What to look for when buying an All Trac Celica

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What to look for when buying an All Trac Celica

Postby SupraRacer » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:00 am

Hello, im mostly a supra guy. i know them backwards and forwards. Call me old fashion but my dream car is an ST165 All Trac. and well one fell into my lap today. Id like to just make a referance for other people new to all tracs, to be aware of. And yes i searched.

The car i found is a 1988 Black with grey cloth int.
It has 119K
The guy who has it is older (late 50's) and has a large collection of cars. He happened upon this 88' 8 years ago with a blown motor. and he had the motor rebuilt. The car mostly has sat in his 6 car Garage since. hes only put 7K miles on it.

The car has never seen winter.
has no dents or dings
the paint is easily buffed to new(oxidation)
there is NO RUST (had the car on a lift)
the bumper has a few rock pits, and the fogs are perfect.
int. just needs to be cleaned, but i want a black int anyway.
the motor has a slight oil leak between the tranny, couldnt see where from
the rear diff is covered in oil
The entire exhaust needs replacing(No problem :D )
it drove right, braked right, sounds strong, idles smooth
we just installed 4 brand new tires

Now the car needs basic clean up, and maintence, it looks rougher than it is. He told me to offer him a fair price and i can have it. I dont want to low ball him, but it will cost me $1000+ to make the car perfect. Plus we had alot in common, We both drive mk3 supras, we both have the same taste, and ideals when it comes to cars. so im sure he'll give me a break on the price a bit. He said that the car isnt for sale, but if the right guy came along for the right price, hed sell it. and he told me im more than welcome to it.

So what should i look for on this car? what is notorious for going bad. I heard about overheating problems, i know a friend who can custom build me an aluminum rad. would that help? Im not looking for a race car, just a comfortable, peppy, car that gets decent mpg, and doesnt blend in. Not to mention this is my dream car. if i had to make the choice, id drive this over any other car.

Also what is a good price to offer? thank you.
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Postby jprine01 » Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:03 pm

First off welcome
Car sounds great you are lucky man. Fair price? I dont know how the engine was built but I think 4k or up would be fair price. No rust and unmodded is hard to come by. They are rare to begin with.

So what should i look for on this car? what is notorious for going bad. I heard about overheating problems, i know a friend who can custom build me an aluminum rad. would that help? Im not looking for a race car, just a comfortable, peppy, car that gets decent mpg, and doesnt blend in. Not to mention this is my dream car. if i had to make the choice, id drive this over any other car.

Common things that need replacing are the rear diff bushing (you would hear clunking when you drive it rough), the bushings, struts, wheel bearings (they go allot faster on this car then most). Pretty much anything rubber. (Including the oil seals and gaskets on the engine)
These cars dont really have cooling problems, stock radiator is fine for allot of HP. Problem is allot of junk clogs the radiator if it hasnt been flushed properly. You can just get it cleaned, or make a nice aluminum one if you want.
As far as "car that gets decent mpg" your supra will get better fuel mileage then the celica, i know i've had both. The awd is a big gas guzzler. But it does drive amazing. The supra drives so nice 120mph+ like it was made for it. Well the celica is the opposite, it was made to start from a stop, turn at low speeds or drive on a slippery surface (rain/gravel/dirt)... And it does it like nothing else. When its stock it is pretty understeer prone though, so you need practice to get it to do what you want.
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Postby SupraRacer » Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:14 am

Great, exactly what i was looking for.

I talked to him more today, and he is very proud of his car, lol. he is asking way too much for it. He is looking to get out of it what he put in. Although the car has low miles for the year, and is rough around the edges, but can be revived, there are more problems than i originally thought. The motor is smoking a bit. and leaking oil. all the belts, hoses, thermostat, plugs and wires all need to be replaced. The transmission and diff fluid have never been changed. The Dp is virtually gone and needs replacing, the cat and catback are on their last legs also. Basically the car needs $1000+ to get back to reliable running shape. with me doing all the work, this is just discounted parts cost. Plus the hours needed in TLC to get the car back to showroom cond.

Kelley Blue Book says the car is worth $1,975. NADA.com says high retail is ~$2800, with nearly $1000 worth of maintenece, and a possibly blown rear main seal. I couldnt possibly see paying more than $2500 for the car. He wants nearly double that, as is. :shock: I asked him to do some research on what other cars are going for, and what it costs for replacment parts. and then we would talk more about the price. Am I in the wrong here, is it worth more than i suspect? I mean the car has sat 10mths out of the year for 8+years.

I agree that spending $4,000 to have a mint cond. properly running, low mileage ST165 is about right. but this car needs alot of work to get there.

also i get ~17/23mpg in my 1j, and babying it would be putting it nicely. im thinking a 4cyl, with a ct26 that would start to spool ~2800-3K i could get a bit more gas mileage than my 2200-2400rpm 1j.

EDIT: Also how tough are the trannies? im not going to be doing 7K dumps on DR's, but how sturdy are they?
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Postby All4Traction » Wed Sep 28, 2005 12:24 am

The trannies are strong themselves, the only weaker point is the syncro's.
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Postby jprine01 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 2:48 pm

There is people getting 20mpg or less in these cars, but it depends allot on how well it runs. I might get 24mpg in mine being on the highway most of the time. I expect to get more once I have my aftermarket ECU going.

