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Toyota's Ultimate Celica

Ultimate fun: Toyota's stunning Ultimate Celica concept may spawn a production variant in due course.

Toyota has taken the wraps off a striking pair of Celica-based concept cars

Toyota logo24 Jan 2000

TOYOTA recently unveiled a contrasting pair of concept cars based on its all-new Celica - an elegant convertible and a radical Formula One-inspired road rocket.

Toyota claims both cars are just concepts at this stage, but it is likely they will spawn production variants in due course.

The menacing looking Ultimate Celica features an aggressive protruding nose with twin nostrils sculpted into the bonnet. Flared guards, huge wheels and a prominent rear wing complete its Jekyll/Hyde transformation.

Jointly conceived by Toyota Racing Development and US-based Rod Millen Motorsports, the Ultimate Celica is claimed to deliver 'the extreme in driving excitement'.

Styled at Toyota's California-based Calty studio, the startling concept is essentially a cross between the latest-generation Celica coupe and a race car.

"We knew from the beginning that we wanted to build a 500bhp Celica - and with that much power, we were aware it would have to be all-wheel drive," a Toyota spokesman said.

At the car's heart lies a turbocharged 2.0-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine that produces a whopping 373kW at 8000rpm and 460Nm at 5500rpm.

Relaying power to the tarmac is a sturdy five-speed transmission and high-tech four-wheel-drive system.

The bodyshell is stiffened up by a roll cage, while competition-derived Bilstein struts and springs ensure its handling is on par with its prodigious straight-line performance.

Stopping power in the 300km/h-plus machine comes from enormous All-Trac ventilated disc brakes.

Recaro racing seats and harnesses ensure occupants are similarly well tied down under the impressive cornering loads the car is capable of generating.

The somewhat more understated Celica convertible will appeal to a different audience altogether.

The absence of a roof has not compromised the Celica's sleek lines and it would, no doubt, capture a reasonable slice of the roadster segment if it were introduced in Australia.

However, Toyota may opt not to bring the chop-top Celica here as it would be competing in the same price segment as the all-new MR-2, due in October.

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