Toyota Celica GT Steals the Show At Carlisle Imports 2013

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This year the Carlisle Import Nationals had an above-average turnout of Japanese machinery with upwards of a hundred cars present from multiple marques, but it all upstaged by a car that was in the car corral, the Toyota Celica GT above. Crowds kept circling this car, pretty much ignoring almost everything else that was on offer in the car corral. And no wonder, this 70K mile Celica was almost in time warp condition.

The east coast is not exactly a hot spot for classic Japanese cars, and that was certainly reflected on the field. Talking to some Japanese car owners and asking them where their car originally came from I kept hearing the same story: a California car that was bought by the owner just years ago, either through friends or on Craigslist. In other words, a lot of the classic Japanese cars that gathered at Carlisle migrated over from the west coast at some point in their lives. Let’s see what other Japanese cars turned up this year at Carlisle, starting with the Celica GT from the photo above.

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This superb-looking Celica GT example sported original paint which somehow managed not to fade a single shade, and an amazingly rust-free body. I checked some of the usual places where these cars tend to develop rust, and amazingly enough there was on rust to be found.  This Celica was like one of those urban legends, where an automaker just for fun decides to stamp one single car out of titanium or galvanizes every single body panel, and then just sells it at a dealership to an unsuspecting buyer. And the car never rusts and nothing on it ever breaks. Over the years I had seen cars that came pretty close to that myth, and this year that was one of those cars. 70K miles, and it looks like this? Truth be told, there were some small issues with carpet fit in the trunk and some small cosmetic issues on the interior, but nothing that would shift this car out of time-warp category. 

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This was one of number of Datsuns at Carlisle this year, and this was probably my favorite color out of all of them. I wouldn’t mind finding a 1:18 scale model of this car.

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This Datsun came all the way from Manitoba, which incidentally was the furthest Canadian provincial plate that I spotted this year at Carlisle. There were dozens of cars from Ontario and Quebec, a couple from the Maritime provinces, one from Alberta. So the owner clearly loves driving this car over long distances. Every year a couple cars from British Columbia typically show up, but none were to be seen this time around.

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This sharp Toyota Supra turned quite a few heads at the show this year, with its perfect paint and nicely preserved details. It’s a rare car to see in this condition on the east coast, and this wasn’t lost on many of the showgoers. When was the last time you’ve seen a Supra of this generation in this condition?

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Another Celica, this time the third-generation model. That’s right, we’ve had almost the entire anthology of the Toyota Celica at Carlisle this year, and every example was in ridiculously awesome condition. Every time I see one of these (which is about once a year) I am reminded of the Group B racer campaigned by Toyota in Europe in the early 1980s.


This was a sharp SVX, a car that we don’t see often enough on the east coast. I am assuming, perhaps naively, that there is a hot spot of SVXs somewhere in the US. Southern California perhaps? This Giugiaro-styled Alcyone looks fantastic even today, and was a serious stylistic departure for Subaru of this era. Remember what most Subarus of this era looked like?

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Here’s a nice CVCC from the sevent… oh my god look at the size of those DOT turn indicators! Those must have altered the front/rear balance of the car by a few percent at least! Seriously though, this was a sweet example of a Civic, and these are bringing bigger and bigger money at auctions as the kids of the 70s and 80s are splurging on their childhood cars.


This was a sharp Nissan 300ZX, and I believe the sole representative of this model this year at Carlisle. Not a single stone chip or dead bug on the front bumper of this example, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this example has very minimal mileage.


This was a nice little Subie that you just don’t see anymore. Perhaps there are more of these out on the left coast than here, but I have to admit it has been years since I’ve seen a GL coupe. From this angle it doesn’t look too dissimilar from a Renault Alliance, does it?

That’s it for Japanese cars, gents. Next time we’ll be taking a look at the British cars that turned out for Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals this year.

Browse the full gallery below:

[Images: Copyright 2013 Redusernab/Jay Ramey]

By |2013-06-05T14:00:35+00:00June 5th, 2013|Car Shows, Cars You Should Know|8 Comments

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