1974 Toyota Celica GT
Before the Celica’s introduction, Toyota was perceived as a builder of dull-but-worthy cars. The Celica’s sporty appeal brought a new market and more appealing image to the Japanese automaker. Some called it a copy of the Mustang, but it was simply one of the many early 1970s compact coupes that came to America during the gas crunch. With its long-hood/short deck proportions, space for four, and sporty styling (in the GT model), the Celica barged into America to compete with the likes of the Opel, Mazda RX-2, and Datsun 510. You could bump a standard Celica ST to a GT model for a mere $220. What you got was revised suspension rates that dropped the stance a quarter inch. The rest of the GT package is pure cosmetics: five-inch wheels, more open wheel arches, and GT-specific badging; all models bore the classic “smile” bumpers. Sure, economy came first and power output is modest, but these Japanese gems are getting harder and harder to find these days.