The 1976 Celica

In 1976, Mr. Joseph “Joe” Trentacosta  bought a brand new Toyota Celica at a local San Diego Toyota dealership. Now, 36 years later, we have the pleasure of displaying Joe’s 1976 Celica for everyone to see in our showroom here at Toyota of El Cajon.
Before Joe bought the Celica he owned a ’69 Corona which he drove for three years and then a ’73 Buick which unfortunately got flooded in a storm on a cross-country road trip. So when Joe came into the Toyota dealership in 1976 to buy a Corolla for his ex-wife he decided to also treat himself to a new car and traded in his Corona and Buick for the new ’76 Celica.

For the first year-and-a-half Joe never had to bring the Celica back to the dealership except for oil changes and the car still runs and is in perfect condition with over 230,100 miles on it. It has never broken down, still has its original engine, and apart from the transmission and brakes being replaced, nothing has been added or changed from the time Joe bought it in 1976. The transmission was replaced in 1985, when he dropped the 5th gear and bought another transmission from Toyota, and the breaks were switched out by of one of Joe’s friends. To make sure that his car stayed in top condition, Joe took the Celica back to Toyota for maintenance, changed oil every 1500 miles, and polished and cleaned the car, inside and out, after every time he drove it.

“Nothing has been added, nothing has been changed. As many times I’ve had people tell me to upgrade this and upgrade that, I just kept it the way it was when it came from the factory as much as I can.”

One of the most memorable trips Joe made in his Celica was  when driving to Las Vegas in the 1990’s. On the way over the mountain ridges it started snowing and all the cars around him started to pull over. Even though the Celica had never been driven in snow before Joe kept driving and the car just went right through, as if nothing had changed.
After Joe decided to display his car here at Toyota of El Cajon, the car has gotten much attention from other customers and when we mentioned this to Joe he was very surprised.

“Out of the 36 years I have had this car, I have only noticed one guy really showing that they liked my car once. It was when I was going to the store and the guy in the car next to me honked his horn and showed me a “thumbs-up”. That’s the first time anybody ever did that. So I knew that some people might like it when I drove by, but I did not know it was that popular.”

So, if you have not yet had the pleasure to see this magnificent 1976 Celica with your own eyes, just come on down to Toyota of El Cajon and take look.
For more photos check out our Facebook Album!

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