Description of Japanese GT-Fours


Manufacture of the ST165 started for the Japanese home market in October 1986. Only 2274 were produced before the mid-life update for the ST165 Celica model occurred in August 1987.

All of these early production models had a different gearbox (the E50F1) which has a pneumatic centre differential lock instead of the viscous centre diff fitted to all subsequent GT-Fours. There is a rotational switch beside the handbrake and the dash has an extremely obnoxious bright orange light instead of the boost gauge. The gearbox uses a sliding collar within the transfer to lock the front and rear diffs together. As a result the front and rear ends are effectively locked together, allowing no slip. When turned off the centre diff acts a normal open diff, hence allowing copious amounts of wheelspin at the front in wet weather.

This feature is useful if you are a ski bunny but not much use on the road. However the main advantage of these early gearboxes is the 4.285 final drive ratio (same as the MR2 Supercharger and Turbo) as opposed to the later 3.933 ratio (for US models).

The early cars (mine at least) also do not have the mandatory 180 kph speed cut (required in the Japanese market). In addition the HKS catalog does not list a Speed Cut Eliminator for this model suggesting they escaped through some type of homologation ruling??

Being pre-facelift the cars had the early taillights and different front grill. The Japanese cars did not get the full GT-Four bodykit either. They only got the front spoiler with fog lights and the fairings to blend the bumper back to the front wheels.

The cars have "GT-Four" written down the side in large letters. To make sure the competition knows what is under the bonnet they also have "2.0 TWIN CAM TURBO CHARGER FULL TIME FOUR WHEEL DRIVE" written down the side. Useful if you forget...

The '86 and '87 also don't have a MAP sensor or boost gauge. I assume the fuel cut is based on mass flow through the AFM. No cars were fitted with EGR and they had only the primary catalytic converter. A 2-1/2" pipe leads to two mufflers.

ABS was not available for any ST165 in Japan. I believe the only options were sunroof and cruise control (which all cars were prewired for). All cars came with a half leather interior with cord fabric on door panels and the centre parts of the seats. You could get any colour as long as it was dull grey.

While the Celica GTR came in many colours the GT-Four only came in metallic grey, white, black and red.

After the facelift the car is much the same as the export model, although the options and colour choice was the same as the early one. The facelift gave new taillights and front grill along with redesigned indicator stalks. The rear wiper now parked vertical, electric folding mirrors were implemented and there were different 14" wheels. Twin pot front callipers were fitted instead of the single pot callipers on the '86 and '87.

About the only other change was the fitment of a gearbox oil cooler from May 1988. All ST165s have ducting and mounting points for it (and some say Toyota had not planned to rally the car when they designed it... yeah right!).

The last month of production was August 1989. Somewhere in the vicinity of 6500 were made for Japan.


Power: 185 ps (about 181 bhp) @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 240.5 Nm @ 3000 rpm

This picture quotes 10 km/l, which has to be a evil joke!?

Note the engine has no AC pump, almost unknown in the Japanese market. Pictured is the 86-87 engine.


Japanese production started in September 1989.

While there was only one ST165 model available there are lots of different ST185 models. There was the standard GT-Four with 14" wheels (and smaller disks with two pot calipers) and the narrow body. There was the GT-Four A with the wide body and 15" wheels, along with full leather and CD changer. The Rally Champ model (called Carlos Sainz or Group A Rallye for export), 5000 of which were manufactured from August 1991 to February 1992, had the different intercooler and bonnet arrangement. There was also a stripped out version (Japan only) with wind up windows, different gear ratios, no AC and minimal options called the GT-Four Rally.

All the Japanese models produced 225 ps, a result of more aggressive ignition advance, ceramic turbine and 100 Octane fuel. The RC model produced 235 ps.


As far as I know the Japanese model is much the same as the export model?? One difference is the lack of an airbag on early Japanese cars. The Japanese cars also have no headlight washers and have climate AC, whereas the export cars just have manual AC.   The Japanese cars have ceramic CT20B turbos,  the export models normal metallic models.

There is variation between the first 2500 (the Group A model) and the later cars (although I've seen genuine Group A models with chassis numbers as high as 3200). The Group A models have the extra height rear wing, water spray parts for the intercooler, and a BOV arrangement which differs on the Group A cars due to the standard anti-lag. This involves a second valve to direct vented air (from BOV hosing) into the exhaust manifold before the turbo. While the parts were installed (for homologation) the system is non-operational on street cars. They also have an additional heatshield between the intercooler and turbo manifold, which is laughably pitiful.

The Group A was called WRC in Japan.  Many standard ST205s have been fitted with the rear wing extensions,  however only the WRC had the small spoiler at the aft edge of the bonnet (all export models had this though).

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