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Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 buying guide (1994-1999)

Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 buying guide (1994-1999) Classic and Performance Car
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
In the land of the Japanese performance car, it can be difficult to stand out, but the Toyota Celica GT-Four of 1994 certainly managed it. As the third and final incarnation of the World Rally Championship competing all-wheel drive Celica, the ST205-generation car is by far the best-developed and most impressive road-going Celica of all time. 
 
Honed in the wind tunnel, the GT-Four is surprisingly aerodynamic, but perhaps the impressive fact is the functionality of the (optional) huge rear wing. Toyota claimed that this appendage created a whopping 50kg of downforce at 60mph.
 
A four-wheel drive system with neutral 50/50 torque split, potent 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and coupe styling combine to produce an enticing package. The ST205 was engineered to win rallies, making it an extremely effective road car. It was expensive in the UK, which limited sales, while tough competition from the Ford Escort RS Cosworth and the much more practical Subaru Impreza means that the vast majority of cars were sold in Japan.
 
In the early days the car was a huge success on the rally circuit. Despite being penalized for cheating in the WRC (a clever device was fitted to allow more air into the engine than the permitted restrictor would allow) the car went on to be a moderate success in the hands of privateers too. Despite this, values of the ST205 remain affordable. 
 
On the road today the Celica still impresses with some serious cross-country performance. Firm suspension, precise steering and strong brakes all work well, while the boosty power is exhilarating – even if the soundtrack isn’t particularly great. The five-speed ‘box offers well-spaced gearing for devastating acceleration and surprisingly good motorway cruising, while the four-wheel drive system means traction and grip are never an issue. 
 

Which Celica to buy?

 
The big dilemma will be whether to go for original UK car or Japanese import. If you’re looking for an extremely original example, then seeking out a well cared for UK car might be easiest, although choosing an import opens up many more possibilities, including later models. 
 
There are various spec differences between UK and JDM-spec Celicas, so it’s worth understanding these before making a purchase. Japanese cars produce a slightly more potent 255bhp (due to being set up to run on higher-octane fuel) compared to the 239bhp of the UK cars.
 
If you really like the idea of owning a Group A homologation special, then it’s worth seeking out one of the 2500 WRC edition cars. While the spec only varies slightly, the kudos of explaining the fact your car has a de-activated anti-lag and water injection system installed is priceless. Power output is officially the same, although some reckon that the WRC cars were slightly ‘healthier’ from the factory.
 

Performance and specs

 
Toyota Celica GT-Four (ST205 UK spec)
Engine 1998cc, four-cylinder turbo
Power 239bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 223lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed 152mph
0-60mph 6.3sec
Fuel consumption 28.8mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 

Common problems

 
• Perhaps the most common concern with the ST205 Celica is the car’s complex multi-link front suspension. This provides fantastic handling characteristics when in good shape, but if worn out expect a wayward front end. 
 
• Unless there is proof that the ‘Fig-8’ links have been replaced, they will likely need to be. Genuine Toyota parts are the only option, and with the lower arms that will probably need to be changed as well, it’s almost £600 in parts alone, so can significantly dent a modest budget.
 
• If you hear a loud clonking on full lock or over bumps, don’t panic straight away though. This could also be the crush tubes that often deform if you hit a nasty pothole in the road. It’s a relatively cheap and easy fix. 
 
• On the test drive, you should also listen for any knocking of clonking from the rear of the car. If you do hear this, it is almost certainly the rubber rear diff mount. It’s not a huge job for any garage to undertake. 
 
• The 3S-GTE engine is an extremely strong and long-lasting engine in standard form, but regular oil changes are a must. Listen for any knocking signifying worn bottom end bearings
 
• Turbos can fail, and are more likely to if the car has been driven hard and not given time to cool down properly. Check for the usual signs of blue exhaust smoke, indicating worn seals.
 
• Check that proper bright red Toyota anti-freeze is at the correct level in the top-mounted intercooler. 
 
• Tuned engines are common, as more than 300bhp is possible on standard engine internals. It’s not as straightforward as some other Japanese cars, and poorly tuned examples might not last too long. 
 
• Gearboxes are strong, but the syncros can wear out, so check for crunching going up and down through the gears. Clutches can wear if abused off the line, so check for any signs of slipping.
 
• Rust is sadly not uncommon, so check all the usual places like sills, jacking points, door bottoms and rear wheel arches, as these are often first to go. 
 

Model history

 
1994: ST205 Celica GT-Four goes on sale.
Early 1996: A minor refresh sees a few changes, such as twin front airbags, side skirts, different alloy wheel design and revised rear spoiler brought in.
October 1996: Sales of the GT-Four stop in Europe.
Late 1997: The ST205 once again undergoes a facelift, freshening up the model for the Japanese market. This includes new front projector headlights, clear rear lights and different trim for the interior. 
August 1999: The last Celica ST205 rolls off the production line, as the factory prepares for the next-generation Celica
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
- www.gt4oc.net
- www.gtfours.co.uk
 

Summary and prices

 
Despite a few specialist aspects, the GT-Four is still a Toyota, which means that you can rely on the absolutely fantastic build quality. Prices in the UK do vary quite a bit, but it would be advisable to stay away from anything priced lower than £2500 unless you’re looking for a project. 
 
