Toyota Celica GT-Four

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Japanese model Celica GT-Four A

The Toyota Celica GT-Four is a high performance model of the Celica liftback, with a turbocharged 3S-GTE engine, and full-time AWD. It was created to compete in the World Rally Championship, whose regulations dictate that a manufacturer must build road-going versions of the vehicle in sufficient numbers. These vehicles are referred to as "homologation special vehicles."

The Celica GT-Four came in three generations; ST165, based on the fourth generation Celica, and manufactured between October 1986 and August 1989; ST185 produced from September 1989 to September 1993; and ST205 from February 1994 to June 1999.

The Celica GT-Four rally cars were prepared by Toyota Team Europe in Germany.

The Celica GT-Four ST165 made its World Rally Championship (WRC) debut in the 1988 Tour de Corse, but the first WRC victory came in 1989 Rally Australia. The ST185's maiden WRC was in the 1992 Safari Rally, and won four events in that year. The ST185 is Toyota's most successful rally car. It won the WRC Driver's Championship in 1992, and the WRC Manufacturer's and Driver's Championships in 1993 and 1994. The ST205 came in late 1994, and became official rally car in 1995 with one WRC victory. It also won the 1996 European Rally Championship.

The significance of the Toyota Celica GT-Four in WRC history, previously dominated by European manufacturers, is that it was the first time a Japanese car manufacturer entered the WRC with an AWD turbocharged car and took trophies and won races, turning the WRC world upside down. Today, it is common to see Japanese manufacturers like Mitsubishi and Subaru dominating the WRC, but at the time it was unheard of. Toyota preceded Mitsubishi (Lancer Evolution and Galant VR-4) and Subaru (Legacy and Impreza). Unfortunately, while Subaru are still currently campaigning with their latest iterations of the Impreza in the WRC, Toyota exited to concentrate their racing efforts in Formula One.

Toyota Team Europe (TTE) was also the first to introduce the anti-lag system (ALS) in their ST205 Celica GT-Four cars, a technological breakthrough that was later adopted by other teams.

ST165 (1986-1989)

1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo ST165

The GT-Four concept started with the convertible prototype displayed at 1985 Tokyo Motor Show. The white car with burgundy interior is the first car to be called Celica GT-Four with theme "Open Air 4WD Motoring". The convertible never went into production, but the concept went to the liftback model which began production in October 1986.

The ST165 GT-Four can be distinguished from the front wheel drive Celica by its front bumper which has larger openings, and the "GT-Four" decals on the doors. Inside, the original GT-Four has Differential Lock Switch near the hand brake.

Minor change was given in October 1987. As with other front-drive Celicas, the ST165 received a new grille, tail lights, and alloys. The export version also has full body kit, noticeably the side spoilers and dual front round fog lights. The GT-Four is marketed in the USA as "Turbo All-Trac" and in Canada as "4WD Turbo."

ST185 (1989-1993)

1993 Toyota Celica All-trac Turbo ST185

The first 21 units ST185 were built in December 1988 as prototypes for various tests. The production model was launched in Japan in September 1989, and delivery began a month later.

The 3S-GTE in the GT-Four features an air-to-air intercooler and CT26 twin entry turbo to eliminate exhaust gas interference. The JDM GT-Four has 225 PS (165 kW) of power and 304 Nm of torque, a result of more aggressive ignition advance and ceramic turbine. The Full-time 4WD system in the GT-Four has viscous coupling limited slip center differential and some models are equipped with a Torsen rear differential.

All export market GT-Four are wide-body Liftbacks with flared fenders. The JDM GT-Four was also offered as normal body.

In August 1990, the wide body GT-Four A was added into the Japanese lineup. Super Live Sound System with ten speakers became standard on the GT-Four A.

JDM ST185 Models
Production Date Body Style Model Code Model Name Intercooler type JDM price (¥'000) Remarks
8910 - 9108 Normal Body E-ST185-BLMVZ GT-Four Air-To-Air 2,685 Optional: ABS, Auto A/C, Leather, 10-Speakers Premium Sound System, Sunroof.
8910 - 9108 Normal Body E-ST185-BLMVZ(V) GT-Four V Air-To-Air 2,427 Economy model with wheel covers (no alloys), no fog lights, limited options.
8910 - 9108 Normal Body E-ST185-BLMVZ(R) GT-Four Rally Air-To-Air 2,385 Rally model with close ratio gearbox, steel wheels, no power window.
9008 - 9309 Wide Body E-ST185H-BLMVZ GT-Four A Air-To-Air 2,900 (Aug '90 launch); 2,975 (Aug '91 facelift) Similar to all export models, equivalent to All-trac in the USA. 10-Speaker Premium Sound System is standard.
9108 - 9309 Wide Body E-ST185H-BLMVZ(R) GT-Four Rally Air-To-Air 2,691 Rally model with close ratio gearbox, steel wheels, no power window. The rarest ST185 model.
9108 - 9202 Wide Body E-ST185H-BLMQZ GT-Four RC Water-To-Air 3,200 For WRC Group A homologation. Export version is called Carlos Sainz Limited Edition.

