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1999 Toyota Celica SS-II

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

red_celica-ssii.jpg

SPEX

Year: 1999 `````````````````````````````````````` Type: Coupe
 
Country: Japan `````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2, GT3, & GT4
 
 
Price: $22,200 (GT2 East City new lot)
         $14,176 (GT4 Used Car lot)
 
Length: 170.66" // Width: 68.3" // Height: 51.4"
Wheelbase: 102.4"
Overhang: @5' 6"
Track: 58.7" [F] 58.3" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.5"
Weight: 2,513 lbs.
Layout: Front Engine/Front Drive
Tires: 215/45ZR-17
F. Suspension: MacPherson Struts, coils, anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: double wishbones, coils, anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented discs [F] solid discs [R]
 
Engine: 1.8 liter DOHC inline 4

``````````````````````GT2```````````````````````````GT4``````````
Tested HP: 185 @ 7,400 rpm         185 @ 7,600
Tstd Torque:
133 @ 6,800 rpm       132 @ 6,800

Lbs. per HP:   13.6                        13.58
HP per Liter: 103.6                          103.0
Credits per HP: $120.00                  $76.63

Aspiration: normal
Fuel System: EFi
Valves per Cyl: 4
Compression: 11.5:1
Bore x Stroke: 3.11" x 3.6"

GT2 Redline: 7,750 // Rev Limit: 8,000
GT4 Idle: // Redline: // RPM Limit:
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Differential: open
 
 
```````````````````GT2`````````````````````````````````GT4```````
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds                  9.483 seconds
0-100mph: 20.0 seconds               20.316 seconds

400 M:   15.881 @ 88 mph           17.016 @ 90 mph
1 Kilom:
28.890 @ 116 mph        29.796 @ 118 mph

Test Track: 1:50.577                        2:33.900

100-zero mph: no test                   3.83 seconds
 
GT2 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 37 mph @ 8,000 rpm
2nd: 60 mph "
3rd: 77 mph
4th: 100 mph
5th: 129 mph
6th: 157.47 @ 7,400 rpm 

GT4 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 32 mph
2nd: 54 mph
3rd: 75 mph
4th: 96 mph
5th: 122 mph
6th: 154.07 mph @ 7,500 rpm 
 

yllw_celica-ssii.jpg


-----------------------EXTERIOR----------------------

There are several versions of the 7th generation Celica in the games (and several more in real life), but GT focuses on the SS-II. SS...that stands for ‘Super Strut’. It's basically a sportier version of the Celica, and I think in America what we get is the Celica GT-S.
 
The '99 Celica was produced by Calty Design, and became the first vehicle promoted thru Genesis, which is a youth-oriented marketing branch of Toyota. It has a new look for the new millenium, and it's based on the XYR show car (Xtreme, Youthful, Racy) which is available in GT2 as a prize. The XYR looks totally dope with its gigantic wing, but is not as good any of as the dealer-bought cars, sadly.
 
The new SS-II was 132 lbs. lighter than the 6th-generation '96-97 Celicas which appear in GT2, 3, and 4. It has a tad more power, too. At the time (IRL), the '99 Celica listed for less money than a comparably new Celica from the mid-nineties would have sold for. This is a reflection of the fact that less young people are buying coupes nowadays as SUVs and trucks have become more popular. In our games, Celicas of any kind are always on the less expensive side. GT4's used lot has them the cheapest. Celica SS-IIs aren't exactly rare in this game, but they aren't exactly common, either.   
 
The '99 Celica also has 2" more wheelbase than the '96 and '97 cars, yet is 4" shorter, which translates to less overhang; and when you compare both cars on the tracks, you'll find that the '99 car is noticeably easier to drive. In GT2, there are 3 versions of the SS-II from the dealer, yet there doesn't seem to be any mechanical difference between the regular SS-II, the Elegant Sport version, or the Mechanical version (which saves me having the desire to write much about them!). Mainly, it seems the only differences between these 3 models are cosmetic:
 
• the Mechanical Sport has a larger wing than the others, + it has what appear to be little air channels next to its fog lights. So far as I can tell,
 
• the Elegant version is identical to the regular SS-II, except that it has something on its driver's side...can't tell what it is..it's a little black patch next to the door. What the hell is it? Hmmm.
 
In GT3 and 4, PD scaled back for whatever reason. The only version that appears for civilian use is the SS-II. No Mechanical or Elegant versions! There are some racing versions, as well. But if Toyota and/or PD was thinking of expanding the ZZT231's base to include a huge percentage of the dealership the way Skylines have dominated, they've apparently abandoned this goal.  
 
For the palette, all the dealer's Celicas can be bought in 6 different colors. All of them weigh the same and have the same dimensions. In all 3 cars, weight can be reduced to 2,239 pounds in GT2. The XYR, on the other hand, can be lowered to 2,310 lbs! Somehow (since it's a prize car) I thought the XYR would be the best of the bunch but I was wrong.
 
