1981 Toyota Celica ST Coupe 2-Door 2.4L [NO RESERVE]

Price: US $5,500.00 Item location: Rudyard, Michigan, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Toyota
  • Model: Celica
  • SubModel: Convertible
  • Type: Coupe
  • Trim: ST Coupe 2-Door
  • Year: 1981
  • Mileage: 42,969
  • VIN: JT2RA43C2B0020263
  • Color: red
  • Engine size: 2.4L 2366CC l4 GAS SOHC Naturally Aspirated
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Power options: Air Conditioning
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: 5 speed manual
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: black
  • Options: Convertible
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1981 Toyota Celica Convertible

1981 Toyota Celica ST Grandeur Convertible, Original and Rare with Low miles.

The car was parked in a garage in 1989 and I rescued it in 2013. Since then the mechanicals have been gone through and the car cleaned up and driven about 3500 miles. It has 43,000 miles, believed to be original based on time in storage, title mileage from previous owner, and overall condition of the car. It has a 22R 4 cylinder motor with a 5 speed. The paint is original and shines nicely, but it is in driver condition. It looks good from 10 feet, but has many parking lot dings and several scratches when viewed up close. It is not perfect and I have tried to represent the car as accurately as possible by addressing the faults in the descriptions below.


The convertible conversion was done by Granduer Coach builder in Florida before it was sent to the dealer where it was sold as new. From what I have researched and gleaned from people familiar with these cars is that there were only 200-500 Celica convertibles made from this coach builder making this a very rare car, especially when the 5 speed manual transmission is factored in with the red paint.

This car was in storage for about 24 years with the license plate on the car having 1989 tags when I acquired the car in 2013 with 39,000 miles. The odometer is reading just around 43,000 miles which is believed to be original based on previous owner title information, the time in storage, and the previous owner it storing at their summer home as well as the overall condition of the car.

I have chosen to leave the 1984 Chicago Parking Sticker in the window and the dealer plaque on the back for conversation pieces.


The paint is mostly original, however part of the front spoiler and part of the lower passenger side rear fender have been resprayed. The rocker panels were replaced due to poor workmanship from the convertible conversion company which cut the rockers to insert steel support bars to the unibody. The rockers were not properly resealed and some rust developed in this area. It has been professionally repaired and sealed with the material used for pick up bed liners.

The convertible top appears to be original and in very good condition with no rips or tears. There is some fade on the underside of the convertible top from the top being down. The rear window is clear and in very good condition. The boot cover (covers the top when it is down) is missing.

The driver’s side window weather stripping has a small amount of damage, almost looks like a mouse chewed on it, but it is still functional and has no dry rot. The windshield has a slight scratch from the wiper on the passenger side.

The chrome accent trim is in very good shape.

The corner of the rear bumper has a small crack in the rubber. The driver’s side taillight has a very light crack or scratch that is very difficult to see unless the light is right.

The passenger door has a very slight crease dent that goes along the pin stripe that is only visible at the right angle. I didn’t even see it until I was hand polishing it several weeks after I acquired the car. There are several small dings and door dents on the car, most people don’t see them from a few feet away. They are small enough that it is difficult to see in pictures and from 10 feet away you have to look to see them. There are some scratches and chips in the paint.


It has the durable 22R motor with a 5 speed manual transmission. The top end of the motor was gone through by a NAPA and ASE certified mechanic in 2013 at 39,000 miles due to a broken valve spring. It was given a valve job, new head gasket, main crank seal, oil pan gasket, brake master cylinder, front calipers, clutch/pressure plate, and rebuilt carburetor. It also received new spark plugs, plug wires, belts, battery and fuel pump and fuel filter. Receipts will be provided with sale. The brakes needed no work as they appeared to be new when the vehicle was stored and have only had light use since. I have taken it out on a few day trips and it has gotten between 27 and 30 mpg.


The condition of the original seats and carpet show very little wear. The side of the top of the rear seats have a slight cut where the convertible top framing has been in contact with it. The dashboard has no cracks and is in excellent condition.

Every light works right down to the light in the glove box. The air conditioning even works and blows cold air. The radio is a bit quirky, it works fine until it gets warm and then it cuts in and out on the FM band, AM band is fine. The gas gauge works, but sometimes is a bit slow coming up on the top half after a refill.

The trunk is carpeted, but has some mouse damage to the carpet on one corner. The struts for the trunk lid are not very strong, so I just use a stick to hold it up.

Wheels and Tires

The wheels are original from the conversion shop and came with wire insets. Two of the wire insets are a bit rusty but will come with the car and the other two were missing when I got it. I painted the centers of the wheels with Plastidip paint (you can peel it off if you don’t like it) to give it a cleaner look and hide the slight pitting of the chrome. The unpainted chrome does have some pitting. It just received new tires last summer at 42,000 miles.


The underside for the body and floorpan are solid. Suspension pieces and the rear axle show scaley rust that is typical to untreated metal, especially after 34 years. It is not pristine, but the surface rust on these components do not compromise the function and safety of the underside components. The exhaust system is original and in good working order.

Reason for Selling

I was only going to drive it for a year or two, it has now been three. I don’t live in a climate to enjoy convertibles very often and I have a different project that needs my attention.

Taking it out for a drive usually gets many comments and often people taking pictures. It is a fun car, not fast, but it is fun. It is not likely to take home trophies at car shows, but it does generate conversation.