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1979 Toyota Celica GT RA40 Group 4 Ex-Works WRC Rally Car - Ex-Björn Waldegård

Lot Number: 316

1979 Toyota Celica GT RA40 Group 4 Ex-Works WRC Rally Car - Ex-Björn Waldegård

One of the last surviving WRC Toyota Team Europe (TTE) Celica RA40, highly original, sympathetically restored and offered to market for the first time in over 30 years.

  • Sold for: £135,000

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Friday 25th August, 2023 at 1.00pm BST at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN

  • Body Colour

    BODY COLOUR
    Red and White Works TTE colours

  • Drive

    DRIVE
    LHD

  • Registration Number

    REG NUMBER
    BPA 857Y

  • Odometer Reading

    ODOMETER READING
    12863 Miles

SUMMARY

One of the last surviving WRC Toyota Team Europe (TTE) Celica RA40, highly original, sympathetically restored and offered to market for the first time in over 30 years.

DESCRIPTION

Excitingly for rally enthusiasts, Toyota made their return to the FIA World Rally Championships in 2017, overseen by rally superstar Tommi Mäkinen as team principal. The WRC began in 1973, unifying numerous rally events held independently around the world into a single series to create a world championship. Toyota have competed in the WRC from the very beginning, having a long and illustrious history winning four drivers’ and three manufacturers’ championships.

The origins of Toyota’s involvement in rallying dates to the late 1950s with involvement in the Round Australia Trial, then competitively at the Monte Carlo Rally, and with much success following in the South African National Rally Championship.

The sporty new Celica range was introduced in the early 1970s, with Swedish driver Ove Andersson chosen to compete in a Japanese-prepared 1600GTV (TA22) at the 1972 RAC Rally in Europe, finishing a respectable ninth place. At this point, Toyota established a more formal team – Toyota Team Andersson. The team consisted of only four mechanics, and was initially run from Andersson’s home in Sweden, before moving to a more central headquarters in Belgium after the prospect of an ongoing programme of international rallying events arose. This is where the official name, Toyota Team Europe (TTE), was adopted in 1975 (now known as Toyota Motorsport GmbH).

With the start of the WRC in 1973, a long debate started about the most suitable Toyota model to use in this competition. The team in Belgium knew that the Corolla possessed superior speed and handling abilities (with Canadian Walter Bruce in 1973 driving such an example to the first ever WRC victory for Toyota in the American POR Rally), though the Toyota Celica conveyed the desired sporting image.

The 'Corolla vs Celica' debate continued throughout 1976, with TTE continuing to run the Corolla and Celica alongside each other, deciding which vehicle to race based on the nature of the event it would compete in. The Celica proved itself the more competitive machine, and by 1977 the Corolla was phased out and only used occasionally. For the rest of the 1970s, throughout the 1980s (from 1983 to 1986, the Group B Celica Twin Cam Turbo TA64 won all six WRC events in Africa they entered) and onward (after the demise of Group B, the Celica GT-Four competed in Group A rallying racing from 1988 to 1997), the Celica firmly established its rallying prowess. In Group A, the car won two manufacturer's titles and four driver's titles; Carlos Sainz was its most successful driver, winning WRC titles with the ST165 in 1990 and the ST185 in 1992. The ST185 also won the 1993 and 1994 titles with Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol respectively. The ST185's fourth consecutive Safari Rally victory came in 1995, which was also Toyota's eighth victory in this event. The Celica pedigree as a rallying machine is undeniable.

We are privileged to be able to offer for sale one the very last surviving ex-Toyota Team Europe 1979 Toyota Celica GT RA40 Group 4 WRC rally car, the actual example driven by Björn Waldegård, the WRC’s first drivers’ champion, on the 1980 Lombard RAC Rally. This car is thought to be one of just a handful of such examples built and campaigned by Toyota for only a six-month period or so whilst competing in the WRC. This car, chassis #TA40000100666, as the last of its kind has, in recent times, inspired the creation of a faithful well-respected replica example, which is very well-known to the historic rallying fraternity, and is regularly campaigned and seen at such places as the Goodwood Speed Week.

The original works car was built by Toyota Team Europe (TTE) in Cologne and first registered in Germany, bearing assigned ‘K-AE 3460’. The car’s international rallying career began in May 1980 at the WRC Acropolis International Rally, with Andersson Ove and Liddon Henry finishing sixth overall. The car was then used in August 1980 by Tapio Rainio and Erkki Nyman on the WRC 1000 Lakes International Rally in Finland to finish 7th overall.

The car’s next outing in November 1980 saw the, then, reigning World Rally Champion, Björn Waldegård, drive it in the WRC Lombard RAC International Rally of Great Britain accompanied by Hans Thorszelius. A competitive drive saw them leading until their retirement in the Grizedale stage, and records show that they set fastest time on four of the 70 special stages.

