28th Feb2018

A Parnelli Jones Prepped Celica Can Be Yours!

by Michael Chandler

Parnelli Jones, racing legend and possibly the reason you destroyed a twelve pack of Olympia Beer that one time, did some amazing things during his career.  He damn near won the Indianapolis 500 in a turbine powered car, battled Dan Gurney in the 1970 Trans Am season to help get Ford the championship, and he started Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing and won the Indy 500 as an owner in 1970 and 71.  VPJ also won some USAC titles, and prepped some cars for some stuff.  Stuff like this Celica GT that was used for the Celebrity/Professional race at he Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the 80’s.


This 1982 Celica, as well as some others, were sent from Toyota to VPJ for modifications so as to have professional drivers like Dan Gurney, David Hobbs, and Al Unser Sr. battle on the streets of Long Beach.  The Celicas also had celebrities doing whatever it is celebrities do in these sorts of races.  Celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner, Ted Nugent, whoever the hell Robert Hays is, and the Renegade himself: Lorenzo Lamas!

Packing a 22R, probably, this beast is putting down an ad claimed 155 horsepower!  Not sure if that’s good or bad, but this thing did get strapped to a dyno to get that number.  It has a pair of Weber carbs on it, and that’s pretty choice for something like this if you ask me.  

The interior is all business, and very much so of the time.  If you want to pick this thing up and do anything beyond historic racing, you’re gonna have to do some cage work.  And probably a lot of other work too, but keep that steering wheel for sure.  

It looks to have a fire suppression system, and a fuel cell.  Two good things to have, but two things that may have to be addressed if modern racing is in your future.  

It’s still on those sweet A60 iron cross wheels, but they’ve been wrapped in Hoosier rubber.  It has a Richmond Gear 4.10 in the pumpkin, along with a Precision Gear limited slip.  It has Eibach spring and Tokico shocks in all four corners.  Might need some refreshing, but not a bad suspension setup.

After the old girl finished being used and abused at the celebrity race, it had a curious history.  See if you can spot my issues with this telling of its history

After 1985, the car spent the next two decades at the Willow Springs International Raceway as a driving school car. The car then langished in a shed until revived and refurbished in 2003 and started competitive racing again in 2004.

See my issue?  Either someone didn’t bother proof reading the ad before throwing it on Craigslist, or this car is a low key time machine.  But it is cool that it’s done some racing since being refurbished.  

If this thing tickles your fancy, and if you’re reading this then it probably does, check out the Craigslist ad.  If you feel so inclined, pick it up!  Just let us know that you did, and be prepared to have us bug you about driving it.

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