15 years of the seventh-generation Toyota Celica

Celica 15 008

 

It’s celebration time, because it was precisely 15 years ago to this day (12 November 1999) that the seventh-generation Toyota Celica went on sale in the UK. Time flies when you’re having fun, eh?

Arguably the most striking mainstream sports coupe of its day, the new Celica was almost as short as the first-generation car but had a wheelbase longer than any previous generation for a powerful, wheel-at-each-corner stance and excellent agility. In addition, while the model had historically featured a long-bonnet aesthetic popularised by American muscle cars, the new cab-forward design penned by Toyota’s Calty Research division in California was inspired by motorsport, notably the Toyota GT-One Le Mans racer.

Beneath the wedge-like exterior was an originally developed front-wheel drive platform hung on new double wishbone rear suspension and refined MacPherson struts up front. Its overall weight was up to 90kg lighter than the outgoing model, which allowed Toyota to endow the new Celica with a class-leading power-to-weight ratio using an intelligent but relatively small capacity 1.8-litre engine. Putting that into perspective, its 130bhp per tonne ratio was equivalent to that of the iconic 2.8-litre Ford Capri.

Firing through the Celica’s new close-ratio six-speed gearbox revealed sparkling performance – 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and 127mph top speed – allied to a combined fuel consumption figure of 36.7mpg. Compared with the best-selling sixth-generation Celica 1.8 ST, the new car was faster, cleaner, cheaper, more frugal and even better specified. Of course things got even more exciting when a 190bhp model was added almost a year later.

What elements of the seventh-generation Toyota Celica do you fondly remember? Was it the surprisingly practical luggage area, the strange mix of orange and green dashboard illumination, the cool engine-cooling bonnet vent, or the fact that most new buyers couldn’t resist the optional Sports Pack that included 17″ alloys and a rear spoiler?

Whether you used to own a seventh-generation Celica or still do, why not join our celebrations? We’d love to hear about your experiences or memories using the comment box below.

Learn more: History of the Toyota Celica

Read more: What does the press say about Toyota’s latest coupe?

Comments (12)

  1. Man this makes me proud to say out of all the toyotas and somother cars ove owned my 2000 celica gts is also a great reliable car i have 247k miles on it and can go alot more so for buyers in tge market of a good sports cpupe buy a 7th gen celica especially a gts tgey were a lil more reliable than my 2000 and 2001 gt ive owned previously

  2. Just bought my gen 7 celica red edition 54 plate what a car I love it looks amazing outside open the door looks even more amazing start the engine amazing put your foot down heaven I asked my my partner to have a go driving she said why in the end she did her face when she went up though the gears she loved it I consider myself very lucky to own one of the

  3. I own a 2001 7th Generation Celica which is still in immaculate condition. It is a 140bhp model with all the extras including 18″ alloy wheels and stainless steel exhaust. I truly love driving this car and have so much pleasure putting it through it’s paces – I live in a remote part of North Wales providing ideal conditions for fun driving! Over the years it has gained a high mileage but is still reliable under all conditions. A really iconic car that will become a future classic car.

      1. Hi Ella, Sorry for the long delay in responding to your message. I still own the Celica and use it almost every day. The car just passed it’s last MOT a few days ago and has reached 156,000 miles in answer to your question.
        I have owned a lot of cars in my lifetime but overall this has been the best it has power, space and is very economical on the road. Above all I really love the design that still gets attention from the public. A classic car that will definitely become a collectable in the years ahead.
        My wife wanted me to sell the Toyota and buy a Mercedes coupe but after having a test drive I intend sticking with my trusty and reliable ‘old’ Celica.

        1. Hi Harvey,
          We are delighted to hear this, and congratulations on the 156,000 milestone.
          If you wish to be part of our High Mile Club and get a free sticker, all you have to do is post a picture of your car’s odometer with the hashtag #HighMileClub on our Facebook page or when mentioning @ToyotaGB on Twitter, and we’ll get in contact to post a sticker out to you.
          Three High Mile Club sticker designs are available – bronze-tinted for 150,000 miles, silver for 200,000 miles and gold for 300,000.
          Thanks again for your kind words and congratulations.

  4. I have owned two 7th gen Celicas a 2000 x plate and a 2003(facelift model) both blue and both with rear spoiler, leather, climate, sunroof etc (140bhp model) My girlfriend today drives a 54 plate blue base 140 model with spoiler and I now drive a 10plate Audi A4.
    She struggles to get into her car often as I love driving it. The handling is incredible and all have been ultra reliable. Going to be selling it soon as I’m getting a new car and she will get Audi. It will be very difficult to say goodbye to a truly wonderful car.

    1. Hi Neil,
      Thank you for your post. We love to hear stories about our owners and their cars and please feel free to post a picture on our Toyota UK Facebook page of your Celica. We are glad you love the Celica as much as we do! Many thanks.

  5. Love my 7th gen t sport, had it five years (the longest I’ve owned a car!) Still looks great and drives great! Me and my wife have just been to yorkshire on honeymoon in it too! Well done toyota for making it!

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