Kelley Blue Book says the car is worth $1,975. NADA.com says high retail is ~$2800


You will not find a babyed car for this, blue book is way off when it comes to these cars. I would expect a mint st165 to go for 6k (low miles perfect body and interior, no rust, original engine but hoses and gaskets replaced)

Not saying you should jump into it if you dont think its the right car for you though. Maybe check out some other st165's around your city and compaire condition & cost.

I bought my car for 4k talked him down from 5, worse condition then what your describing for sure. But its a st185. That was a year ago and since then i've dumped 12k+ into it (not including the price of the car)

Since there is never many around you can always wait to find that perfect one and get it shipped to you. Or fly out there to look at it and drive it home.
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Postby ChrisD » Wed Sep 28, 2005 8:47 pm

Blue book does not apply to these cars. Period.
1988 ST165
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Postby GT4times2 » Wed Sep 28, 2005 9:11 pm

chris_dittrick wrote:Blue book does not apply to these cars. Period.


True. However, I think he asking a bit much for that car. Did you take pics?
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Postby SupraRacer » Thu Sep 29, 2005 1:13 am

I have a few pics on my camera phone, but its nothing for quality.

Just picture a stright body, with solid black slightly faded paint. there is a small quarter sized rust bubble by the rear quarter panel infront of the rear tire at the seam, the front bumper by the front wheel needs to be reattached,and is sticking out 2". the int is faded grey and has stains on the carpet,and it looks like its never been cleaned. the engine seems to run fine, i did not get to boost in it. The turbo is original(120K) the exhaust is very loud. the engine/rear diff are leaking. and then just normal problems associated with sitting and age, Hard cracked hoses, belts, etc. I realize kbb doesnt account for rareity. and its what people will pay, with this description, what would you pay??

Id love to have the car, and it would look amazing when i get done with it, but the motor may be on its way out, plus over $1000 worth of employee discounted parts to have it running reliably, and it needs hours upon hours of work to get clean. if i wasnt as capable with cars, and had to pay someone to do it. it would cost a fortune, $2500-3K to rebuild the motor, $300 to have the car detailed, then the $1200 in replacement parts, couple hundred to rebuild the diff, tranny flushes, alignments, rebuilding the brakes. You would have to put 5-6K into the car to make it worth 5-6K. Im fully capable of doing all the things above, luckily, and am not unwilling to have 4-5K invested in the car to make it look and run better than new.. but 5K just to have the oportunity to make it that nice?? no way.
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Postby db » Thu Sep 29, 2005 3:05 pm

I don't blame you. There are ST165s that come up on ebay, autotrader, and here often enough for more reasonable prices, usually with very little wrong with them.

I'd have bowed out of that picture too.
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Postby TomsGT4 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 1:42 pm

Not sure, but I think AT prices haven't fallen any further in past couple of years.
Probably due to their rarity.
I wouldn't be surprised if the price of a well maintained All-Trac starts to increase.
:)

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Postby db » Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:57 pm

Old topic. Basically, the guy was interested in buying an overpriced 165 with a lot of work. Wasn't worth it.
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Postby Refyused » Fri Nov 25, 2005 4:02 am

Old topic but I felt a reply was in order :)

When I bought mine it was in perfect running order, paint and interior were flawless, everything was redone and everything was taken special care of. The engine had been replaced with an engine from an All-Trac donor car with 110k on it, but the engine now has 160k and still runs pretty solid.

Bluebook said $2200 tops, but I realized these cars werei n pretty high demand and that if I wanted the car I would have to offer more than the others, so I did. I ended up paying $7250 for the car and I don't regret it, every penny was well spent. The guy put countless hours of work into it, he was ALSO an older guy who wanted what he'd put into it back.

Anyway, I recommend (if you're still talking to the guy) offering him $4000 to $6000, depending on how many dollars worth of repairs you'd have to do and how well it runs. I'm getting around 30/35mpg in mine when I go easy on it, which is most of the time. The only time I really get on it is when some jackass in his gay little Honda Civic thinks he can keep up in a race :)

The bottom line is, if it's your dream car, you'll be happy spending a little extra money on such a rare, high demand car, especially after you get it back to perfect.. I'm STILL happy with what I paid for mine, 2 years later. Anyway, hope this helps..

EDIT: I might also add that people have offered to buy my car for as low as $3,000 (HAHA!) to as high as $10,000 (I was offered this 3 months ago, and if I'd bought it as an investment I'd have sold it for this).. I've rejected all offers, because my baby is not for sale :)
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Postby 88st165 » Fri Nov 25, 2005 4:40 am

wow that is alot of money for the car but it does look like its perfect from that one pic.... your car is what id like mine to look like when its done... when my car got wrecked the insurance appraised it for $4300 when the blue book was around $2000....
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Postby Refyused » Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:28 am

What insurance company do you use? It sounds to me like they were willing to admit that it was a rare car and there's some added value due to that. Obviously not Allstate :P
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Postby 88st165 » Sat Nov 26, 2005 12:04 am

state farm... yeah i was suprised too... plus my car only has 43,xxx miles on it so maybe they took that into consideration lucky for me....
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