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When the last generation Toyota Celica came out in 2000, it was the most innovative sport coupe in its class. With edgy and angular styling, a price starting under $20k and great handling, it won over Gen X buyers.

It quickly put its main rival, the Acura Integra, on the fast track to its demise in 2001. That Celica received minor refinements every year and continued in production until 2006.

The vehicle featured here is a well maintained and modified 2004 model. Virginia Beach owner Joe Travis had a fiberglass widebody kit, performance exhaust and muffler, computer reflash and an upgraded JVC sound system installed in his Celica. In addition, the super Celica features Lambo style doors that swing up, Italian exotic style.

The owner let me sample it and we went cruising at the Oceanfront along Atlantic Avenue on a nice Wednesday night. As a long time car guy and writer, I’ve driven and photographed many cars over the years, but it’s rare that any car gets as much attention as this Celica. It still looks fresh and futuristic in 2019. It’s a 15 year old car, by the way.

The Toyota’s powertrain is strong, reliable and efficient. This particular model makes roughly 200hp or so with a few mods, but it feels really quick due to its light weight (about 2500 lbs) the Automatic transmission shifts quickly and the car pulls hard in first and second. The car has 130k miles on it but still feels tight and responsive.

There were two Celicas to choose from in the mid-2000s, the GT featured here with a Toyota 1.8 DOHC

16 valve 4 making 140hp stock. Also, there was also a slightly more powerful 180hp GTS model that had an engine codesigned with Yamaha, but because that model required you to rev it to 7500 rpm to make the extra power, the GTS engine was prone to premature engine problems, camshaft wear and occasional failure if driven too hard and not maintained. So be careful with that model.

If you decide to modify a used Toyota Celica, there are tons of upgrades and parts available online and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). From turbocharging, to headers and exhaust these Celicas can be tuned to make 500hp or better.

The current price range for a 2000 to 2006 era Celica in good to excellent condition is $3,000 to $5,000, some GTS and customized ones go for more, but they are great little sports coupes that are fun, affordable and fuel efficient and make a perfect preowned choice for car guys and gals. Additionally there are two well known Virginia Beach based tuners, Racewerks, and Dynotuned Performance who can service and modify them. Snap one up before they become collectors’ items.

2001-2006 Toyota Celica:

Price new :$19,000-$27,000 Price used $3,000-$5000 Power: 140-180hp in stock form 0-60mph : 6.9 seconds

Top Speed : 135 mph

EPA fuel economy 25/36 city / highway Ratings:(1-10 scale)

Design : 8

Quality: 9

Performance : 8

Reliability :9

Safety: 7

Value : 9

Powertrain: 9

Overall Rating: 8.5 , Very good

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