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2004-02-12 - Find a reupholstery shop (convertible top installer) in -your- area

Thinking about having some work done to your Sunchaser? Want to recover the seats, interior panels, or replace the convertible top? Well, have I got a resource for you. It seems that ElectronTop, in an effort to provide their convertible top customers with reputable locations of convertible top installers, has put together an area code or zip code based form to determine the auto reupholstery shop nearest to you. I checked it our for my area here in Pittsburgh, and was pleasantly surprised at the number of local upholstery shops. Why not give it a whirl for your locale?


Whoah, it's been a while. Well, I took a summer job teaching Physics and it has kept me really busy. Thus the lull. However, I have had so many requests for information about these little net-o cars, that I just HAD to put something up, albeit quick and dirty.

The 1982-83 Toyota Corolla SunRunner conversion by Griffith. Yes, the company you know and love also built a 1982 Corolla conversion. Click below to see it:

1982-82 Toyota Corolla SunRunner


Alrighty. Are you getting the feeling like it's about time to start cleaning up your Sunchaser? I am too. Here is a recent list of things that I've had milling about my mind:

  • Weber 32/36 DGV or 38/38 DGS carburetor. Kits at LCEngineering
  • Exhaust Manifold from a 22RE (82-85 Celicas) very similar to a header, but cheap and OEM.
  • Painting your exhaust manifold with POR-20 silver 1400 degree paint
  • Cleaning out the underside of your car and painting it with Corro-Less then painting it with truck bed coating from DupliColor or Rhino.
  • Help Chris to find the source of the original weatherstripping or a suitable replacement.
  • Front airdam piece can be bought online from numerous places for $45.
  • Buy and install a new top. I have suggestions -here-


You want to replace your weatherstripping TOO?!?!? Boy you're asking a lot. Well, the best place or universal extrusion weatherstripping is almost undoubtedly SoffSeal. I have placed a link to their online catalog for "Universal extrusions". When I get around to doing my car, I'll make sure to put together some type of kit for sale on this site. =)

SoffSeal Main Website:

SoffSeal PDF of Universal Weatherstrip. Sold by the foot: Universal.pdf


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 them. 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:

Main Website:


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. If this sounds like something you might -actually- be interested in, please contact me and speak encouraging words.


Wait! Chris! What have you done? You've joined the scores of other money-grubbing bastards in the world and added a DONATE button? Are we to believe that we should actually PAY you to maintain this site? Who do you think you are, NPR?

Okay, I figured I should allow individuals who are particularly well off have the option to support this site. Of the most important issue is you contribution of information, but I figured if someone out there who has a bunch of dough might like to flip some bills my way, why shouldn't I make it easy to do? =)


Wow. Has it been this long since I've updated things or what? Yowser. Well, then I should try to fill the community in. I have received a number of new and interesting items relating to sunchasers. One is a brochure from a 1982, that's right, a 1982 RA6X sunchaser model. The only model I've seen was a RHD car from Australia. I have, from a swell owner, a set of photos showing the frame reinforcements found on the Sunchaser. Perhaps the keenest thing I have procured is a statement/article written by an individual who worked on the Sunchaser production line. His testimony has filled in MANY of the gaps existing in the history of the Sunchaser conversion. Next time you're at the pub raise your mug to José Cabanillas for his forthcoming contribution to the Sunchaser Community.

Which brings me back to the word 'community'. Because, heck, everyone who has contacted me has been really nice and shown an interest in constructing some form of 'online community'. Now, I _really_ don't like the idea of adding a bbs to this site that is hosted elsewhere. I hate pop-ups and you should too. But I will be gearing up here to start at a minimum the "Sunchaser Registry." This will be a place where "We the Sunchaser owners..." can add the information about our car to a comprehensive registry. So, who will that be? Basically, anyone who owns a Sunchaser, TX-22 (know of only 1), or Legato (know of none). When will that be... heh... heh heh...

EUROPEAN SUNCHASER OWNERS - It is at this point that I must plead with owners of the european Toyota Celica Sunchaser produced by Tropica to send me any information that they might posess if they would like me to cover those models too. ;)

JACK GRIFFITH - If you ever happen upon this page to admire your handiwork, please contact me! I'm desperately trying to glean any information I can before the leads go dry! Thanks!

I hope you find what you're looking for.  If you don't, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you might have. I'll ramble on and on and on about how you should fix your Sunchaser or how you should donate it to me! =)

Information to ponder:

Sunchaser Owner's Manual - 871 KB - What, you didn't get one when you bought your Sunchaser from the nth owner?!?!? Well fear not! Download this file and you'll have your own copy of one! A bit grainier than I had originally indended, but I'll fix it up later.

José Cabanillas Testimonial - 66 KB - Thanks José for this. This is the best bit o' information about the cars I have received thus far. This is straight from the factory floor testimonial that you should read if you'd like to understand about where the Griffith company came from and where it went.

Motor Trend - Sunchaser Article - 3.22 MB - After a friendly owner e-mailed me telling me the magazine date and issue, I ran straight out to a local library to find this gem of an article. I shot it with a digital camera, cleaned up the photos, then painstakingly re-typed it into Aldus Pagemaker then exported it to Acrobat. I think you'll love it.

Griffith Models Brochure - 1.00 MB - A small 2-sided pamphlet that was probably just a handout at dealerships. What a svelte guy. ;)

1982 RA-6X Sunchaser Brochure - 968 KB - Though I have no photos of a -real- car, this article proves that they were at least produced to -some- quantity. Is it a Sunchaser? Well, it's academic really. Nobody seems to have one, thus I'm going to say 'yes but no'.

You may need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 or better to view and print the above files.