A Stunning Celica GT Restomod From Sweden

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Earlier in the summer, I drove to Mantorp Park, which is roughly three hours away from my home in Stockholm, to attend its annual celebration of Japanese cars. This is where I met Kenneth Duvefelt, the owner of a very cool 1975 Toyota Celica GT restomod.

After talking with Kenneth for a while, I found out we live literally five minutes from each other. What are the chances?! I knew right away that I needed to feature the Celica, so Kenneth and I started making plans for the shoot.


Seeing as we both know our way around Stockholm, we decided on the heart of Sweden’s capital city. There are both plusses and minuses to shooting cars in Stockholm. The traffic definitely isn’t a plus – especially if you’re trying to negotiate it in an old car like Kenneth would have to – but the endless photography locations definitely are.


In the end we settled on Skeppsholmen with the Gröna Lund amusement park and Södermalm in the background. Without sounding too much like a tourist agent, this is one of Stockholm’s more spectacular sites.


Kenneth is a university assistant professor who has been tinkering with everything from remote control cars to computers since he was a kid. His interest in real cars stemmed from his parents, who often took him to automotive events. Growing up, Kenneth also knew that his grandad had a rather unusual-looking car parked up in his barn, but it wasn’t until he was an adult that he learned exactly what it was.


To say the car was just a bit rusty would a massive understatement. Having been daily driven all year round – including through Sweden’s harsh winters where roads are regularly salted – for many years, the elements had really taken a toll on the Celica’s steelwork. And that’s not all. In 1984, a moose ran over the car, leaving dents all over its top side. But what is Sweden without a bit of moose action?

Despite the car’s extremely poor condition, Kenneth had dreams of restoring it. He just needed to convince his grandad – who himself also wanted to bring the Celica back to its former glory – to part ways with it. In May 2005, Kenneth got his wish.


Everyone is optimistic at the start of a project, but it didn’t take Kenneth long to figure out that he may have bitten off more than he could chew. The Celica needed some serious remedial work. From purchase through to 2015, Kenneth concentrated on his studies, so progress on the car was slow. He chipped away at it though, learning as he went.


After completing his higher education, Kenneth had the entire body sandblasted, and then worked on repairing the rust and moose damage – the latter included dents in the A-pillar, roof, and a broken right side mirror. After the body restoration work was complete, the entire shell was epoxy-primed before being resprayed in Porsche Graphite Blue (M5G ), with red stripes along the sides to break it up and tie into the wheels.


The absence of overfenders is refreshing to see. We often take for granted just how beautiful Japanese sports coupes from the ’70s are in stock-body form, and the Celica is no exception. Respecting the car’s original design is something Kenneth kept in mind while working on the exterior.


The custom work and aftermarket add-ons are subtle but effective. The original front duckbil-style valance had succumbed to rust so was replaced with a brand one, and the front fenders were swapped with Reconsales Autosport equivalents from the Netherlands. The carbon fiber hood and a carbon trunk with integrated ducktail came from Restored in Japan.


Another standout feature of Kenneth’s Celica are the wheels – 13-inch Advan Racing A3As that he found in Malaysia. Given that this wheel design was in production for 20 years from 1979, no one can argue that they’ll all that rare. However, seeing a Japanese car from the ’70s running proper Japanese wheels designed in the same era is pretty rare in Sweden.


You can see how much work went into the Celica’s exterior to bring it back to its original glory – plus more – and Kenneth applied the same methodology to the engine bay. The car’s original 1.6L DOHC 8-valve 2T-G inline-four was completely intact, but a full rebuild was required.


Instead of going to town with modifications, time was spent to ensure the engine would perform to the absolute best of its ability in mostly original form. A big part of this was balancing the crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons.


With a modest 125hp at Kenneth’s disposal, the Celica delivers more than enough power for spirited drives, and with the induction howl from the foam-filtered Mikuni 40PHH twin side-draught carburetors and exhaust rasp from a custom header and 2-inch stainless steel system by Martelius in Finland, you bet it sounds glorious.

Like the engine, the suspension required a complete restoration. While not as sophisticated as a modern sports car, the Celica still delivers a raw and authentic driving feel thanks to custom Ceika coilovers and a suite of TechnoToyTuning arms and links.


In the brake department, the factory front discs/rear drums remain, although the entire system has been overhauled. The final piece of the road-holding puzzle are the tires fitted to the aforementioned Advan wheels – meaty Toyo Proxes R888R semi-slicks in a 205/60R13 fitment.


The interior was easiest aspect of the car to restore, as it was still all original and mostly in excellent condition. As the car had been parked up in a barn for so long, a thorough decontamination was required, with refurbishment taking place where necessary. As you can see, the steering wheel still features the patina of years of use from Kenneth’s grandad, which is very cool.

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