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1978 Toyota Celica 2.0 GT Ex-Martin Brundle




Celica History Summary


  1. Originally registered to John Brundle (Motors Ltd) in Kings Lynn on 10th May 1978 via Toyota GB Limited, it was used as a showroom demonstrator until being sold in April 1979.
  2. Bought back into the Brundle family again by John Brundle (Motors Ltd) in August 1980, stripped to a bare shell and converted for production saloon car racing.
  3. Work was carried out with the help of friends Kevin Gutteridge and Arthur Coleman, who are still close family friends of the Brundle family to this day.
  4. Competed in and won Commanders Cup at the 24 hour Willhire races in 1980/81.
  5. Competed in National Production Saloon Car Championship over a couple different owners, with great class success.
  6. Had a colour change (with maroon stripes) as well as a 2 tone colour change to blue and white later on.
  7. Bought by Dawkins family initially in 1989, and continued to race successfully within the Slick 50 Road Saloon Championship.
  8. Changed hands a couple of times again, being used within classic Group 1 Touring cars in the late 90’s before returning to the Dawkins family in around 2007.
  9. Full restoration started in 2014 to achieve the standards needed for FIA Group 1 homologation papers, it’s Historical Technical Passport (HTP) and become eligible for an invitation to Goodwood Members Meeting.
  10. Kevin Gutteridge has been in regular contact with the current owner, Chris Dawkins at Kent MX5 Services, and has said that both Martin Brundle and Robin Brundle still talk fondly about the Willhire days and the Celica.



The Restoration Journey....




This is one of the original adverts for VV G1S






Celica History Details


The car was originally used as a demonstrator for the Brundle’s Toyota dealership in Kings Lynn in the late 1970s. After being sold to a customer as a road car, it was bought back by John Brundle Motors Limited a year later.


It was completely stripped to a bare shell, and with the help of friends Kevin Gutteridge and Arthur Coleman (who are still close friends with the Brundle family to this day) converted it for production saloon car racing, and more predominantly both the 1980 and 1981 Snetterton Willhire 24 HR races. It was very much a family affair with the Celica being raced by Martin, John and Robin Brundle on both occasions, winning the Commanders Cup at both events.


Kevin Gutteridge has in fact been in constant contact with the current owner, Chris Dawkins, over recent months and years regarding the restoration. He has said several times that both Martin Brundle and his brother Robin Brundle talk fondly about those Willhire days and the Celica and still have old photos of it back in the day!



Photos of the Brundle family at the Willhire 24hr races



Photos of the Brundle family at the Willhire 24hr races



Photos of the Brundle family at the Willhire 24hr races


After that - with Martin then moving on to his single seater career - Robin did a couple of seasons in the National Production Saloon Car Championship in the 1980s, finishing 2nd in class in 1981. 


The car was then sold to Colin Peter Jones in September 1982, where it received a partial colour change with maroon stripes (as documented on the vehicle registration forms).


The car changed hands again in December 1983, when it was sold to Chris Conoley of Cambridge Motorsport.


Here it was again used within the Production Saloon Car Championships, achieving class success despite accident damage sustained at Donington Park (the car received a new three quarter panel and new paint job in 1983).


PLEASE NOTE: We felt it was important, within reason, to keep these repairs visible from the inside to ensure the correct patina and provenance of the car. Even the original aerial blanking plate - fitted by the Brundles - is still present and original.




In September 1987 the car was then sold to Duncan Kirk / Jim Wheels at J&I Motors Limited in Kings Lynn. Again being used within the Production Saloon Car Championships, with an upgraded engine from RS Engineering.


Then in March 1989 the car was brought into the Dawkins family for the first time by Graham Dawkins - the current owner’s father - as a part exchange on a Rover Vitesse SD1 saloon.


The car received a newly rebuilt race engine from the very well-known Toyota race engine specialists DTW Engines Limited in Harlow (all paperwork present), and was then used on the race track again with great success.


Graham raced it in the Slick 50 Road Saloon Championship, which at the time was predominantly overwhelmed by higher powered cars such as SD1 Rover Vitesses and both 2.8i and 3.0S Ford Capris.


During his father’s ownership of the car, the current owner Chris Dawkins used it for his first ever car race at Donnington in 1990, before moving on to race single seaters.


