As the clock struck 10:30pm, a silver Toyota whizzed through the empty night street. Coming to a traffic signal, the vehicle braked and came to a standstill. Under the yellow sodium lights, the silver celestial body illuminated resembling a knight in shining armour ready for its late night conquest. With the traffic lights turning green, the engine roared into life and on went the car; to the infinity and beyond.
Celica was produced by the Japanese automaker Toyota from 1970 to 2006. The term "Celica" originates from the Latin word coelica meaning "heavenly" or "celestial". A stylised dragon forms the Celica symbol.
With Toyota making seven generations of the Celica, the vehicle was powered by four-cylinder, with body styles including convertibles and notchback coupés. But the one involved in our discussion today is the GT-S.
Included in Celica's seventh generation, it closely resembled the XYR concept with the exception of the front bumper and rear spoiler, omitting the previously available coupé body style.
During the car's production, Toyota took time to lighten the car and lower costs wherever possible. Power window and door lock controls were placed in the centre console. Initial sunroofs were made of polymer plastic instead of the traditional glass.
A glance at the vehicle gives the impression of the car being designed by a knife. The exterior is a work of art with admirable looks on the front and sides. Upfront, the Celica is extremely aggressive and the little bulges in the headlamps are a nifty touch, as is the hood scoop. Around the rear, Toyota kept it plain and simple, spicing it up by putting in a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) spoiler. The 16-inch stock rims look really nice and complement the car's styling.
Similar to the exterior, the car's interior is meant for the young at heart. It is simple and very attractive, easy at a quick glance to read the gauges, climate controls are to the point, space is limited but then again, what else do you expect from a sports car?
The dashboard has an unconventional touch to it with a gauge layout unlike anything in Toyota's line-up. The interior is small but there is enough room for two people. Unfortunately for tall individuals, there is limited head room, but drivers are more than welcome to put the chair back enough to drive comfortably.
As per car class, all the engines of Toyota Celica are the straight-4 engines with displacements of 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2-liter. However, while making the GT-S, Toyota returned to its performance roots. The base engine produces 140hp, with both engines having a displacement of 1.8 litres, the GT-S pumps out an honest 180 horsepower thanks to the company's then new VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing Lift with intelligence system).
Accommodating a redline of 7800rpm and the all-new aggressive VVTL-i, the vehicle is a bit edgy. Yet, while generating impressive performance numbers, the Celica's suspension feels more civilized rather than being aggressive. As the engine roars into life, it kicks in hard for great power delivery in the top end of the rpm range.
The six-speed transmission is responsible for the GT-S' relative civility. The first four gears are closely spaced for performance, fifth and sixth gears are overdrives. Top gear has the GT-S engine turning 3,500 rpm at 120 km/h, minimizing the valve train clatter.
Even though, Celica production were stopped by 2006, the car is available on the streets of Dhaka and Chattogram (especially by the night). These days, a second hand GT-S costs around TK26,00,000. So, if you are looking for a sleek ride around the town, give this one a try. Though it is going to be difficult beating the corvettes down the street, it will be difficult for rest of the street cars to keep up with the GT-S.