Survivor Hot Hatch: 1988 Toyota Corolla FX-16 GTS – Sold?
(Click on the photograph below to expand it and navigate through all the others)
September 28, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
The so-called hot hatch marketplace is unfairly dominated by the likes of the Volkswagen GTI, Honda Civic Si, and even the Toyota Celica. The other Toyota we rarely hear about is the Corolla FX-16 GTS, which had every hallmark of a classic 80s street fighter but somehow falls out of the conversation when it turns to rad-era compacts. This 1988 FX-16 GTS was originally listed in August 2022 on Craigslist in Pembroke Pines, Florida, for $11,450 with 162,000 miles on the clock and in surprisingly good condition’s not exactly been sparingly used. The seller reports no rust, and the few deviations from stock condition represent sensible upgrades. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows us that the seller is asking below what many of these E80 chassis cars are selling for, listing an average sale price of $18,594.
The 1980s were the glory years for the sport compact class. The early 90s also accounted for some of the greatest hits from import and domestic manufacturers. Still, the era of box flares, heavily-bolstered sport seats, and chunky three-spoke steering wheels belonged to the big hair and hard rock generation. Toyota was a different company back then, seemingly more focused on building a performance car brand than simply being the bread-and-butter family sedan and SUV manufacturer. Of course, the latter wasn’t even on anyone’s radar, although Toyota did make the thoroughly capable Land Cruiser at that time. The Celica certainly got all the glory with its available four-wheel drive and turbocharging, but the punchy Corolla FX-16 was its very capable little brother.
The MotorWeek RetroReview Channel features this test drive when the Corolla FX16 launched in 1987:
I suppose the FX-16 didn’t rise to greater prominence because it didn’t offer any substantial upgrades in the power department. The three-door Corolla was clearly built to be more feared on the autocross course and local backroads, given its capable chassis and snappy handling. History has shown that many strong-handling cars are appreciated more long after they’re gone, whereas the high horsepower machines are loved from Day 1. The Corolla shown here is quite clean, with none of the rust that plagues vintage Japanese tin in the Snowbelt states. The seller notes everything works, including air conditioning and ABS, and that the interior is original, just like the outside. The seller has made some upgrades, but nothing I would consider offensive; they include disc brakes, performance brake pads, sway bars, and a new clutch and shocks. It should deliver many miles of razor-sharp steering and braking, and hopefully, the next owner lives somewhere where a good backroad is never far away.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“IMPECCABLE garaged kept 1988 Corolla FX-16 GTS!!! This US-built model AE82L is in EXCELLENT condition. It has its original 4AGELC 1600cc DOHC EFI engine, a 5-speed manual transmission, and 162k original miles. Original white NO rust/accident exterior body, blue original seats, leather steering wheel, cargo cover, seat belts, headliner, and carpet, with 50/50 folding rear seats for extra cargo space. Original wheels, new tires, spare and fully functional sunroof, a/c, ABS, power steering, windows, locks and mirrors, back window wiper and defrost, and third light. All internal and external original authentication decals (engine, chassis, and interior). UPGRADED: disk brakes (ventilated), exhaust, brake pads, sway bars, clutch, and shocks. Meticulously cared for with a superb maintenance record, with NO leaks and a new battery. Upgraded AM/FM radio, with CD/DVD player, USB and micro sd inputs, Bluetooth, and four speakers. I provide the original radio and original mechanic and electrical repair manuals. This GEM is in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and its value is $11,450. Serious interested buyers please call or text Ruben for additional information.”
The forgotten hot hatch: Have you ever owned or driven a Corolla FX-16 GTS?