Graham Dawkins continued to use the Celica, before selling it to Martin Williams, the owner of a Toyota dealership In Wales around 1999. It was then bought by David Scriven shortly after that.

The car changed hands again in October 2002 when Mike Cowlan bought it, and it was used within classic Group 1 Touring cars on a couple of occasions. It was then kept in a garage for a number of years until the Dawkins family decided to locate it.


After 2 days of internet searches and speaking to people in the trade, they found the car and it returned to the Dawkins family in around 2007.


Full restoration work was finally started on the car in 2014, to carry out a full recommissioning back to the bare shell. The decision was made to build it to it’s FIA Group 1 homologation papers, obtain it’s HTP and make it useable for Goodwood.


Further details of the restoration work can be found below.





The registration number is VVG 1S, with the log book still present. The registration number is currently on retention, and will be swapped back to the V5. All the chassis numbers stamped in the shell are correct, original chassis plate is present and both match.


DVLA microfiche documents are also included, showing copies of all V5 log books from 1978 onwards and transfers of ownership.


Document registration no 29, as submitted by Toyota GB.


The original “RAC Production Car Spec Sheet” – valid from 1980 – has been stamped by RAC Motor Sports Assn Ltd.





The engine was returned to Dave Wilds at DTW Engines in Harlow, who rebuilt the engine to the current day specification, dyno’d in house at DTW (printouts present) with the current carburettor settings.


The shell was soda blasted back to a bare shell, repaired and returned to it’s original factory metallic black paint colour.


The complete restoration has been captured and fully documented. There’s a photographic portfolio of the build, along with all the invoices of the parts and any external suppliers used.


With the help of photographic evidence, the FIA homologation papers, Jim Lowry (HTP scrutineer) and indeed Kevin Gutteridge, it has been a comprehensive restoration.


Everything has been rebuilt from scratch and either soda blasted, shot blasted and / or vapour blasted.


Original invoices included from the 1980s, including engine bills and Leda bills for the suspension.





Although built to the FIA Group 1 regulations for that era, it has been built to 2 specifications:


  1. The first being FIA Group 1 specification.


  1. Also built to a superior specification, making it more competitive for the Goodwood Member’s Meeting. This mainly consists of dampers and interior, and it will be sold in the latter spec, with the HTP Group 1 specification being supplied in the sale as a removable “kit”, of sorts.


All the “trick” suspension has been fitted - specifically the internally spherical jointed rear arms - along with whatever we feel will make it competitive at the Member’s Meeting.


This is very much the original car, with all the correct provenance.






During it’s time in the Slick 50s the car had to be a legal road car with tax and MOT, and be driven to and from the racetrack (documentation of this is also included).


It’s also worth noting that between Chris Conoley (Dec 1983) and Graham Dawkins (March 1989) owning the Celica, it received a 2 tone colour change to blue and white.


Although the car was in Class B within the Slick 50, Graham managed to regularly beat the higher powered Class A cars. This was due to the superior handling as standard over the other cars, meaning he won overall a couple of times, as per the article below.





Celica Technical Specification




  1. The original Toyota Celica 2.0 GT Liftback, chassis number RA40 021933, registration number VVG 1S.
  1. Soda blasted back to a bare shell, and re-sprayed back to its original metallic black as it was supplied direct from the factory to John Brundle (Motors) Ltd in 1978. Particular care was taken not to erode its original patina, including some of it’s original 80’s racing repairs, which are part of it’s history.
  1. Chris Conoley received some damage to the offside rear quarter, which he replaced from another donor car at the time in 1983. We have kept some of the internal weld repairs on show, so the people in the know will recognise this as the correct original shell. 
  1. Chrome trim, bumpers and badges are as fitted originally.
  1. It is to be noted that although the shell has been restored, it is hasn’t been done to a concours restoration standard, but to an excellent refurbished version of it’s original 30 year racing pedigree.
  1. The inside has been again re-painted back to the standard factory finish.
  1. ROLL CAGE: The roll cage is the original as supplied direct from Toyota GB through the Brundle dealership. It is allowed to be used - as confirmed by the Motorsport UK scrutineer Jim Lowry - as it was on the homologation papers from the FIA. It does have removable door bars fitted now as the later regulations now make this a mandatory addition.
  1. INTERIOR: The original dash board, GT fascia, original OE gauges, even the original racing Mountney steering wheel. Original heater controls, stereo. 2 additional gauges have been fitted in a way fitting for that period, but without altering the original fascia. New Cobra historic FIA racing seat, new TRS 6 point harness, new FIA fire extinguisher system. Original interior is present, but not fitted. This includes the passenger seat, rear seat, full carpets, full original plastics, original GT door cards. These will be supplied as part of the sale to match it’s HTP.
  1. WIRING: The wiring is the original that has been fully inspected and checked. It is now a “skeleton” lightweight loom with all the wiring no longer needed removed. The original fuse box is still present, restored and working. Additional wiring for the fitment of the FIA master switch and the 2 auxillary gauges fitted for water temperature and oil pressure.






