Abandoned In Japan: The Schnitzer Group 5 Celica

August 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Classic JDM Cars, Latest Articles, Odd Spot

If there’s a JDM race car’s history with a bigger hole in it than Trust’s Schnitzer Celica LB Turbo, I’d like to know what it is! Essentially we have a car that we know how it ended up, but no idea how it got there. 

schnitzer_toyota_celica_lb_turbo
The Schnitzer Toyota Celica LB Turbo in 1977.


I won’t go into too much detail about the life and times of the Schnitzer Group 5 Celica while in Europe, Simon Mallet and Rod Chong from Speedhunters have covered its racing history quite well already. The question we want to address is, “What happened to the Schnitzer Celica that made it to Japan?”

The Tom's Group 5 Celica Turbo in 1979 with revised front aero.

The Tom's Group 5 Celica Turbo in 1979 with revised front aero.

Trust's Super Silhouette Celica Turbo at Tsukuba Circuit in 1982.

Trust's Super Silhouette Celica Turbo at Tsukuba Circuit in 1982.

Apparently one of the Schnitzer Celicas was bought to Japan in 1979 by TOM’S which had its front aero revised and raced in the Fuji Super Silhouette Series (opener to the Fuji Grand Championship races). Then in 1982, TRUST Japan took ownership and reverted the front aero back to the original Schnitzer version for that year’s super silhouette races. For the 1983 season TRUST fielded its new Porsche 956 in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) series and retired the Schnitzer Celica when the super silhouette series gradually died and was abandoned in 1984. This is where the story gets a little hazy. At some point after 1983, the TRUST Celica LB Turbo disappeared and as far as we can tell, never saw the race track again. So where did it end up? Here:

"Where's the dog, Mike?" "I think he's in the Celica out back, sweetheart."

"Where's the dog, Mike?" "I think he's in the Celica out back, honey."

One of the more famous "junk cars" we've seen.

One of the more famous "junk cars" we've seen.

It’s probably the saddest of all the “junk cars” [1] [2] in Japan. To think that at one point in its past this car was circling race tracks in Europe in just mind blowing. It’s also strange that – as far as we know - TRUST hasn’t bothered to track the Schnitzer down, or why the current owner (assuming TRUST sold it) has to left it to rot outside next to a pile of junk. In both instances it could be a simple case of a lack of funds or time and I’m quite sure that this car has a greater meaning to some people and not others. Still, it’s not the type of car you’d expect to be abandoned somewhere.

The pictures of the TRUST sponsored Schnitzer above are quite old, I don’t have any information on the location or when exactly the photos were taken so the car could very well be in better shape than is shown. The information here is incomplete so if anyone out there has any more photos or information on this car and its life in Japan, please drop us a line.

Words: Justin Karow
Images: sawacchiな日常, Trust Japan, Dan Yasunaga

  • celica-xx

    Your kidding me! This is either a joke or someone has mental problems. Even an A20 in the garbage like that would be pretty unfortunate, but this is a race car with real history.

    Btw, it’s posts like this that make 7tune rock. More weird JDM stories please :)

  • http://www.7tune.com Justin Karow

    celica-xx: Thanks, I’m still gathering info (awaiting a reply from Trust) so we might be able to get a better idea of what happened soon.

    Sorry for the quality of the photos, until I get a copy of the magazine that was scanned that’s the best circuit shot of the Trust Celica I could find.

  • Stingray

    Man, that’s sad, I wish that was my backyard, what’s with the silver car in the left of the pic, is that a Celcica or what?

  • Stingray

    Celica* We should get an edit button or something.

  • dorichan

    omg thats just unbelievable. why do japanese do things like this ? i would rather just sell it than leave it there to rust ! look at the roof :o

  • http://www.7tune.com Justin Karow

    Stingray: Looks like a Z32 Fairlady Z/300ZX

    dorichan: You’ll find the answer here: http://www.7tune.com/japanese-junk-cars/ although why a well known racing car is left there to die I don’t know.

  • importpunch

    This is sad, but I wonder how it’ll feel sitting in a museum doing nothing too.

  • Stingray

    Well, I bet that every car would prefer to be in a museum ,in good condition, where people can look at it, admire it and take pics of it then to rust in a backyard.

  • LonePhantom

    That is such a shame. Such an awesome car with a great racing heritage. They certainly gave it to the higher classed cars.

    These cars also raced at Bathhurst. My Dad had a remote control model of one that cost him like $400AUD back when he was 18. Chewed through batteries like nothing else, but damn it was a fast car.

  • gouki

    How could they do that?

  • http://www.7tune.com Justin Karow

    Stephen (LonePhantom): I searched for A20 Celicas at Bathurst but only came up with Peter Williamson’s A40 Celica hardtop from about 1978 onwards… are you sure the A20 “Mustang” Celicas were at Bathurst?

  • Will

    That is one very sad site to see!

  • Judas

    This is why we can’t have nice things. I know Nissan and BMW M1 super silhouette’s are still around, but I wonder how many more have been left to naturally recycle like this…

    Astounding how available & many different die-cast models etc. there are of this and it’s just left to rot. Maybe one day it’ll pop up in a ‘barnfind’ thread. Seems a lot of peoples trash in Japan would be our treasures.

  • James Lenton

    Way back when, I my brother had the 1/24 scale Tamiya model of that blue Celica, and I a red (?) one also. Memories…..

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