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BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/8/11 8:01 p.m.

'77 Celica Liftback in need of a little work.

The seller was nice enough to drop it off today, thus saving me the cost of renting a trailer. I somehow got the impression that he was happy to see it go to a good home. Anyway, here it is in its slightly tattered glory:

It's got a lot of surface rust in some places, but in general it looks to be fairly solid:

The PO got it without a carb and with some other bits in the engine missing (like the smog pump), but fitted a Weber and it's running. The Weber is s bit of a 'parts' carb though, the choke has gone AWOL and it's not really jetted right anyway (running so rich you can smell it). But at least it's running and the engine doesn't make any funny noises as far as I can tell over the din of the non-existing exhaust.

The interior hasn't fared that well, it's got a lot of sun damage (cracked dash, ripped door cards, ripped A-pillar covers), two driver's seats (that was a bit of a double take until I figured out why the lock for the seat belt was on the wrong side of the passenger seat) and it's been a long time since the headliner has had any fabric stuck to it. At least the base is there.

The current plan is:

  • Check over the body more carefully to see how much welding it needs. At the moment it looks like it needs a small patch on one of the rear wheelarches but I have to crawl underneath it properly.
  • Find out why it's dragging the rear bumper like it is - I hope it's a lowering job gone wrong as the front wheels are too wide so lowering the front is pretty much impossible. I hope it's not the shocks and springs saying hello through the rear wheel wells
  • Check why there is a distinct lack of coolant in the radiator and overflow tank. I am guessing it's got a leak somewhere but if it does, I haven't seen a trace of it yet.

Once I'm happy that it is solid or know that I need to buy a welder, the plan is to get it running properly and get an exhaust fabricated. After that

  • Go through the suspension and check what needs replacing. I'm pretty sure that the list will include most bushes, the shocks and the springs
  • Get the interior up to the stage where it's 'livable'. I've got a line on a set of 2nd gen MR2 seats that supposedly fit. And aren't brown
  • Get the exterior cosmetics addressed, probably (depending on how deep in the hole I am at that point) with a conversion to the smiley bumpers (actually more likely a fibreglass replica of them).
  • Stick some 15" wheels on that actually fit
  • Take it autocrossing
  • Get a roll bar fitted w/ harness bar
  • Take it HPDEing

And yes, that's what happens if I go shopping for a Miata...

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver Dork
1/8/11 8:08 p.m.

That looks pretty good for a 34 year old car. Keep us updated with your progress.

Fletch1
Fletch1 Reader
1/8/11 8:09 p.m.

Always like the looks of those. Good luck!

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
1/8/11 8:13 p.m.

Here in the land of ice and salt I will bet it has been 15 yrs since I have seen one of those still running the roads.
I love the retro, period correct, stripes.
And the rims, the rims too are perfect.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/8/11 8:23 p.m.

I think I might create build thread for it.

Unfortunately the wheels - while period correct - don't fit properly (the fronts stick out past the fenders, thus prevent any sort of lowering etc). Unless I can find a narrower set for the front, they'll have to go.

I'm still not too sure what to do about the stripes. They're in pretty bad shape and the car will have to be repainted, so chances are that they'll have to go, too. The good news is that these cars look really good in all white .

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 HalfDork
1/8/11 8:28 p.m.

That's awesome man. I love those.

For wheels, you should think about the 80s GTS/Supra 14x8s. I think they're some of the best looking wheels ever made, and they look just right on the earlier Celicas.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair SuperDork
1/8/11 8:28 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim:

Don't do anything to the body and paint until the chassis and powertrain are perfect, then rock it sleeper style for a while.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/8/11 8:29 p.m.

Very nice!

red5_02
red5_02 New Reader
1/8/11 8:29 p.m.

You know with all that wheel gap in the first picture and the car in such a snowy environment the first thing I thought was rallycross. You say the wheels are too wide as well? Time for box flares.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku Dork
1/8/11 8:47 p.m.

with detailed photos and measurements you could re-spray those stripes at re-paint time.

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 HalfDork
1/8/11 8:48 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: - Get the exterior cosmetics addressed, probably (depending on how deep in the hole I am at that point) with a conversion to the smiley bumpers (actually more likely a fibreglass replica of them).

Is there info on this somewhere? I like the early ones so much better, but always assumed it would be really hard to do the conversion.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim SuperDork
1/8/11 8:51 p.m.
fast_eddie_72 wrote: For wheels, you should think about the 80s GTS/Supra 14x8s. I think they're some of the best looking wheels ever made, and they look just right on the earlier Celicas.

