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Mike Stevens | Mar 24, 2009

If you thought you were confused about the coming Toyota and Subaru rear-wheel-drive entry-level sports car (even that’s a mouthful), then rest assured, this latest news… probably won’t clarify things at all.

The ‘Toyobaru’ - initially conceived to evoke the spirit of the AE86 Corolla - has had a turbulent run, being cancelled and re-instated more times than you or I have cooked a clutch.

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To add a little more spice to the confusion, French mag L’Automobile is reporting that Thierry Dombreval, Vice-President of sales and marketing for Toyota France has apparently let slip that the car will be badged as a Celica.

It makes a boat-load lot of sense considering the early generations of the Celica were rear-wheel drive, reasonably affordable and at the same time damn good fun.

Only in later years did the Celica switch to front-wheel drive, gaining weight and, in later models, losing some of the handling prowess of the first front-drive SX. (Which was a delectable drive at the time.)

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Then again, AE86 Corolla enthusiasts would say that their favourite Toyota may have followed a similar path.

Of the two classics, though, the Celica is undoubtedly the brand’s recognisable sports car name.

For the time being, official word is hard to come by on anything surrounding the new coupe, so, like everything else we’ve heard so far, we’ll take it with a grain of salt.

If Dombreval is to be believed, you could well be parking an eighth-gen Celica in your driveway some time in 2010.

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