In early February 1981, the motoring press announced (see attached article) that Toyota GB would be opening their own motorsport programme, based in their new competition department and preparation workshop in South London. They announced that they would enter Per Eklund in the full Group 4 Celica in all rounds of the Open Championship. The article went on to further confirm that the car to be used throughout the season was the same car that Björn Waldegård had used on the previous year’s RAC Rally. Initially, #TA40000100666 was assigned the UK-registration ‘FYY 48W’ and competed in the 1981 Mintex International Rally driven by Per Eklund with Spjuth Ragnar, who were third overall but were dropped down to 11th overall due to penalties awarded by the organisers.

The car was subsequently assigned the Guernsey registration ‘G-23484’ and competed in the following events (in addition to the 1981 Rally Sprint): 1981 Circuit of Ireland International Rally (Per Eklund/Frank Main) to sixth overall, 1981 West Park International Welsh Rally (Per Eklund/Frank Main) Retired, 1981 Lombard Scottish International Rally (Per Eklund/Frank Main) to ninth overall, 1981 Rothmans Manx International Rally (Per Eklund/Frank Main) Retired, and Pace Petroleum National Rally (Per Eklund/Frank Main) to sixth overall.

In November 1981, the car was advertised in Autosport (see attached) by Toyota (GB) Limited, the advert confirming that Per Eklund had used it during that season and that Björn Waldegård had also used it at the end of the previous season. The car was offered for sale without its engine. Because the new-shape Celica was not available at the start of 1982, #TA40000100666 was pressed into service one more time in the February 1982 Mintex International Rally, crewed by Per Ekland and Dave Whitlock, but retired early. In 1983, according to the vehicle registration organisation in Guernsey, #TA40000100666 was removed from their register and subsequently reassigned the aged-related UK-registration ‘BPA 857Y’ which it has retained for the last 40-years.

Our vendor purchased #TA40000100666 over 30-years ago and has lovingly maintained it, preserving its original body panels/components and curating its history file. Considering the international events it competed in, it maintains most of its original features, including its bodyshell. Despite competing on some of the roughest events of its time, such as the Acropolis and Scottish rallies, it remained solid with only a little TLC required. Over a period, it has been sensitively restored. Over the past ten years or so, #TA40000100666 has been used for non-competitive demonstration events, such as the Donington Park Historic Festival, Rally of the Midlands, Oulton Park Gold Cup, Lombard Bath, Mintex Rally Yorkshire and Rally Day.

The engine fitted is a lightened and balanced, 18RG in-line, four-cylinder unit with twin overhead camshafts with fully adjustable pullies, competition pistons, polished rods and a gas-flowed head. It's fitted with twin 45 Webers, a  custom exhaust manifold, a bespoke six-paddle clutch and a heavy-duty starter motor/alternator etc. Previous rolling-road printouts show approx.193bhp. 

The car is accompanied by a photo album relating to period rally events and vehicle restoration and also included is a letter from TTE relating to the history of #TA40000100666 whilst managed by them, plus an extensive history file including bills for work carried out.

The following used items will come with the vehicle:

  • 5x 7x15 original works magnesium Minilite wheels (with tyres gravel)
  • 2x 7x15 new and unused original Minilite (alloy) wheels
  • 4x 7/8x15 original works/Toyota GB BBS alloy wheels
  • Original 1980 Marston bag tank
  • All original panels including doors, bonnet, boot lid and front wings from when car was last used by Per Eklund/David Whittock (Toyota GB) in the 1982 Mintex International Rally; all with original sign writing
  • Original Works Steering box and idler arm
  • Original Works quick lift jack and handle
  • Original fuel filler with Monza cap
  • Original wheel arch protectors
  • Original world cup engine brackets and standard engine crossmembers
  • Original Magnesium Bilstein rear suspension units
  • Variety of anti-roll bars
  • Range of works related suspension springs
  • Numerous strut inserts and half shafts
  • Numerous Group 4 front lower arms, suspension strut bars and mountings
  • Numerous new knuckle arms
  • Numerous rear Group 4 hubs
  • Pair rear light clusters
  • Box of misc. bodywork, electrical, suspension items

SPECIFICATION

Lot Number
316
Make
TOYOTA
Model
CELICA TA40
Variant
Coupe
Registration Number
BPA 857Y
Chassis Number
TA40000100666
Engine Number
18R9606664
Transmission
Manual
Body Colour
Red and White Works TTE colours

CONSIGNOR

Consignor

For further information regarding this lot please contact Joseph.

CONTACT

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SEE IT IN ACTION

SEE IT IN ACTION

All cars must be removed from the venue between 9am and 2pm on Monday 28th August. Full payment must be received before any item is available to be released.

Our transport partner EM Rogers can assist with collection and delivery. Please contact them on +44 (0) 1604 755 511 or trafficdesk@emrogers.co.uk for a quote.

Any cars not collected by 2pm on Monday 28th August will be taken to EM Rogers storage facility in Northampton for a fee of £175 plus VAT. Storage will be charged at £10 plus VAT per day from the Monday onwards.

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