And I don't like them .

My thoughts currently go along the lines of Rota RBs/Watanabes RS8s which do look good one Celicas of that vintage, or TE37Vs (well, again more likely the Rota 'tributes' to TE37Vs. One of the issues is that these seem to like 15x8s in the back but are limited to 15x7s in the front. And I'd like to see 15s on it for better choice of rubber.

AngryCorvair wrote: In reply to BoxheadTim: Don't do anything to the body and paint until the chassis and powertrain are perfect, then rock it sleeper style for a while.

That's kinda sorta the idea, but part of the issue is that it needs a new windshield (the one in the car has multiple cracks, including right in front of the driver) and I'm thinking to get the bodywork addressed while I've already got the windshield out. But that's up in the air atm.

fast_eddie_72 wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: - Get the exterior cosmetics addressed, probably (depending on how deep in the hole I am at that point) with a conversion to the smiley bumpers (actually more likely a fibreglass replica of them).

Is there info on this somewhere? I like the early ones so much better, but always assumed it would be really hard to do the conversion.

There is some info on 1stgencelica.com. Basically, in order to convert a Liftback you'd normally need the appropriate parts from a JDM or European model (RA28). That said, you can get fibreglass replicas of the bumpers on their own, you just need to figure out how to mount them and mount stuff like the turn signals.

According to the info I found, the earlier bumpers don't fit, though.

Gearheadotaku wrote: with detailed photos and measurements you could re-spray those stripes at re-paint time.

I'm not sure if I like them, though. My inspiration currently runs along the lines of this. But I guess I'll have plenty of time to get used to them.

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog Dork
1/8/11 9:21 p.m.

I'll pitch in money to get those stripes replicated when you paint it. Its too awesome not to.

pigeon
pigeon Dork
1/8/11 9:52 p.m.

Nice! A '79 notchback 5-speed was supposed to be my first car in '86 but mom, who was contributing some of the funds, didn't like it. Instead she insisted on her "trusted" local mechanic's POS that he was selling, a '79 Pontiac Sunfire 3-speed auto. It quickly turned into a 2-speed auto when 2nd gear left the building; a rod exited the block a few thousand miles later. I still have a soft spot for those Celicas, and wonder how my car life would have been different my first few years had I gotten my way...

Maroon92
Maroon92 SuperDork
1/8/11 9:56 p.m.

I love it.

Definitely go with the Watanabes.

some inspiration for you!

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/8/11 10:10 p.m.

It's just goofy looking with those wheels, sorry. I like Tim's better And you have to keep the stripes, although I agree on going to the happy bumper.

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 HalfDork
1/8/11 11:10 p.m.

Well, I think that car Maroon92 posted (which is the same one Tim linked as his inspiration) looks great. Yeah, bad things happened to bumpers in the 70s. The last year the MkI Capris were imported to the U.S. they had those 5 mph bumpers on them. They were hideous. Ruined the car.

Well, good luck with it however you chose to go. It's your dream, make it what you want!

I'll just add a couple of hotlinks for good measure!

Flares for extra goodness!

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 HalfDork
1/8/11 11:17 p.m.

Oh, oh, on more.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg SuperDork
1/8/11 11:49 p.m.

Photobucket

you mean these abominations

When I was 18 I had an LC GTR Torana (look it up) my bud had a red 75 Celica just like this, it holds great memories for me, we did a lot of miles in those old girls.

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 HalfDork
1/8/11 11:59 p.m.

That's a '73- those are works of art compared to the '74.

Oh, and I did google the Holden. Very cool.

Those Celica bumpers are starting to look just fine as they are!

[/threadjack]

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/9/11 12:04 a.m.
fast_eddie_72 wrote:

There's the wheel issue easily solved. Those Supra wheels look awesome. And they'll be a lot cheaper than some uber-rare JDM bits.

I think what bugs me about the other car is the wheels somehow really emphasize the small tire diameter. Looks like it's just part of the charm of these cars, those rear wheels just need to be taller...

neon4891
neon4891 SuperDork
1/9/11 12:09 a.m.

Oooooooooooooo, 3/4 scale Mustang.

WANT...

corytate
corytate New Reader
1/9/11 12:38 a.m.

love the first couple generations of celicas
it's strange to see that much empty space in an engine bay lol

ArthurDent
ArthurDent Reader
1/9/11 1:07 a.m.

Cool car/ Shame the rims have the wrong offset - slot mags on 70s cars are hot.

qdseeker
qdseeker New Reader
1/9/11 1:07 a.m.

Beautiful car.

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