It’s not entirely clear what’s happened to the car over the past several decades, but that hasn’t stopped fans and enthusiasts from trying to piece it all together. In a 2015 story from Fox News, it seemed that while the sweepstakes did run from September through December 1977, whether or not a winner was selected and who they may be is still a mystery. Though in a similar report from The A.V. Club, also from 2015, former Lucasfilm employee and creator of Rancho Obi-Wan Steve Sansweet stated that the car didn’t disappear into the ether until the late ’80s or early ’90s — implying that the studio had some inclination of who the owner was up to that point.
An extensive (though not fully verifiable) timeline of events surrounding the promotion and disappearance of the Star Wars Celica is available from Speed Hero, but the short version is thus: in or before October 1977, 20th Century Fox and Toyota had a 1977 Celica pace car completed with a Molly body kit by now-defunct Delphi Auto Design, the sweepstakes began, and then Delphi found itself facing charges for smuggling, kidnapping, and murder. Seriously. As the company that was producing their grand prize faced so many serious allegations, Fox and Toyota most likely decided that it would be best to quietly write the whole thing off.