ITHL: Toyota Celica - Inner Peace

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With the advent of new-age technology, we take for granted how easy everything is nowadays. Want a meal? Order it online. Want something? Order it online. Need a service? Again, order it online.

Modern cars are the same, with each new generation one-upping the last, cramming technology to the brim. You couldn't drive more than 10 metres without some bing or bong going out hysterically telling you to stop immediately.

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But, what if you didn't have all of these things? What if, you travelled back in time, to a period where cars felt raw, and had actual soul? 

Welcome then, to this beautiful piece of machinery - the Toyota Celica.

She's a timeless piece of art

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This Celica is actually a model year for the 2nd generation chassis (RA40). No surprises here that she is old. Very old. In fact, in 2022 this lovely lady is celebrating her 44th birthday.  That's older than some of you folks reading this article.

This particular unit is rare too on our shores, with the majority of classic Celicas here belonging to the 1st generation crop (TA22).

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I don't know about you, but I adore older cars. Back when designs were penned and not scanned, car bodies were much simpler with straight lines and flat panels, as opposed to today's crop of vehicles where every panel is essentially a 3D topography map.

Still, even without the curves and louvres of the younger generation, the Celica still looks absolutely gorgeous. It's like stepping into a time capsule back into the 70s.

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This fascination continues on the inside, where not a single digital screen is in sight. The owner did not retro-fit any new tech too, preserving the car's period-correct condition. The only update he made was to include a new modern stereo system, so he could listen to the radio without half of it being static jargon.

Everything else is where you expect it be, and everything works like a charm. Even the old-school warning bulbs illuminate should a fault occur, with the Celica telling you she needs some extra TLC.

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Pop open the hood, and a gleaming engine bay greets you. This car was restored by Star 9, and they did an incredible job revitalising the engine, making it look like it was fresh from the factory.

In a car like this, all you want to do is just get behind the wheel and drive.

Just as sprightful as she used to be

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Obviously, one cannot expect this thing to rocket off into the sunset at blistering speeds. With just 117bhp and about 152Nm of torque when it first rolled off the factory floor, some of those horses have escaped over the years.

But, when you drive the Celica, speed is irrelevant. I had a blast cruising at 40, and I granny shifted up through the gears. Despite her age, the Celica still delivered grunts of power in hearty doses.

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The Celica rocks when you take corners more enthusiastically, with its handling on the softer spectrum from the factory. Power steering is evidently absent when driving, but it wasn't a huge deal at all. In fact, it made the driving even more pleasant, and the car felt responsive to my inputs.

This car really puts into perspective how advanced Japanese engineering was back in the day, and the build quality holds up pretty well even today.

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During my time with it, I was very gentle as this is an old car after all. But, with 850 thousand km clocked on the odometer, the 5-speed gearbox and clutch are still butter smooth and the car just trundled along gently with no complaints.

I did not have a long enough drive to tell you about the fuel consumption. But, if you wanted to own one of these 70s-era cars today, would you really care that much about how much fuel it drinks? I rest my case.

Something most cars do not have

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Honestly, with its slow performance by today's standards and frugal creature comforts, why bother with such an old car? While I will agree that modern cars are definitely more efficient and fuss-free when you just want to get somewhere, nothing can beat the sensation of a classic treasure like the Celica.

It's like an old grandpa who happily shares about his adventures back when he was younger. Sitting in this car, you are enthralled by it and you warp back in time. Back to a time where everything was simpler, and more carefree.

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It doesn't need to go fast, nor does it have to prove anything. But, what it does, is give you an experience you will never forget. This car doesn't just get you there. It makes you enjoy it.

And that, is why this is Celica is an absolute beauty. 

Photo Credit: Sean Loo (@cookiesncremee)

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