What is a SUNCHASER?

A Celica SUNCHASER is nothing more than a special conversion of a 1979-1981 Toyota Celica. In all, probably 2000 GT and ST models were produced from all three factories in these years.

The Griffith Company was commissioned by TOYOTA to do the conversion. It involved cutting of the roof immediately behind the windshield to the edge of the B-Pillar to accommodate a targa style removable roof, and removal of the roof from immediately behind the B-Pillar to the trunk to accommodate a collapsible convertible rear section. When fully converted, all that remains of the normal roof is a roll bar.

Specific Alterations-

A sticker with the Griffith Griffin and SUNCHASER production number is placed on the inside of the Glove compartment door.

A badge stating "SUNCHASER" is placed on the outside of each B-Pillar, though mine was removed, you can still see where it should go. It's the long grayish section at the bottom.

A fiberglass enclosure is placed around the B-Pillar and remaining narrow band of roof and skirts underneath the convertible top.

A Leather/Leather-like padding is added to the interior of the B-Pillar / Roof.

Are replacements for the convertible top available?


So you say you need a new top for your Sunchaser? Just cannot find any online sources who seem to know the car? Well, I found a current source for you! Electron Top (even appeals to my love of Physics...) has a catalogue for imports. Listed, quite plainly, is the Toyota Celica Sunchaser. It's available in 2 styles, the one-window and three-window and they're each $225 including the window. As if I haven't stressed it enough, I'd strongly suggest getting the three-window style to minimize your blind spot and make the back seat less 'crypt-like'. ;)

Now, I have yet to buy a top for my Sunchaser but the day is coming soon. I have read their website and without knowing them, I like their style. I like the fact that they've been around for 42 years and actually advertise their patters and colors. Seems like this would be the place to buy your tops folks, but decide for yourself. You just cannot help but respect the operation after reading the "Our Story" section.

Direct link to PDF "Import Top" catalogue that includes our cars:


Another pretty nice website, not as flashy but gets the job done. ;) Only one fabric style to choose from, same 'pinpoint' style fabric as original but comes in 11 sexy colors. Before you check it out, note that intheir scroll-down 'model selection' box they sell both the 3-window and the 1-window design tops, but under slightly different headings: they list the 1-window design under 'Toyota Sunchaser' and the 3-window design under 'Toyota Celica Sunchaser'. Odd but effective. I don't know why; you don't care why! At least they have our tops! They list the price as $151.00 as of 2003-03-17 and Darren G. attests that it cost about $163.00 shipped to his door. Another very nice possibility especially for those of us on a budget.

1A Auto

Probably just a reseller for the same tops the Convertible Top Guys are selling, but another choice nonetheless. Thay also list all the convertible tops available for 1982-1985 Celicas, Some 1982- Corolla Conversions, and other Celica Convertible tops.

1950 Grant Street
Hollywood, FL 33020
(954) 920-6855

830 W. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43085
(614) 224-5161

So, there clearly are new replacement tops still available and it's good to know that the patterns still exist. As always, if anyone has more information about suppliers of convertible tops, please e-mail me the information.

Are replacements for the targa top available?

Without a doubt, no. I have spent hours upon hours attempting to find a replacement top for my SUNCHASER. But this page, during its existence, has generated so many inquiries about replacing the targa top due to loss and theft, that I have given up on finding one.

But there is a suitable alternative. By cutting a section of roof from a 1980-81 Celica coupe you can fashion a very nice replacement. It is probably heavier, but it will work just fine. You're on your own as far as replacing the weather-stripping and latches UNTIL I do my own. then I promise to devote a page just to targa top replacement. =)

Recently, it has come to my attention that it might be possible to go in together to have another run of fiberglass tops made. It would likely be only the shell, and you'd have to affix the hardware from the top that flew off on the highway to the new one. I'll be thinking more on this. I have asked a local fabricator what he would charge for this, and I showed him the top, and he said about $350 in quantity, That is to say, if I could get the interest together, we might as a community be able to have some replacements made.

Is is hard to find mechanical parts for these cars?

Not at all. They are standard celicas; mechanically, they are no different. The 1980 had the 20R engine and the 1981 had the 22R. You should be able to find most mechanical parts at any Pep Boys or other major remanufactured / new auto parts store. It may have to be ordered, but i know for a fact that you can get the mechanicals.

Sunchasers out there... (click for larger)

From the original TOYOTA brochure...

From a Classifieds2000 ad...

From Chris Morgan...

From an AngelFire ad...