Barn Find Hot Hatch: 1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 GTS

Here’s a rare survivor from the hot hatch hall of fame: a 1987 Toyota Corolla FX-16 GTS. Now, when I say survivor, I don’t mean unmolested; I simply mean it survived the era wherein cars like this were relentlessly customized and then left for dead. The FX-16 is choice for you if you’re thirsty for a car from the peak of the hot hatch era that isn’t a GTI, and while this one is tired cosmetically, it’s almost bone stock save for a period-correct strut bar. The listing notes this Corolla is rust-free and has 184,000 miles on the clock. The seller is asking $1,500 here on craigslist in Eugene, Oregon.

This FX-16 wears the best color combo, which was white with a subtle red pinstripe. The bodywork is sound, even if the paint is tired, and all of the original body kit remains intact. This includes side skirts and a rear hatch spoiler, along with color-matched mudflaps and a front air dam. The GT-S and FX-16 decals are heavily faded, but still legible on the rear hatch glass. While the steel wheels are a bit unsightly, there are numerous OEM upgrades available, and practically anything from the contemporary MR2 looks fantastic on an FX-16. Like all vintage cars from Oregon, this FX-16 has managed to escape the sort of rust issues that sent all of these cars to the scrapyard in the Northeast.

This is a public service announcement: sit in these seats at least once, even if you don’t buy the car. I had the pleasure of sitting in a junked FX-16 a few years back and was blown away by how comfortable the seats were. The good news is, despite its years off the road and 184,000 miles on the clock, the interior is still in very respectable condition with no major rips or tears in the seat, and just some basic wear marks to distract from an otherwise clean cabin. The dash does sport some weird alterations, like some toggle switches and auxiliary gauges. The steering wheel is certainly an aftermarket job, and the shifter assembly seems lower than normal – so perhaps, a shift kit?

While we may give (well deserved) credit to the Honda S2000 and Civic Si for being redline abusers, cars like the Corolla FX-16 GTS set the stage early, redlining at a bonkers-for-the-era 7,500 RPMs. Power was modest at 108 b.h.p., but so was the curb weight, so the high-strung hatchback made the most of its roaring horses. The seller reports the FX-16 hasn’t run in years and is missing parts like the airflow meter and distributor cap. The title is clean, and again, given how hard it is to find a genuine FX-16 GT-S in stock, restorable condition like this, the seller’s asking price seems more than fair for the iconic Toyota hot hatch you’re getting.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Imported from Fremont,California.These were built
    at the same factory that now makes Teslas.
    I test drove a used GTS when it was a few years old.
    I was impressed that it would just keep revving higher & higher.
    It felt like a bigger version (with a better engine)of the Ford Fiesta
    that I had at the time.They were asking more than I was willing
    to pay at the time.
    Some years later,I found it sitting in front of their house,
    in non-running condition.I offered to haul it off (for free),but was
    told that a Brother-in-Law was going to get it.
    I was really irritated when I saw it at the local wrecking yard.

    Like 9
  2. Raymond L Saunders

    Goofy then, goofy now….

    Like 1
    • ace10

      You spelled “awesome” wrong…

      Like 8
  3. Steve R

    I’m surprised someone hasn’t bought it already. It’s not much money for a rarely seen, yet desirable Japanese performance model. If this was a rear wheel drive Corolla GTS, it would have sold instantly.

    Steve R

    Like 4
  4. ace10

    For the lone year of 1987, these were the top of the heap. Then came the Honda duo.

    Would absolutely love to find a pristine survivor!

    Like 3
  5. Doyler

    Ugh. Want this sooooo bad,

    If someone wants to take my FJ project off my hands, I can grab this.

    Like 1
    • MarkC

      I’ll take your fj

  6. nlpnt

    It’s too bad the alloy wheels that were part of the GT-S package are gone but at least the steelies are clean, and silver which looks 100% more finished and intentional than black steelies. I’d be tempted to try and find a set of small center caps from an 8v Corolla FX/base FX16.

  7. Roy Blankenship

    My girlfriend at the time had one of these, it was BADASS. It defines the word “pocket rocket”.

  8. Stephen

    This is a perfect car for a 20V Blacktop engine swap. Super nice.

  9. Patrickj Member

    Scraping the bottom of the barrel. What a piece of crap

  10. Ira Rosenbaum

    I had an 87 Fx16 w/ auto. It was a great performer and a joy to drive. My wife and I took a lot of road trips in it. Our teenage sons were always trying to commandeer it. They were relegated to our Tercel.

  11. Beel

    I had a new 86 MR2. My girlfriend had an opportunity to buy a slightly used FX16, maybe also an 87. I recommended she do so because it was the same engine as mine. She loved the car and drove it for years. I agree the styling was questionable, but that high-revving engine more than made up for that!

  12. John C.

    Rare Toyota model, you can bet the Latino boys will jump on this one, these cars look good “hooked up” as they say!

  13. PeterfromOz

    We purchased a 94 Corolla in 1/95 and are still driving it. It is a 4-door automatic with same engine in the photos above. It was sold in Australia as a rebadged Holden Nova SLX. Our car has travelled 160,000km and is in top condition only needing a cut back & polish. It is ultra reliable and doesn’t use any oil noticeable on the dipstick. My mother used it to drive local around Sydney City and to golf. We chose the Toyota/Holden because her golf sticks and buggy would fit in the rear hatch. One of my daughters has now been using it in a country town about 500 miles from me. All I would do to service it is to travel to see her once a year and change the oil and oil filter. The only failure the car has had is to blow one head light bulb. We are planning to sell it soon and I gave my daughter my Subaru and drove the Toyota/Holden back to Sydney and it returned 39mpg (US converted) with full load cruising at 60mph. We are only selling it as my wife won’t allow me to keep too many cars. Nevertheless, the car has delivered outstanding performance compared to more modern vehicles. It is light and nimble. One of my other daughters used to steer it with the palms of her hand while fanning out all of her fingers and thumbs so as to let her nail polish dry.

    Like 3
  14. Rod Plapp

    I found these ugly when I sold them brand new.Haven’t changed my mind. I did have a new aqua blue MR-2 in 85 though.Wish I still had that car.

    Like 1
    • Biil

      A friend of mine bought the blue 85 MR2 new. That was the final push to get mine, a forest green 86. I know what you mean about missing that car.

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