Monday, February 16, 2015

2k: Hatchback Flashback: 1986 Toyota Corolla FX-16

 On the Toyota website, the soggy vanilla wafer favored Corolla is given the tag line "Elevate your drive" -- a subtle acknowledgement that even if you are staring at your hand for five minutes high on rubber cement fumes, you won't have fun in a Corolla.  The depicted urban youngsters getting coffee, hitting up gourmet food trucks, or fluffing their fros aren't old enough to remember that the Corolla wasn't always mood killing penalty box with all the joie de vivre of Kristen Stewart in her latest vampire flick. It was once a fun little corner carver that perked up an enthusiast's head with names like AE86 Levin, Sprinter Trueno, or the FX-16 hatchback version.  Find this 1986 Toyota Corolla FX-16 GT-S offered for $2,300 in the Maple Leaf community of Seattle, WA.  Tip from Gianni!


This will be as much a surprise to you as it does to me, but we've never featured a FX-16 Corolla here on DT.  For whatever reason the hatchback GTI competitor has never been under the focus of our powerful microscope, but let's take a look.



The FX-16 shares its engine/transmission with the mid-engine MR-2, but in the Corolla it is mounted ahead of the driver and powers the front wheels.  The 4AGE inline-4 is a 16-valve DOHC screamer good for 112 horsepower and mated to a 5-speed transmission.

See another car we've missed over the years? tips@dailyturismo.com

16 comments:

  1. Nice find DT, despite the miles. But I'm surprised that you didn't go for this one. Seems like more your cup of sake.

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    1. That thing deserves a feature!!!

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    2. K2/Andy -- That thing has been for sale since at least a year ago.
      -Vince

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    3. Why doesn't that surprise me?

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  2. I went and checked one of these out about a month ago. What a blast! Small, tight and loves to rev. Would have made a great daily driver if the wife hadn't shot down my dreams....

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  3. I saw this ad the other day when I was doing my daily Alfa search of the local CL. Wish I had the garage space (and money) as it is 10 miles down the road from me. Read the ad, it looks like the kind of seller you want to buy from. Plus he's selling to make room for an Alfa. I know the feeling, I sold the GTI since the GTV was getting really jealous of all the attention the GTI was getting.

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    1. Gianni -- sorry, forgot to put the tip shout out. Fixed! I too noticed the "make room for an Alfa" comment and thought it might be someone who reads this site...or should read it!
      -Vince

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Not much on those white Enkei wheels, though they are period.

    As far as the car goes - the Corolla FX was I think the first US-built Toyota, and it suffered a bit from the US parts suppliers providing the same trash-grade stuff they were used to selling Detroit, and it was also early in Toyota's transition to FWD.

    For what it was it was a nice product, maybe not quite as tight as the mk1 Rabbit GTI but a nicer powertrain, great shifter, great seating position and visibility.

    At two grand I'd grab this thing tomorrow if I weren't already swamped.

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    1. After reading the ad - yeah, I'd buy this thing. He wants $600 extra for the Enkeis and as far as I'm concerned he can keep them, the car needs some 205/50-15s RE11s anyway.

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    2. Think Miata 15x6s drop right on to FWD Toyotas of that vintage, readily available and cheap, swallow a 205/50-15 quite nicely.

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  6. These appeared to have everything needed to match or exceed the VW GTI at the time, even a twin cam 16v engine (which the GTI didn't have until a year later). They only missed the mark in one major area...looks.

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    1. Relative to the competition of the time - particularly the Mk2 GTI - was it really short on looks?

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    2. I think so. The GTI had a better butt. This one is like a flat slab of plastic. All the sharp angles didn't age well either.

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  7. This car is back for sale on CL. Unfortunately the person who bought it had both CV joints go and take a chunk of the tranny with it. So now it leaks and you have to top it off. The best part is that this incident has apparently added $300 of value of the car since the February ad of the previous owner...

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