Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota Celica GT Coupe

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
After producing rear-wheel-drive Celicas for 15 years, Toyota went to a front-wheel-drive Celica platform for the 1986 model year, while the rear-wheel-drive Supra got bigger, more powerful, and more Camaro-like. These Celicas were quick enough to be fun and made long commutes affordable, but they never attracted much of a devoted following. This means that when one wears out, chances are that it ends up getting scrapped.

Here’s a first-year fourth-generation Celica that I spotted in a Denver-area self-service yard last month.

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, speedometer - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
This Celica a very straight body and not much rust. The interior is faded and missing some parts, but looks to have been nice enough on the day it entered this junkyard. With only 110,939 miles on the clock, this car has fewer miles than a lot of the eight-year-old Kias around it in the IMPORTS section.

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, wheel - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
While I have photographed many earlier junkyard Celicas (including this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’81, and this ’83), today’s ’86 is the first front-wheel-drive Celica in the Junkyard Finds series.


For 1986, the Celica GT got the SOHC 2.0-liter 2S-E four-cylinder engine, rated at 97 horsepower. The GT-S version had a DOHC 3S engine making 135 horses.

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, HVAC controls - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
This one has air conditioning and a climate-control panel that’s more 1980s than A-Ha.

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, RH rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The liftback version was more popular than the coupe; the convertible was available starting in the 1987 model year, but not many were sold.

“At night, boy do I look good!”

The GT-Four version, which had all-wheel-drive and 190 horsepower, could be purchased only in Japan.

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, HVAC controls - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, decklid badge - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, paint stripe - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, speedometer - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, seat fabric - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, RH rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, wheel - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars