bad-ass. Fast track a few years later, and he got his hands on a CZ4A (Evo X), went crazy on it, and got featured on Import Tuner. He got a few other cars after his departure from that four-wheel monster of a car, and one of the most noteworthy of these was his 1972 Toyota Celica GT.



It sure is amazing how most of the car guys start with a craving for the modern cars with the latest trends in design and technology, only to later fall into the deep pit of classic car addiction. Yes, it is a pit and one in which you can never dig yourself out of. JM has surely started his own journey into the abyss, and fortunately, he has started off on the right path.


The platform with which JM decided to begin his classic car addiction is perfect. This 1972 Celica GT is just too brute, too raw. It borrows some design cues from the American muscle cars, but also retains some of its Japanese character. The car originally came with blue paint from the factory. The previous owner, however, decided to respray it yellow. The way JM decided to work around the yellow color on this mod definitely makes the color appropriate for the build.



Starting from the exterior, the car received some body enhancements. JM replaced the OEM bumpers with the JDM chrome smiley bumpers, slapped on replica TRD fender flares and TRD bucktooth spoiler, swapped out the rear lights with the JDM banana tail lights, upgraded the headlights to Hellas, and mounted OEM fender mirrors.







To match the wider body profile caused by the fender flares, JM complemented the look with a set of Volk TE37Vs wrapped with Toyo R888 tires. For good measure, he went with 14x9 -15 up front and 14x10 -25 in the rear. The car's stance is further enhanced by a set of Tokico shocks and springs.



The powerhouse on this Celica isn't a slouch either, although JM sure had greater plans for this area. The car is powered by a 2.2 L 18 RG stroker engine with HKS cams, dual Mikuni 44mm carburetors, TRD headers, and a full custom exhaust. All the power, although not much, is translated to the wheels via a W58 transmission with stage 3 race clutch and lightweight flywheel. Another addition to the engine bay is a Koyorad radiator to keep the engine happy and cool. The engine is fed by an ATL SP112 fuel cell that is cleanly tucked in the trunk.




JM drives this Celica frequently and doesn't show mercy when doing so. This car was definitely not intended for the show floor, nor the garage. And because JM spends a lot of time in the cockpit, he has improved some parts of the interior. He dropped in Kameari GT seats, slapped on some Autometer gauges, added in an Auto Power roll cage, strapped in a Sabelt 4 point harness, and swapped out the stock steering wheel for a Nardi Classic steering wheel attached to a Work Bell hub.






With all the mods working harmoniously, the car drove really well. It sounded mean, had ample power, and handled impressively for a 42 year old car (apart from the fact that it was due for a wheel alignment). The car sure isn't the most powerful, nor is it the fastest. It has numerous cosmetic blemishes and some crooked body parts, but this Celica has a lot of character.



We are not sure whether this story has a happy ending, or not. A few months after this photoshoot, JM sold his Celica for a German legend, the last of the air-cooled breed. He acquired a Porsche 993 and is in the process for an RWB build. We hope to be present to document the whole build progress. Also, I'm pretty sure that JM will pick up another JDM classic in the near future. For now, we leave you with the rear-end of this yellow machine.


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