Tested: 1982 Toyota Celica GT-S Highlights the Joys of Rear-Wheel Drive

From the June 1982 issue of Car and Driver.

The guys who built the new Firebird and Camaro are right. Rear-wheel drive is worth saving. That instant when the rear wheels search for traction and you correct the slide with a twitch of the steering wheel makes driving worthwhile. Front-wheel drive is for Nervous Nellies. After all, if maximum traction were the essence of greatness in automobiles, we’d all be driving Pinzgauers.

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The funny thing is, it’s a Toyota Celica that provides this realization, not a Chevy Camaro. Celicas aren’t just little-bitty Camaros anymore. They are Camaros now, in performance as well as appeal. Think of the Celica Supra as a Z28. Think of a Celica GT as a civilian Camaro. And think of this new Celica GT-S as a special-edition Camaro—a breed that Chevrolet invented but has had trouble perpetuating because of its shrinking bankroll.

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Performance is the primary objective of this Celica’s $990 S package. In fact, performance has become the primary objective of Toyota, too. Toyota reckons that performance will be what distinguishes one car manufacturer from another once they all reach fuel-economy parity. The GT-S is one part of an overall strategy that includes the Supra, a team of Celica race cars built by Dave Kent, twenty GT-S celebrity race cars, and plans for a catalog of race parts available through any Toyota dealership.

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