1985 Toyota Celia GT-S transmission

I have a 1985 Toyota Celia GT-S with about 115,000 miles on it now. It has been my car since 1985. I really like it, but I would now prefer an automatic transmission. Is this possible?

My “original” clutch gave me no problems. When I had to replace it seven years ago, the car became very difficult to drive. The new clutch seems “fickle” - occasionally it will seem smooth to shift (like a knife through butter), but most times it is much harder to use and feels like there is too much “play” in the shift.

I have taken it to my mechanic, but he tells me it is “just fine”. What might cause the problem in shifting? Could it be the way I am driving, or could it possibly have a mechanical basis?

Is it possible to replace the manual with an automatic transmission in my car? If so, do you have any idea of possible costs? I really like this car and want to keep it!


Given sufficient time and money (mostly money) anything is possible. However, the amount of money it would cost to do this would be prohibitive, and significantly more than the car is worth.

If you want an automatic transmission, trade your Celica for a car that already has an automatic.

The replacement clutch should not feel any different, or operate differently, than the original clutch. If it does there is something wrong.

I’d fix the clutch instead of trying to swap transmissions. At only 115k miles this car probably has lots of life left in it.

It’s easier to go from a manual to an automatic than from an automatic to a manual. If you can find a junkyard, preferably a pull it yourself type and find a similar model with an automatic, then pull the transmission, driveshaft, linkage, stick and flex plate and you should be able to install it in your vehicle. You may also want to pull the brake pedal assembly.

You may also have to pull the differential if RWD, and I think the 75 is RWD, to get the correct final drive ratio suited to the Automatic. If you keep the original final drive ratio, the auto may be a little quicker that other 85 Celica’s with autos, but get worse gas mileage.

I’d think your manual tranny RWD Celica would be worth decent money to the tuner/drifter set, plenty enough to go buy one with an auto. I’d hate to get rid of an increasingly-rare manual car.

Seriously, don’t think about it. It will never be right. Plus it will cost a fortune.
BUT You should be able to get the shifting back to what it was before the clutch. There are probably bushings and connectors in the shifting linkage, make sure those are in good condition. You might try a different mechanic and get a second opinion about the manual shifting.
ALSO As much as you like your “old friend”, new(er) cars have some important safety improvements and many mechanical improvements. IF you really are set on an automatic trans, go drive a new(ish) Corolla or Matrix. You might find they are superior to your current car. And for a little as you will get for a trade in, you could keep your Celica for when you need a fix of the old days.


Thanks for your input. What is the “tuner/drifter set” to which you have referred? I may still want to keep this car, but want to explore my options.