Around £4000 is enough to find a cracking example, with some dealers asking around £6500-£7000 for the very best. The later Japanese imports still carry a premium, so expect to pay around £3500-£8500 depending on mileage, spec and condition.
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
Last updated: 6th Oct 2016
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Toyota Celica
300 20500 GBP
  • TOYOTA CELICA (02) 1.8 VVTI COUPE FULL SERVICE HISTORY 1 FORMER KEEPER

    £1,995 £1,995

    HERE WE HAVE A REALLY LOVELY TOYOTA CELICA COUPE IN BLACK ! IT IS IN REALLY LOVELY CONDITION AND A CREDIT TO ITS PREVIOUS OWNER , IT COMES WITH ALL OF THE USUAL REFINEMENTS INC. ALLOY WHEELS , ELECTRIC WINDOWS , MIRRORS , REMOTE CENTRAL LOCKING , C.D PLAYER , AIR CONDITIONING ETC. THERE ARE TWO KEYS AND IT WILL COME WITH A BRAND NEW M.O.T IF REQUIRED , SERVICE AND A MECHANICAL BREAKDOWN WARRANTY ( NOT THAT YOU WILL NEED IT FOR ONE OF THESE - JAPANESE RELIABILITY ! ). PART EXCHANGE IS WELCOME AND DELIVERY CAN ALSO BE ARRANGED ( PLEASE CONTACT US FOR FURTHER DETAILS ) ON RECEIPT OF FUNDS .   THANK YOU. NATHAN . BEECHING VEHICLE SALES.

    • Mileage: 88000 mi
    • Engine size: 1794
    For sale
    £1,995 £1,995
    FridayAd
  • Toyota Celica 2005

    £2,850 £2,850

    Celica T sport 190. 6 speed manual, 1.8 petrol 190 Bhp, 3 owners, new rear tyres, new MOT, leather, Air conditioning, electric windows and roof. Great car great condition. All old MOT certs but unfortunately service history lost. 2 remote locking keys.

    • Engine size: 1796
    For sale
    £2,850 £2,850
  • Toyota Celica

    £300 £300

    My very much lovely Toyota celica is for sale for spares and repairs not a 100% sure what is wrong but will try and list all the problems; it's doesn't hold coolant long if you fill it up it will disappear whether you drive it or not and it starts to over heats after about 4 miles. Mechanic thinks it's the head gasket and also needs a tappet replaced. Could all be fix i just don't have the time. It was in a cat D before i brought it drivers size back wheel arch is dented and scched ( tried to include it in last picture) still starts and will drive. Currently SORN has i have another car. MOT until Feb. Had new water pump in June and new battery in Jan. All tyres in good condition, one only been on 3 months. Currently taken the radio out but can put back in if . Spare Tyre is an alloy Tyre not a temp. Sold as seen needs a valet again, i just haven't had time.

    • Mileage: 131340 mi
    • Engine size: 1794
    For sale
    £300 £300
  • Toyota Celica

    £5,750 £5,750

    A three owner, 23,600 mile Japan only spec Convertible Celica ST183 Limited 300. HISTORY Imported into the UK in May 2010, GLC Autos of Wales were the first registered keeper, the following two were father and son. Upon importation the mileage was verified by the DVLA via Interpol, and we have every MOT certificate from UK ownership to further verify the mileage. The car has had a full service including cambelt and auto transmission fluid – the car has since covered just a few thousand miles. We have replaced the front discs and pads. Current MOT is valid until 30th May 2019 with no advisories. SPECIFICATION Spec includes: Air conditioning, electric roof, 4x electric windows, electric mirrors, switchable automatic transmission with overdrive, switchable four-wheel-steering, Alpine radio/CD player, retractable drivers mirror, adjustable steering column and fog lights. ENGINE GEARBOX TYRES AND BRAKES The engine is smooth, oil is golden. Tyres are all Yokohamas and in excellent condition and with plenty of tread. The auto gearbox shifts smoothly with no knocks. The brakes pull the car up strong and straight. CONDITION In fantastic condition throughout, the alloys are perfect, unmarked and fully reconditioned including, the interior is excellent with no rips, tears or marks on the seats. There is no rust anywhere on the car. We have the original Japanese book pack and a file of invoices from the UK and Japan. It is HPi clear and we have the certificate in hand and we have two keys. CONTACT US We are 30 seconds from junction 2a off the M26 and 5 minutes from junction 2 off the M20. Viewing strictly by appointment. Call us ANYTIME on 07711 645 465 to view or for a friendly chat. Part exchange considered. All our cars are prepared to the highest standards and can be viewed in our brand new fully lit unit, day or night.

    • Year: 1992
    • Mileage: 23600 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £5,750 £5,750
    Wayne Lamport

    07711645465 View contact number
    Wayne Lamport

    07711645465 View contact number
  • Toyota Celica

    €20,500(£0) €20,500(£0)

    This Celica TA23 is from the 1,5 (23 series) generation. The 1.588 cc engine with a twin carburettor, the 2T-B delivered new 86 HP. The Coupe has the same basic shape as first generation but slightly longer between the front wheels and the doors. The front style introduced in 1973 on the Japanese models now used in all markets (lengthened to suit new chassis). Also it got a new style dash. Finished in British Racing Green with Brown interior this older restoration is immaculate. Excellent detailed engine bay. This beautifully Celica was imported to Netherlands in 2013. More information on: www.kucarfa.nl

    • Year: 1977
    • Mileage: 800 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
    €20,500(£0) €20,500(£0)
  • Toyota Celica

    £2,795 £2,795

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Colour Coded Interior, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Traction Control, ABS, Air Bag, Multiple Airbags, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Electric Sunroof, Sunroof, CD Player, Radio, Radio Cassette, Rear Wash/wipe, Rear Spoiler, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Full service history Toyota Celica 1.8 VVTi, 39,000 Miles, Full Toyota Dealer History, 1 Previous Owner, Last Owner Since 2002, Electric Windows, Electric Sunroof, Electric Mirrors, Air Conditioning, Height Adjustable Headlights, Genuine Toyota Floor Mats, 4 Keys, MOT Expires 14th October 2016.

    • Mileage: 39000 mi
    • Engine size: 1794
    For sale
    £2,795 £2,795