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Daily Driven: 1G-GE-powered TA22 Celica

28 December, 2016


Owner: Sam McGill
Location: Auckland
Occupation: Navy able marine technician (electrical)

NZPC: Hey, Sam. You don’t see many people daily driving an old-school Japanese car in this condition any more. How long have you had it, and what have you done?
Sam: Hey, guys. I bought it nearly two years ago from an old guy down in Wellington. It was a bit rough around the edges, but I’ve been bringing it back up to tidy condition, and have added the ST-model bonnet vents, grille, and oil-pressure and ammeter gauges.

Being an able marine technician in the navy and getting deployed on the ships regularly, how do you find time to work on the car?
I actually took the door cards on the ship down to Antarctica with me — the side louvres and grille went on a trip up into the islands, as well. They’re pretty good like that; I’m allowed to work on bits in my own time. I also helped build an RB30 on a ship, but that’s another story.

The wheels look period correct for the car, giving it that awesome Japanese-muscle vibe.
What are they?

They are 1970s TRD Toscos; pretty hard to come by these days. For me, they absolutely make the car, and I’m so glad that I’ve got them. People leave notes under my window wipers asking to buy them [laughs].

Rad, and we see that it’s had a bit of an engine swap with the addition of a 1G-GE and five-speed box — do you have plans for more modifications?
For sure, I love the one-and-a-half 4A-GE [1G-GE]. I’m currently in the process of buying a 4A-GE individual-throttle-body set-up from a friend and want to get a high-scroll header.

That should make for some crisp noise! It’s missing some of the modern comforts newer cars come with — have you had any issues daily driving a 42-year-old car?
Not since I’ve owned it. I took it down to Christchurch over Christmas and it loved the 2000-ish-kilometre journey. Don’t think I could ever let it go now, to be honest.

A good choice. Look after the old girl, Sam. Thanks for the yarn.

Make/Model: 1974 Toyota Celica LT (TA22)
Engine: Toyota 1G-GE, 2000cc, six-cylinder
Interior: Factory, new carpet, custom centre console
Exterior: Resprayed green-purple pearl
Wheels/tyres: 13×8-inch TRD Tosco, 205/60R13 Cooper Cobra
Suspension: Shortened shocks, compressed springs 

Becoming fond of Fords part two – happy times with Escorts

In part one of this Ford-flavoured trip down memory lane I recalled a sad and instructive episode when I learned my shortcomings as a car tuner, something that tainted my appreciation of Mk2 Ford Escort vans in particular. Prior to that I had a couple of other Ford entanglements of slightly more redeeming merit. There were two Mk1 Escorts I had got my hands on: a 1972 1300 XL belonging to my father and a later, end-of-line, English-assembled 1974 1100, which my partner and I bought from Panmure Motors Ford in Auckland in 1980. Both those cars were the high water mark of my relationship with the Ford Motor Co. I liked the Mk1 Escorts. They were nice, nippy, small cars, particularly the 1300, which handled really well, and had a very precise gearbox for the time.
Images of Jim Richards in the Carney Racing Williment-built Twin Cam Escort and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann–built Escort FVA often loomed in my imagination when I was driving these Mk1 Escorts — not that I was under any illusion of comparable driving skills, but they had to be having just as much fun as I was steering the basic versions of these projectiles.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.