Toyota Celica 2.0 GT Ex-Martin Brundle
ADVERT ID: 44434
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Toyota Celica 2.0 GT Ex-Martin Brundle – Having recently completed a nine-year ongoing restoration, this competitive, ex-Martin Brundle FIA HTP Group 1 competition Celica is ready to race again.
The 1978 Toyota Celica 2.0GT Liftback, otherwise known as the RA40, was a popular sports coupé that gained a good reputation for its agility, reliability, and competitive performance on the road and in various factions of motorsport. It was the car of choice for many parties due to its lightweight and nimble design making it well-suited for racing and rallying. While its 2.0-litre DOHC engine was certainly not the most powerful engine on the grid, it provided more than sufficient performance for success on the track.
The car presented here is very special with racing celebrity ownership in the form of the Brundle family. VVG 1S was originally registered to John Brundle Motors Ltd. in Kings Lynn on 10th May 1978, initially being used as a showroom demonstrator before being sold in April 1979. In August 1980, the car was bought back by Brundle Motors Ltd. and converted for production saloon car racing with the help of Kevin Gutteridge and Arthur Coleman, who remain close friends to the Brundle family to this day. The Celica competed in and won the Commanders Cup at the 24-hour Willhire races in 1980/81, with Martin, John, and Robin Brundle racing it.
Following the Brundle successes, the car changed hands a few times in the racing world, always staying as a competition car, participating in various racing events with notable success in the Slick 50 Road Saloon Championship. In new ownership in the late-1990s, it was used in classic Group 1 Touring cars before being sold back to one of its original period owners in 2007, who still owns the car to this day. Full restoration work began in 2014 with the aim of meeting the stringent FIA Group 1 homologation standards, gaining its Historical Technical Passport (HTP), and ultimately obtaining an invitation to race at the Goodwood Members Meeting.
The restoration was thorough and impressive to say the least. Without exaggeration, every single nut and bolt on the car has either been used or replaced in this endeavour, and thankfully the process was extensively documented with photographs, invoices and very detailed chronological summary sheets describing all the works. It is truly extraordinary to read. Whilst restoring the car, close attention was paid to preserving its racing history and patina where possible, made achievable by bare metal respraying the car to its original metallic black colour, keeping period repairs as part of the car, and using its original chrome trim, bumpers, and badges.
Mechanically the engine has been fully rebuilt, forged, uprated and dyno tested by DTW Engines in Essex (£4,289) and is now producing 176bhp with the potential for more power with the supplied tubular exhaust manifold. The engine features a Lumenition electronic setup, high compression pistons, new bearings, F3-type valves, and a modified oil PRV. The fuel system has been refurbished, including the original fuel tank filled with FIA foam inserts, a new high-pressure electronic Facet fuel pump, braided pipe work, and a rebuilt Mikuni twin Solex carburettor setup.
Regarding the running gear, the rear axle was stripped down to its casing, painted, and fitted with a Panhard-rod setup,the original LSD was inspected and found to be within Toyota service specifications and the gearbox is an original GT-specification P51 5-speed with a hydraulic clutch setup and Willwood competition brake fluid. The brake system has been fully refurbished, and the suspension features modified and uprated front and rear dampers, custom springs, and uprated Whiteline competition bushings. The steering box was refurbished, the front hubs were stripped, vapour blasted, and painted and the steering components have been replaced with new ball joints, knuckles, and steering joints.
The interior features the original dashboard, GT fascia, OE gauges, and racing Mountney steering wheel. Safety additions include a new Cobra historic FIA racing seat, TRS 6-point harness, and FIA fire extinguisher system. The original interior components like the passenger seat, rear seat, full carpets, plastics, and door cards are included with the car.
Although built to the FIA Group 1 regulations of that era, it has essentially been built to two specifications: 1. FIA Group 1 Specification for HTP purposes. 2. Superior ‘Group 1.5’ specification, making it more competitive for the Goodwood Member’s Meeting. This mainly consists of dampers and interior, and it will be sold in the latter spec, with the HTP Group 1 Specification being supplied in the sale as a removable “kit”, of sorts. The trick suspension has been fitted – specifically the internally spherical jointed rear arms – along with additions that adhere to Goodwood’s rules and regulations but will also make it competitive at the Member’s Meeting. This is very much the original car, with all the correct provenance.
The history file is remarkable and truly paints a picture of where this car has been, what it has done and in who’s hands, with cuttings and features from race wins, as well as the hugely significant number of invoices and paperwork relating to the restoration.
This Celica seems to tick all the right boxes. It has been expertly restored, and its original features, modifications, and racing history have been preserved to create a high-quality refurbished version, ready to race again with current FIA HTP papers in Group 1 Specification. As a competition car it is special, and it is competitive. Add to that being owned and raced by Martin Brundle, one of the most well known and loved names in the Formula 1 world today, this could be a worthwhile and sensible way into competitive historic racing.
RACE RETRO COMPETITION CAR SALE 2024
Entries are now invited our first sale of 2024 on Saturday 24th February at Race Retro, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Entries close on 24th January. Race Retro brings together over 24,000 fans, drivers and enthusiasts at the start of the competition car calendar for a weekend of all things motorsport. As the shows official auction partner for the 12th year, we are now inviting entries for what promises to be a magnificent, dedicated sale of Classic and Competition Cars. Discounted tickets for the show are available using the code ICONICAUC.