Ex-racer Stephan Papadakis bought a modified 1972 Toyota Celica which is the definition of a barn find. The Japanese sporstcar was gathering dust in a garage for 20 years before its previous owner passed away and his family decided to sell it. Thankfully, the Celica is now back on the streets after some light restoration and tuning.
The classic Japanese coupe was showcased on the YouTube channel Papadakis Racing including footage from the day it came out of storage. It was covered by a thick layer of dust but remained in good condition overall for a vehicle of this age. The first-generation Celica is now a popular classic, and examples like this barn find are the perfect base for a project car.
Read: Someone Left A 1982 Audi Quattro Turbo To Rot In A Barn For Nearly 30 Years
Visually, the chin spoiler, bolt-on fender flares, vented bonnet, and rear spoiler do not alter the character of the sporty Toyota. Papadakis added a new set of 15-inch alloy wheels which are more suitable for a daily driver than the original 13-inch wheels. There is some rust that needs to be fixed on the bonnet and side sills, but nothing too serious. Besides the pictured pillarless notchback bodystyle, Toyota also offered a Mustang-like fastback variant of the Celica, although we certainly prefer the looks of the former.
Inside there is an aftermarket fiberglass TRD racing seat, an Abarth steering wheel, and upgraded dials, showing that previous owners spent some time on the track. The new owner wants to fix the cooling/heating by mounting the interchangeable air vents. He also wants to fix the mechanism of the frameless windows for smoother operation.
Under the bonnet lies a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter dual overhead cam engine with upgraded carburetors, HKS cams, a metal head gasket, and TRD pistons, all coming from the late ’80s. Papadakis re-powdered the valve cover in red, added a lightweight battery, and is now focused on fine-tuning the engine before testing it on the dyno. Those four-pots can produce up to 145 hp which may sound low for today’s standard but are more than enough for a retro RWD sportscar that only weighs 2,078 pounds (943 kg). The chassis has also been upgraded with adjustable suspension, rear coilovers, and fresh brakes (Wilwood discs at the front and rear drums).
Papadakis will continue to work on the Celica while enjoying it on the streets. You can watch the entire 17-minute-long video presentation below.