1977 Star Wars Toyota Celica

"You've never heard of the 1977 Star Wars Celica? Kids, it's the car that was the grand prize in the Star Wars Space Fantasy Sweepstakes." It most likely started life as a 1977 Celica LiftBack GT Pace Car, an extra-flared, spoilered-up version of the coupe that already looked like a three-quarter scale muscle car. Delphi Auto Design of Costa Mesa, California lavished the bodywork with a custom paint job featuring galactic nebula, TIE fighters, X-Wings, and a lovingly airbrused recreation of the Tom Jung poster art on the hood. Pete Vilmur has been looking for this car for a long time, and he's probably the foremost expert on it, but still, nothing has emerged from the ether.

The trail goes colder than Hoth after 1977, when the contest, a joint effort between Toyota and Twentieth Century Fox, picked its award winners. No record of the car's VIN can be found, nor can the name of a winner. That may be due in part to Delphi Auto Design being caught in a legal imbroglio involving drug running, murder and income tax violation that tied up one of the main financiers of the business. There was a glimmer of hope in the form of an early-1980s classified ad listing the car for sale, but no record of that can be turned up, either.

So where is it? Who won it? Did it wind up like most Celicas from that era, attacked by tinworm or traded in on a newer car? It's conceivable that the customized cosmos paint job was sprayed over at some point. Maybe the Celica just met an ignominious end somewhere during the Kessel Run. Nobody knows, but we're all keen to find out.