Rear axle


  • The original axle has been totally stripped down to it’s bare casing, shot blasted and then re-painted in the correct satin chassis black as per the original factory specs. The original LSD has been fully inspected, backlash, bearing preloads set and are within Toyota service specs.
  • Final drive ratio: 3.909:1
  • 5 linked as standard with original Panard rod set up. Spherical bearings fitted, with new bushings modified either side of the bearings to maintain the original standard look and set up.
  • New axle bearings.





  • Original GT specification P51 5 speed gearbox.
  • Gear ratios (as per FIA HTP):

1st 3.525:1

2nd 2.054:1

3rd 1.396:1

4th 1.000:1

5th 0.858:1

Rev: 3.755:1


  • Original hydraulic clutch set up, uprated clutch, and new clutch slave cylinder.
  • New clutch master cylinder.
  • Willwood competition brake fluid.






  • Full professional refurbishment of the original fuel tank by Stan Lamb at Hartlepool radiators, and foam filled using the correct FIA foam inserts.
  • New high pressure electronic Facet fuel pump, new braided pipe work.
  • New adjustable pressure Fuel King filter system.
  • Original rebuilt Mikuni twin Solex carburettor set up.
  • Original fully refurbished original Toyota GT air intake system.






  • Fully refurbished master cylinder and servo by Europe’s leading brake servo restoration specialists J & L Exports ltd.
  • Brand new nickel brake lines throughout, Proline flexi braided hoses, refurbished compensator valve, new competition front brake pads and rear shoes supplied from Questmead Limited.
  • New front discs.
  • Fully refurbished front brake callipers.
  • New rear drums.
  • New rear cylinders, and brake shoe fitting kit.
  • Fully refurbished original back plates.
  • Original working handbrake system.






  • The front and rear dampers are the original modified uprated units as supplied and modified by Leda Suspension back in 1989. Original invoice is present.
  • The front dampers have modified / lowered spring platforms.
  • They have been fully refurbished by Ledas, and both front and rear dampers have adjustable bump. Invoice present.
  • The front springs are a one-off and specially made by Faulkner Springs to our specifications. Invoice present.
  • The rear springs are supplied direct from Australia, and are lower and uprated.
  • Where allowed, all bushes have been replaced with uprated Whiteline competition items, both front and rear. Including front drop link bushes.
  • The rear link arms still run their uprated spherical bearings, shod with standard bushes to maintain secrecy. These bearings were fitted circa 1983/4. Pictures present.





  • Fully refurbished steering box by Homan Engineering Co Ltd.
  • New ball joints, knuckles and steering joints. Linkages have been vapour blasted and re-painted in the period correct satin chassis black.
  • Front hubs have been fully stripped, vapour blasted and painted.
  • New bearings and seals throughout.
  • Competition spec grease.






  • Fully rebuilt and dyno run by Dave Wilds of DTW Engines in Harlow, Essex. They are one of Europe’s leading performance Toyota engine specialists. An absolutely fastidious engineer.
  • Full build sheet and invoice present.
  • Dyno sheet present. 176 BHP with more available with supplied tubular exhaust manifold.
  • Zero miles since run on the dyno.
  • Full Lumenition electronic set up. New competition coil (non ballast).
  • One-off replicated Toyota high compression pistons by JE Pistons. 11.6 to 1 compression ratio.
  • All new bearings and valve gear components.
  • F3 type valves.
  • New springs, retainers and spring seats.
  • Original standard Solex carburettors, but can be modified further for increased power. Dellorto trumpets.
  • Standard wet sump lubrication with baffles sump set up.
  • DTW modified oil PRV
  • L1 inlet and exhaust cams.
  • Fully professionally refurbished radiator and core.




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