Bringing back a once loved model from the dead is easier said than done and not many companies could pull it off. Heck, the Nissan GT-R is one of those cars that is cool now but the purists weren’t too keen on it back it 2007. Even Toyota struggled to keep the fans happy with the Supra and the GT86. The GT86 was deemed too slow and the Supra is [insert BMW joke here].
However, Toyota is possibly taking another shot at reviving the dead Celica. See, the Celica has taken a rather hard life with questionable paths. Started off in life as a rear-wheel drive, with a body that fairly mimics the American muscle. Then, it took a twist with front-wheel drive and was also offered in a turbocharged AWD variant. For the last Celica which came out in 1999 and was sold until 2006, it was only offered in front-wheel drive.
Resurrected from the dead.
Well yes, but no. Toyota has recently filed the trademark in mid January 2021 according to CarBuzz. Despite the trademark filed is for the Celica name, it was filed for “Automobiles and structural parts thereof.” Though, no reports of a design patented recently under the trademark was made. Some are rather speculating that the name might suggest a rebrand of the latest Subaru BRZ’s ‘brother from another mother’, the Toyota GT86.
This speculation arised as Toyota recently patented the bumper design for their version of the new BRZ. Furthermore, Toyota only patented the front bumper design without the rest of the car. This is likely the only part of the car that is Toyota’s own as most of it will still look like the badge-engineered BRZ. The new GT86 is slated to be unveiled later this year.
The GT86 was supposed to be the Celica.
In North America, the Toyota GT86 was marketed under the Scion brand with the FR-S nameplate. See, if Toyota named the FR-S as Celica for the Scion, it will not fit for the brand as they’re a relatively young brand. Now as Scion is defunct, it was good that Toyota didn’t giveaway the name to Scion as it might have died once again with the company. A Toyota spokesperson commented that the Celica needed to be a product on it’s own.
“The 86 was not called the Celica because that nameplate needed to be a new product and there wasn’t much enthusiasm for it.”. There was also talk of using the Celica name on the base Supra 2.0-litre before that model debuted. However, Toyota felt that it would cause confusion with customers.
Continue a legacy or an attempt at rebadging?
It would be rather sad if Toyota decided to milk the Celica name in an attempt to rebadge the GT86 (or most likely GR86) for certain markets. But hey, if they do attempt at bringing that name back to life with an all-new model, we wouldn’t be surprised if it will be marketed under the Gazoo Racing (GR) brand with the Supra 2.0-litre engine and all-wheel drive GT-FOUR system from the GR Yaris.
Written by | Danial Malek