The air channel down the middle of the hood is supposed to be derived from the Toyota CART indy race car and gives a totally rad look to the SS-II, though some may find it too extreme or ugly or something. It is functional and aids the engine, so that's where we'll go now.
 

-------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------

Although the 1,795 cc DOHC 4-cylinder in the SS-II is smaller than the 2 liter found in earlier models, it does a better job--thanks to some help from Yamaha. The '99 Celica beats the '96 & '97s in acceleration, max speed, and (in real life) fuel-economy. In its final stages of deployment, Yamaha employs VVTL-i, which stands for Variable Valve Timing, Lift, & duration. This system is based on motorcycle technology, it creates better airflow and higher rpms.
 
Real-life car reviewers raved about VVTL-i in 1999 and 2000. One car website I visited described the 1.8 liter engine as having “adequte throttle response till about 6,000 rpms, after which the power revs like an on/off switch, and squirts forth with real urgency”. Ha ha! "Sprirts forth with urgency!" I'm not making that up (I'm not sure I could). That's exactly what that guy just said!
 
Several other sites say similar things, though their language is not as...uh, graphic, but in my racing experience with the SS-II, I didn't notice any difference between pre and post-6,000 rpms. Not like an “on/off switch”, anyways. I didn't find my SS-II squirting forth with urgency. Ugh. One thing for sure: this is one of the few Japanese non-turbocharged engines that produces more than 100 hp per liter, and Toyota appears to be just getting started!
 
GT2 testing now. Zero to 60 mph is acheived in 7.1 seconds, and 100 mph passes in 20. I tested both the 6th and 7th generation Celicas. Oddly, both were going exactly the same speed at the mile and 1,000 meter marks (88 and 116 mph) even though the '99 gets there first. The '99 car has 2 hp more than the '96, it's lighter, and its transmission is geared a bit shorter for those times when you've got to get to Blockbuster before midnight. 6th gear revs the engine at 3.28:1 and drives the front wheels. It is taller than the '96 Celica's 5th, and guarantees a higher top speed (157 mph as opposed to 152). The problem is the upgrades. Okay...
 
3 upgrades are available from TRD. Great. Um, but they provide only 99 extra horsepower at the most when all is said and done. Not only that, but stage 3 costs $65,000, and only provides 23 extra horses when compared to stage 2. What the hell? The regular SS-II and Mechanical Sport versions both wind up with 284 hp...the Elegant version can only handle 264!
 
Worst of all is the XYR, which tops at 221 hp with a minimum pound to power ratio of 10.45! It won't accept ANY upgrades. Man, this sucks. The Celica handles like Yoyoma handles an expensive cello, it would be cool to get more power under that hood, wouldn't it? Well, I guess that's what LameSharks are for.


GT4's SS-II carries on the banner. The car in this game sounds odd at first; it's as though a flute, a piccolo, and a tenor saxophone are all playing out of tune from one another! The car's performance is lackluster in comparison to GT2's SS-II, as well as some other front-drives in GT4. But there's some bonuses.

The Celica SS-II in this game can be equipped with a huge array of power-kits. Here we go. We have three natural-aspiration kits, four turbos, and a supercharger! Power is never really great though. At the most, it rates about the same as the Celica found in GT2. Here's a breakdown:

All permanent mods + computer + oil: 205 hp @ 7,600 // 144.8 @ 6,800

Stage 3 NA: ```291 hp with 197.9 foot-pounds
 
Supercharger: 276 // 188.8

Stage 3 turbo: 299 // 204.8  


Stage 5 turbo rates slightly less than a Stage 3. Anyways, bottom line is: if you were expecting more power in this game than in GT2, hope you weren't disappointed.
 
The 6-speed tranny is a huge blessing, though some may prefer the '96 car's 5-speed (less shifting, less work). Close-ratio gears redline in 6th at 141 mph, and the super-close gears will take you to about 129 mph in GT2. These would be useful at a track like Tahiti or the Rome & Seattle short courses. The racing gearbox is not an absolute necessity, is what I'm trying to say, especially since the power is so lame.
 
 

--------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING---------------

The best thing about any of the 7th gen. Celicas is the way they gobble the road. The '99 cars (any of them) are way better than the 6th gen cars, which understeer and bobble around. Basically, the '99 SS-IIs behave like they have a sports suspension package beneath them even before they've been modified. They OWN the road.
 
GT2
At a track like Rome..where the tight L-turn is, you'll expect the usual understeer. Instead, the Celica SS-II that looks at that shit and laughs. You want to tackle the hairpin in Apricot Hill? Your Celica SS-II yawns. “Is that it?” asks the Celica. There is virtually no body roll in this car...very little unwanted movement, and understeer is minimal. It's already been tamed when you buy it from the dealer; hence the ‘Super-Strut’ package moniker.
 
