GTI Alternative: 1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S

Seller hyperbole about a certain car being rare because it’s the only one on eBay at the moment is a pet peeve of mine, but I’ll allow it for an original Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S hatchback. In fact, the last one I recall seeing was one belonging to none other than Jesse and Josh here at Barn Finds, when they sold their minty example last year. This white Arizona car here on eBay isn’t nearly as nice, but given how hard these hot hatches are to find, I’m just glad it’s not rusty and currently bidding quite cheaply. 

Literally, the last time I spotted one of these in the flesh was in a self-service salvage yard near Baltimore, Maryland. It broke my heart as the FX16 was in fine condition, and the sport bucket seats were some of the nicest I have ever sat in. Those were specific to the FX16, along with the full aero kit containing side skirts and painted mudflaps; a firmer suspension; and the company’s venerable DOHC four-cylinder good for about 120 b.h.p., more than enough in a lightweight hatch like this.

The 4A-GE twin cam is a popular motor among tuners, which makes it a major coup that this one hasn’t been tuned up or hacked apart. Still, the seller notes some issues including that it blows smoke out the exhaust after it warms up, which could be a sign of failing seals. The seller also notes that the idle fluctuates and the clutch is just about fried. But here’s the reason we’re all still listening: it’s stock. It hasn’t been given the Fast & The Furious treatment like so many of these super fun GTI alternatives.

The seller’s listing doesn’t have any photos of the interior, but it sounds based on the description to be about as tired as you’d expect an ’80s economy car that’s lived in Arizona’s dry-but-sun-intensive climate. I’m shocked these GT-S models have stayed as cheap as they have for so long, especially while the second generation GTI continues to rise in price for good, unmodified examples. This one will need some love of the cosmetic and mechanical kind, but this being a Toyota, it likely won’t bleed you dry after that first mechanical refresh is done.


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    sorry if i were to want a car such as this i’ll buy an omni glh

    • dan

      lol worst car ever omni

  2. Cliff

    There are many pictures of the underside and interior in the listing, very clean interior, except for the steering wheel!

  3. BarnfindyCollins

    A nifty little rocket this car is. I used to have a friendly challenge 25 years ago between my ’88 Mazda GTX and an owner of one of these. We nicknamed him Industrial Stink Bill. His name was Bill, he looked like he went to raves and jammed euro music, and his car went like stink. These cars were made at the Freemont, California plant jointly owned by GM and Toyota. Same plant made front wheel drive Novas, Prizms, Corollas, and others like the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix. About 10 years ago the plant was sold to Tesla. Nice to see one of these here. Thank you.

    Like 1
  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    These were one of the great hot hatches of the 1980s.

    I recently wrote a story for the NZ Vintage Car Club’s magazine on ‘ten collectable cars for young enthusiasts’, and the FXGT was one that I noted was worth a look.

    Perhaps this one is, too?

  5. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking car. While I’ve always loved the VW Golf/Rabbit/GTI, being a Toyota driver, this looks more practical and more reliable. My only peeve is that it was never available in 4 door hatchback style, unlike the Golf/Rabbit.

  6. Redragula

    A co-worker had an 88 base FX with the original am stereo radio. The sound was incredible, even better than the fm side. Too bad it never took off

  7. Superdessucke

    What a fun looking little bleep box! I’d love to have this to beat around a bit, though I don’t think I’d have the sack to drive it from Tucson to Chicago.

  8. John

    Lots of interior photos on listing. Question for seller- any rust or rot on car?

  9. sofst1

    This one is a nice starter kit with some work to do , thanks to Jesse and Josh for the black one they sold to me last year. Just to let you know it’s still going strong and is a joy to drive , don’t worry it’s in good hands which means no crazy mods just keeping it stock , got it parked next to my MR 2.

  10. Todd Zuercher

    Doesn’t look too bad interior-wise for a 30+ year old car here in AZ. Steering wheel is pretty crusty but otherwise pretty good. I wonder if the tach is stuck.

  11. angliagt angliagt Member

    I think I’ll hold out for a Nova Twin Cam.All were Black,
    & imported from Fremont,CA,& were faster than an FX 16.

  12. Ron

    Admin here for Toyota Corolla FX fx16 fx16 GTS owners group on Facebook heres mine …

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