Journal: Which Hue for You? Sky-Blue Mazda or Lemon-Yellow Toyota?

Which Hue for You? Sky-Blue Mazda or Lemon-Yellow Toyota?

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
May 21, 2013
15 comments

Though slow to make a name for themselves in the US market, the Japanese were well on their way to being big players here in the late seventies and eighties, if not already well-established. Aided by the Datsun 240Z and Roadster, demand for inexpensive but-well engineered, built-in-Japan sports cars was very high by 1978, the year both of our featured cars were built.

Each one will provide similar RWD thrills with a distinctly nostalgic charm, but go about delivering the goods in very different ways. Both are the definition of “cheap and cheerful”, featuring cockpits with acres of (remarkably well-preserved) black vinyl, wind-em-up windows, no A/C, and—hallelujah—manual transmissions.

First up is an absolutely immaculate-looking ‘78 Toyota Celica GT. Usually we prefer the MKI Mini-Mustang or angular and striking MKIII cars when it comes to early Celicas, but this one’s stunning condition and great presentation help it worm its way into our hearts. Said to be a one-family car from new, it’s also claimed to wear its original paint, which is remarkable considering its apparent condition. With just over 41k on the odometer, the engine bay, undercarriage, and interior all look clean enough to eat off of, and that dash architecture is just plain cool. Though the ad is rife with questionable grammar and font sizes, the seller is very well-respected with 100% on over 2,000 transactions.

“And now for something completely different”—a beautiful, first-generation RX-7, said to be one of the first on these shores. Claimed to be a 1.5 owner car (the ad explains…), it has quite a few more miles than the yellow Toyota, but has been restored both cosmetically and mechanically. It looks fantastic on a set of lovely 15” Panasports, wearing a medium sky blue over coal black vinyl. A couple of very nice upgrades include rear discs and an LSD, both courtesy of a later-model GSL rear end. Though not quite as clean as the Celica, it appears to be solid underneath and relatively tidy in the engine bay. We’d love to slide open that relatively giant metal sunroof on a nice day and listen to the angry bee exhaust note bounce off of wildlife bordering a nice, long set of twisties.

Which Japanese classic is for you?

1978 Toyota Celica GT

Click here for the Celica details.

1979 Mazda RX-7 GS

Click here for the RX-7 details. 

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Andreas AssiotisJanMichael FranklinGarrett HammerelLeucea AlexandruAndreas Lavesson Recent comment authors
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Andreas Assiotis
Andreas Assiotis

Celica hands down!!!

JanMichael Franklin
JanMichael Franklin

The RX-7 is definitely the future classic of the two. I once owned a red on black ’79 and I now own a beige on brown ’84 GSL-SE.

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru

Not an easy choice to make, but i think Mazda is somehow better than the Celica. They are pretty similar when it comes to design, they both have the same shape, but Mazda looks more dynamic, its lines flow continuously, while the Celica seems “boxy”. I would invert the colors though.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I was dead set on the RX-7, since I’m not a huge fan of that generation of Celica. However, when I went on to look at the pictures, I couldn’t help but being drawn in by it. But when push comes to shove, I’d still take the RX-7. If that Celica had been a Celica Supra with the 4M-E inline-6 instead, things might have been different.

john tolle
john tolle

RX7 here. Mazda at its best.

Jim Whitehead
Jim Whitehead

RX-7. I sold my S3 FB before moving to LA, and I miss it every day. There is nothing from the ’80’s that drives quite like a 1st gen RX-7. LSD + panasports = win. The only downside of this particular car is that it has a sunroof, and at 6’4 (with a long torso) I need a hard-top.

JB21
JB21

No contest. RX-7. Celica always was a sad excuse for a sports car.

JellyBeanDonuts
JellyBeanDonuts

Gotta be the RX7, but I might be a bit partial as I have an ’85 GSL-SE.

Bill
Bill

Celica, as I have a 1980 GT USGP liftback. I have had it for 33 years.

Alan Franklin
Alan Franklin

80s-tastic color scheme, love it.

Garrett Hammerel
Garrett Hammerel

I think I’d take the Toyota simply because FB’s are a dime a dozen. My work has 4 in the parking lot. On the other hand, I haven’t seen a Celica like that in years.

Alan Franklin
Alan Franklin

That’s either a massive parking lot or you live in someplace very strange.

Garrett Hammerel
Garrett Hammerel

Haha… I work in a call center that employs about 1000 people, so it’s a pretty decent-sized parking lot. That said, FB’s are pretty common here in Boise. Most of them aren’t quite as high-quality as the example above, but they are out there. I know I’ve seen at least 3 just with SBC conversions in town. There’s also a guy that lives near me that raised his and uses it in rally.

For that reason only, I would go for the Celica. RX-7’s just don’t stand out here.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

RX7 for me. Just don’t like the lines of that version of the Celica

Jeff Knoespel
Jeff Knoespel

RX-7 all the way.