Even before our family got our first Celica, I had already been fond of the Celica line of cars. My dad built Tamiya scale models of it. Here is a photo of my 8-year-old self with our ZZT230 Celica in California back in 2003.
Earlier models of this car were raced in the World Rally Championship (WRC), specifically the ST165, ST185, and ST205 models. I wasn’t originally a fan of the Celica ST185 body shape, but after a pilgrimage to the Toyota History Garage in Tokyo, Japan, I was hooked with the story. The ST185 model has collected the most rally race wins in Toyota’s rally history.
I found some clues that I might be able to find a GT-Four in the Philippines, so I did some reaching out with a bit of persistence. Many message conversations later, I headed out on a planned 4 hour drive to see one. I left my 2001 Celica GT at Shell C5 Northbound to avoid the heavy rain and potential floods. I had to find an alternative way out to Rizal, but there was no car ride available to book. It was a tough choice but I wouldn't let anything stop me. Despite my semi-gwapo outfit ready for school, I was able to book a motorcycle ride through the rain and get soaked along the way. At our meetup place, I was glad to greet Mr. Lito before we traded the origin stories of our respective Celicas. I had gone through my checklist for things to inspect, but I forgot to ask to get it started! He doesn’t drive it often, but I’m glad to hear he starts the engine up weekly, and to see that he drove it to the mall parking where we met.
A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of his dark red 1986 Toyota MR2, pictured here with our 2001 Celica at Makati in 2018.
This led me to a revelation that his dark red MR2 is the same color that my dad’s 1990 Toyota 4Runner and 1997 Honda Blackbird were. My dad purchased the 4Runner in San Francisco and drove it around California back in the 90s, while the Honda Blackbird was purchased in the Philippines as his first brand new motorcycle.
San Francisco, USA, 1995
A few minutes pass and I realize that the 1990 Celica All-Trac I just visited is in the same color as my father's favorite vehicles!
I am grateful for the time Mr. Lito shared with me. Now I am led to believe more firmly that this Celica will be right at home in our garage.