While the idea of a stylish and sporty Japanese car is normal today, in the early 1970s that position hadn't quite been cemented yet. In the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage, the denim-clad host hops behind the wheel of one of the vehicles responsible for changing that reputation – a 1971 Toyota Celica ST. This one is pristine too, thanks to coming from the brand's museum in Torrance, CA.
Despite being considered a sales success at the time, in many parts of the country these early Celicas are gone from the roads. Even Jay remarks about not seeing one for a while. It's an attractive, little coupe, though, and the lack of a B-pillar when the windows are down gives the shape an airy, lithe appearance.
Unfortunately with a Toyota engineer sitting beside him, Jay doesn't really get to open up the Celica, but this is still a great history lesson. Although, the claim that this is the automaker's first sports car seems a little dubious since the 2000GT preceded it, albeit in comparatively minuscule numbers.