This is a grippy car.. if you're trying to get sideways, much of the drifts will have to be forced. If there's one complaint (and it's really not much of a complaint) it's the fact that the front end does its job a little too well. You might wanna add camber to the front tires if you're having a hard time keeping the car going in the direction you want; every little command to the steering tends to instantly be gratified, including errors. You get the picture? In fact, the SS-II handles so well, I found myself getting bored with it. I almost didn't watch the replay, matter of fact. The good thing is, my black SS-II with its gold Yokohama wheels looks awesome in replays.
 
The tires rock, too. Even fully-modified, I raced this car with its stock tires a couple times and the car still handles like a dream (although it does start to slide a bit more, of course). You can get racing slicks for an SS-II, but you shouldn't ever NEED them. The differential and brake upgrades are also secondary purchases.
 
Too bad about the lack of power. :-(


GT4
I never drove the GT2 Celica on Simulation tires, so this first portion may seem a bit unfair because I did drive the GT4 Celica on N-quality tires. N2, matter of fact. With this rubber shod, we get all the expected understeer on-entry and then some. The only cure, of course, is lots and lots of early braking. Severe quality-control mid-corner, too.

But the good news? There are a couple items. Those brakes are still top-rate, and the car does like to trail-brake into turns. The other good news is exits. Even with these street shoes installed, there is rarely any sort of misbehavior on-exit. The Celica's front-end simply grips most of the time, at least while power is stock or barely touched. Out of tighter hairpin areas, there is finally a bit of tire-shreiking, but nothing too drastic. It seems there's an Integra-like limited-slip device working up there, yet I've read that the Celica SS-II had an open differential at some websites. I'm thinking those sites must be wrong.

Install some Sports and the whole world of driving becomes just a little bit more heavenly, though the car is never up to GT2 standards so far as handling goes. There are plenty of moments of understeer (again, mostly on-entry) that didn't seem to be present when I drove the car in GT2 three or four years ago. It's not really shameful; in fact I expected the GT4 Celica SS-II would be un-perfect.

But the good news (again) the front-end is still on our side as we exit. It just chomps down like a mean dog. There's lots and lots of tuning options with this car, too. This is a very tuneable car. In GT2, there actually wasn't much to do in the tuning department because the car handled itself so beautifully. Well, the GT4 car demands we take most everything more seriously, but that's what we're here for anyways, right?

    
  
 

celica_racekit.jpg
Celica SS-II with racing kit (GT2)

PROS

1). Good-looking car with a fresh appearance for the new millenium. Certainly unique. Conservative Toyota at its most stylish.
 
2). Good (not great) acceleration is available fresh from the box. Top speed nears 160 mph at Test Track even before the engine is modified.
 
3). 6-speed gearbox is useful and flexible. The sports and semi-racing formats can be substituted on certain tracks. All of them keep the engine running up in its narrowly spiky peak.
 
4). Tires, suspension, and brakes all are at racing-quality specs even before you've modified them. Absolutely killer handling with zero drama in GT2. GT4's Celica isn't so God-like, but still does a decent job in the world of front-drives.
 
5). Well-priced.
 
6). 2,500 lbs. seems perfect. Weight reductions are icing on the cake. I also love the swoopy-colored racing kit (GT2), it looks better than the white, green, and red on earlier Celilcas.
 
7). High redline. Stages 2 and 3 make it even better. 

8). Racing kits available for all versions in GT2 except the XYR show car.

9). GT4: lots of power options to play with. Lots of tuning availability for the amateur.

10). GT4: fuel-sipping.


CONS

1). Engine and aspiration upgrades don't add much power, even though they cost a lot. This goes for the Celicas of GT2 and GT4.
 
2). Only 6 colors available. Also there isn't much difference between the Mechanical, Elegant, and regular Celicas from the 2nd game...kind of a waste of game memory in my opinion.
 
3). The XYR show car sucks. It winds up being the heaviest and slowest in GT2, even though it's a prize. I'm pretty sure you cannot enter it in the Toyota Celica Cup, either. No racing kit for this car.
 
4). The SS-IIs handle so well they can be downright boring (GT2). Drift lovers may find this car fun, but the actual drifts will have to be forced most of the time. Again, this wouldn't be such a problem if more power were available.

5). On the other hand, GT4's Celica has some of the typical handling problems any we expect of any front-drive. Understeer being the main fear (big surprise, huh?)
 
6). GT2: After some upgrades are in place, peak horsepower moves up past the redline, so you won't be able to grab it with automatic transmissions.

7). GT4: Celica SS-IIs can be somewhat hard to find from the used car lot. Other times, they'll be on sale, just when you aren't looking for one.    
 

 

Originally Published: November 16, 2004
Edited for GT4 content: November 27, 2010
 
 

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