There are three different gearboxes for ST185 GT-Four. The E150F with 4.285 final gear ratio was installed in the JDM and All-trac. European and Australian specs come with E151F with 3.933 ratio. The JDM only GT-Four Rally has E152F with close ratio on the 1st through 4th gear and 4.285 final ratio. All the RC/Carlos Sainz/Group A have E151F.

1993 Toyota Celica All-trac Turbo ST185

Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Leather interior, sunroof, and System 10 Premium Sound System are optional on '90–'92 All-trac, and standard on '93 All-trac. With its sport-style interior, power-operated driver's seat, auto tilt-away steering wheel, and cruise control as standard equipment, the All-trac was the most expensive Celica yet. With a 2.0 L turbocharged 3S-GTE producing 149 kW (200 bhp), it was the most powerful Celica ever sold in the USA.

The Australian spec is less luxurious than other destination models. Cruise control, leather, and sunroof were not offered. Early models don't have ABS and fog lights which became standard few months after introduction. However, Australia is the country with the big numbers of ST185 with over 2,000 units sold.

The special rally edition of 5000 units was known as the GT-Four RC in Japan, Carlos Sainz (CS) in Europe (in honour of their famous WRC driver), or Group A Rallye in Australia. Special features include:

  • a different intercooler (WTA as opposed to ATA) which Toyota Team Europe wanted so they could more easily tune their WRC car;
  • different hood, the emphasis of which is to get rid of heat as fast as possible (instead of scooping in air, as is the case with the standard ST185 hood);
  • different bumper that is much lighter than the standard one.

Out of 5000 units, 1800 were for Japanese market, 3000 were allocated to Europe, 150 in Australia, 25 in Singapore, and very few made a trip to New Zealand and general markets.

ST205 (1994-1999)

Toyota Celica GT-Four WRC ST205

The GT-Four ST205 was launched for Japanese market in February 1994, and for the Australian, European, and British markets in the mid-year. This version was to be the most powerful Celica produced to date, producing between 239-255PS from an updated 3S-GTE engine. Influenced strongly by Toyota Team Europe, Toyota's factory team in the World Rally Championship, the final version of the GT-Four included improvements such as an all aluminum hood and front quarter panels to save weight, four-channel ABS, an improved CT20B turbocharger, and "Super Strut Suspension". The 2500 homologation cars built to allow Toyota to enter the GT-Four as a Group A car in the World Rally Championship also sported extras such as all of the plumbing required to activate an anti-lag system, a water spray bar and pump for the front intercooler, a small hood mounted spoiler aft of the windscreen washers and an extender spoiler mounted on risers. Out of 2500 GT-Four WRC, 2100 stayed in Japan, 300 were exported to Europe, 77 for Australia, and few to the general markets. Japanese WRC models had ABS as an option and also received climate control as standard. Export WRC models only received a manual aircon system but all had ABS.

Officially WRC models in the initial 2500 were only produced in 1994 as required by WRC homologation rules. All ST205 sold in Australia were WRC models and called GT-Four Group A Rallye.

For 1996 model year, the ST205 received minor change which consists of new 6-spoke alloys, projector headlights, contoured side spoilers, and redesigned rear spoiler. The high WRC rear spoiler was not available in 1996, but returned as an option for the second minor change in December 1997.

World Rally Championship (WRC) Results

  • ST165 won 13 WRC series. Carlos Sainz won the 1990 WRC Driver's Title.
  • ST185 won 16 full WRC series, and 3 overall winner in the W2L series. WRC Driver's Titles with Carlos Sainz in 1992, Juha Kankkunen in 1993, and Didier Auriol in 1994. WRC Manufacturer's Titles in 1993 and 1994.
  • ST205 won 1 full WRC series, and 2 overall winner in the W2L series.


1/43 scale ST185 Pace car version by Trofeu
  • 1/10 scale Radio Controlled by Tamiya Castrol GT-Four Group A Rally Car (ST185), and GT-Four (ST205).
  • 1/24 scale Plastic Kit Display by Tamiya GT-Four RC 1992 Safari and 1993 Monte Carlo Rally Cars (ST185), and GT-Four (ST205).
  • 1/24 scale Plastic Kit Display by Hasegawa (ST185 GT-Four RC in road car and several versions of Rally Cars).
  • 1/43 scale Diecast GT-Four (ST165, ST185, ST205) road cars and various rally cars by Trofeu.
  • 1/43 scale Diecast JDM GT-Four (ST165) road cars by DISM / Aoshima.
  • 1/43 scale Diecast GT-Four RC (ST185) 1992 Monte Carlo Rally (Repsol), and 1993 Monte Carlo Rally winner (Castrol) by IXO.
  • 1/87 scale plastic HO GT-Four (ST185) by Evrat made in France.
  • 1/43 white metal kit GT-Four (ST185, ST205) various rally cars by Racing 43 made in Italy.
  • 1/64 scale Diecast GT-Four (ST165, ST185, ST205) rally cars by CM'S.

Further reading

  • Toyota Celica 25 Years of Development and Motorsport book written by Brian Long, published in England.

External links