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Celica GT-Four RC - Project56

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  • Celica GT-Four RC - Project56

    It was early '21. We're a long way into a global pandemic, mobility was restricted for periods of the year, there was a little bit of work from home happening, I'd just finished doing the head gasket job on the Elise and it was running well and ready for road.

    Yet, I couldn't help but think that there was one type of car I'd always wanted, always assumed I'd own, but maybe the time was running out for me. Boomy talk for sure, but nontheless I didn't want to miss out.

    Rallying was the thing that got me into cars back in the day. It was never track cars, or super cars on my wall. It was rally cars, and 90s Group A leading into early WRC cars being the golden era in my mind. Many hours were spent back home playing everything from Colin McRae Raly to Richard Burns and into the WRC titles. I didn't get to stages much as a kid, but every year I'd get a stage or two of the Lakes. That was enough to deeply engrain the thought that nothing was cooler than a Group A car.

    Obviously, when I eventually learned how to drive, this kind of thing was way too expensive and uninsurable. Then I had the Elise in my late 20s and there were epic adventures in that, and many more to come too. I just never had a few bob and sight on the right car at the same time to tick the rally box. Anyway, fast forward to last year again and there was space in the shed and a bit of a budget....

    Initial thoughts were four doors for the family man. So I started looking at Evos and limited edition Impreza STI things. The prices had clearly got away from me for the clean cars, so I had to walk away from them. Then the stuff I could afford to buy were not in a great way. Mechanical work I can tackle, but body work would have to be contracted out and I'm (maybe too) aware of the risks that come with starting to chip away at something that needs welding. I turned to Japan in hope, but the boom in prices there was strong too and I was still priced out. With eyes on imports, it soon became clear that the mid nineties stuff was still bringing with it a hefty VRT bill too, further pushing me out.

    "Why don't you look at 90/91 yokes?", came the advice. €200 VRT etc., €56 tax making it an all year option in the fleet....why not indeed?! And so started a few weeks of deep dive research on such beauties as the Galant VR4, Pulsar GTI-R and the Celica GT-Four, eventually deciding to focus on the latter (while still keeping an eye on any clean examples of the other two). A few more weeks passed, bids were entered on a few cars and unsuccessful. Then one morning I logged in and I saw a grainy set of images on the auction site;

    This had my interest! So query submitted on likely price and I went even more deep dive on the research. Finding out it was 1 of the 5000 homologation cars had me entirely sold, I was bidding on this for sure. I'd be lying if I said I stayed up to watch the auction result, I didn't have much hope on it working out. Much to my surprise though, I had an email the next morning saying I'd just won the auction

    As these things go, a few days passed with me basically refreshing the email page waiting for more pictures of the car to come through. Sure enough, it was clear there was going to be some tidying up required of this far away thirty year old car, but for the most part things were looking solid, and a winter project might be just the ticket!

    All that was left to do now was wait for a shipping date, download the MarineTraffic app, get the name of my boat and watch the little triangle make it's way around the world reaaaaaal sloooooww

  • #2
    Lovely stuff, another 90’s fav of mine, but aftrr the Evergreen fiasco, has it landed here yet?
    I’m standing in a field full of sheep, is it wrong that I feel aroused?? 🤨🤪


    • #3
      Cool. So did you go ZV or year county reg?


      • #4
        Oh boy, this is going to be an epic thread.................subscribed


        • #5
          That's class Dimitri. I was just looking at the auctions last night - some nice cars on there. Looking forward to seeing how you get on


          • #6
            Fantastic... car looks great and hopefully we will get to see it on the roads here soon


            • #7
              Watching this with interest. When I was.about 14 all I wanted a Celica identical to this, colour and all. Envious!

              Well wear!


              • #8
                Sweet enjoy it, only finishing mine at the moment. They really are a savage looking piece of Japanese metal.
                If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


                • #9
                  Beautiful cars, always like these, unfortunately an itch I never got to scratch........I'll be following this with interest.


                  • #10
                    And oh boy was it a long wait. Shipping in general was under pressure, then the big boat got stuck in the canal.

                    I had plenty of time to nerd out on VHSRallies

                    And then I remembered it had a tape player, so set out to get some of the cheesiest 1991 stuff I could find

                    I was going through the pictures I had in detail and using them to spot any trim pieces, badges etc. that were worn or damaged and then used the time I had to get these all on order and started to make a pile of parts. I even got myself a snazzy white gearknob like I'd seen some of the TTE cars had. The car got delayed along the way, having to swap boats and spend some time at port. Weeks turned into months, which turned into a few more months....but eventually it was in Dublin. I've driven a car home from the port before, but I knew this one had been sitting a while and the tyres weren't in good shape, so opted to get it dropped to the door to complete the mail-order experience.

                    It was a nervy few minutes while the delivery driver got it ready to drop off. I had my first look around and under the car as it sat on the truck.....no obvious surprises.
                    Last edited by dimitri; 15-01-2022, 12:29 AM.


                    • #11
                      The next few hours were spent prodding and poking and looking at things from all angles. The tyres were completely shot and the car was filthy outside. Mechanically it was a complete unknown too obviously. It had the look and feel of a car that had spent a good bit of time stationary. I started thinking that a refresh was going to be needed before it saw road.

                      Then I started digging through the car looking for evidence of the previous owner(s) and found a few bank receipts, a bracelet, some coins etc., the all important flare and a few fag butts

                      And the important "practical classic" KPIs were checked.

                      An absolute result It was time to start planning the project bit and make a scope of work for the remainder of the year.


                      • #12
                        Wow. Loving this. Not one bit jealous, honestly... *cough*...

                        I've always loved this gen Celica, it's always been the best looking across the entire model history in my opinion - and you went and got a GT Four. And an RC at that...

                        Best of luck with this and enjoy to the full.
                        Sub'd for future updates.


                        • #13
                          Loving this, I even like the colour.

                          Agree with the others, this shape always looked so much better and sleeker than the
                          following gen ST205.

                          Whats the difference between this limited edition and a standard car?

                          Did you bid and import the car yourself or use a broker?


                          • #14
                            Brilliant can’t wait to read about this


                            • #15
                              Dr Per Gillbrand - "


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