The Toyota Celica Turbo ST185 was Toyota’s entry for the World Rally Championship between 1992 and 1994. It was Toyota’s most successful rally car ever, having won the WRC Driver’s Championship in 1992, and the WRC Manufacturer’s and Driver’s Championships in 1993 and 1994.
Loosely based on the Celica liftback (in itself a JDM legend), but reworked by Toyota Team Europe, the rally spec car incorporated a host of advancements to compete with the then dominant European cars. Most notable was the 2 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder good for 300 hp and 460 Nm of torque. This was combined with a four wheel drive system. The chassis was a steel monocoque with an integrated rollcage. The body was the 3 door liftback carried over from the road going car albeit beefed up for competition use. Transmission duties were handled via a 6 speed X Trac gearbox. Also, 5000 road going cars were built to comply with the FIA’s homologation regulations. These were called the GT-Four RC in Japan and the Carlos Sainz (CS) Limited Edition in Europe. The specials, though not all out racing cars, incorporated a host of changes over the regular Celicas sold to buyers.
The car seen here though is one of the Works cars and has top notch competition pedigree. This particular car was driven by Carlos Sainz in 1992 and helped him win the driver’s championship that year. It saw some action in 1993 as well but was then sold by Toyata Team Europe and has remained in collections since. It is now up for auction at Aguttes for their March 2018 sale.
The Toyota Celica Turbo ST185 was a seminal car both in terms of the World Rally Championship as well as Japanese motorsport. It was the first turbocharged AWD rally car from Japan and was able to finally challenge the European manufacturers who had been running the show this far. It also set the stage for Japanese cars like the Lancer Evo and the Impreza, which would go on to dominate this form of motorsport throughout the 90s.