Jay Leno Welcomes Vintage Toyota Celica into His Garage
In a recent episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, the ex-chat show host drives an immaculate 1971 Toyota Celica. It’s a great reminder of Toyota’s heritage in America.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the setup, Jay Leno’s Garage is an Emmy-winning weekly series, in which the former The Tonight Show host reviews cars, compares cars and gives his personal opinion on a wide-range of vehicles. Now you might be wondering what his authority on the subject is? Well, he’s got a garage with over 130 cars in it, including everything from a 2014 McLaren P1 to a 1963 Jaguar E-Type Coupe.
In last week’s episode, Jay hops behind the wheel of a vehicle that changed the reputation of Japanese sports cars in America forever: a 1971 Toyota Celica ST.
Before the Celica came along, America hadn’t really had a proper Japanese sports car and it was a vehicle that combined both stylish and sporty for the first time in the market.
The example in the video – which you can watch in full below – is pristine and was loaned to Leno by the Toyota USA Museum for the purpose of the programme.
Even though the Celica was a success story in terms of sales, very few remain on American roads today; something that Leno comments on during the video.
Nevertheless, the Celica remains a very attractive little coupe and its lack of a B-pillar gives it a distinctive look, especially when the windows are down.
The video serves as a great reminder of what 1970’s Japanese sports cars were like. The only disappointment is that Leno has a Toyota engineer beside him while he’s driving the Celica, so doesn’t really get a chance to open her up. It’s 1.9-litre engine isn’t going to set the world on fire, but at the time it was seen as a welcome change to the pony cars Americans had been used to, like the Mustang and the Camaro.
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