THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1980 Toyota Celica GT liftback owned by Jerry Malkes
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Although Japanese automakers brought their products to American shores in the 1950s, the cars didn't get a whole lot of respect until Datsun (now Nissan) and Toyota launched their sport coupes - the 240Z and the Celica - in the early '70s. The Celica, as Malkes notes, was marketed as competition for the Ford Mustang and it helped to build Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability. "This is an extremely rare car to see and find," he says.
HOW LONG HE'S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He ordered it from a Valley Stream dealer. "It took three months for the car to arrive from Japan," he says. "I almost didn't take ownership as the price went up $2,000 during that time and another person wanted to buy it from under me."
"The Celica has all of its original parts, with only 19,000 miles on the odometer," Malkes says. "Only the air filter was changed, as well as the oil filter during the normal oil change. This Toyota has achieved over 50 awards and has been written about and photographed for various car magazines." Malkes has subtly added modern-day accessories, such as a new sound system, built-in radar, a GPS system, a backup camera and a five-inch color monitor.
TIPS FOR OWNERS
"Do not do what I did," he advises. "I bought a car and kept it in a garage for 20 years. Of course, join a car club. Try to purchase a car that has been restored. Taking on a complete project car is terribly expensive and time-consuming and may cost more than the true value of the car."
Malkes calls the Toyota "priceless" and says he has turned down $20,000 for it.
"This 1980 Toyota Celica GT liftback has afforded me an opportunity to meet many fabulous car people," he says. "My late dad worked for BMW and Rolls Royce, and would have been proud of me carrying on his love of cars."