Junkyard Treasure: 1987 Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S

It was built just a few freeway exits away from this junkyard, at the plant where Teslas are made now.

In 1987, Toyota shoppers could buy a rear-wheel-drive AE86 Corolla GT-S with the same engine as this front-wheel-drive AE82.

Not quite 200,000 miles on the clock at the time of its demise.

This car has the factory-installed Fun Limiter.

1987 was a bit of a strange year for the US-market Corolla, with both the front-wheel-drive AE82 Corolla FX16 GT-S and the rear-wheel-drive AE86 Corolla GT-S (each equipped with the same engine) available side-by-side at dealerships. The AE82 GT-S, which is what we’ve got for today’s Junkyard Treasure, competed for sales with such hot hatches as the Volkswagen GTI, Isuzu I-Mark Turbo and Dodge Omni GLHS. These cars haven’t got much of a following today, which is why I see them in places like this wrecking yard in San Jose, California.

Before it was NUMMI, the New United Motor plant was GM’s Fremont Assembly.

US-market FX16 Corollas were built at the New United Motor Manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, also known as NUMMI. This car was built just about 15 miles from its final parking space, a quick jaunt up I-880 to what’s now the Tesla Factory.

This engine also went into the Toyota MR2.

While the 1.6-liter 4A-GE engine in this car made just 112 horsepower, that was enough to make the lightweight FX16 good and quick by 1987 standards. It would hold its own against its GTI rival, and Toyota build quality kept it out of the shop. Unfortunately for this car, its original buyer opted to ruin it with an automatic transmission.

By the standards of 1987 Japanese sporty cars, this badging is pretty sedate. That’s Toyota for you.

Still, this car is a genuine, numbers-matching GT-S, from the era when Corollas weren’t thought of just as tedious commuter cars that run for 500,000 miles.

16-valve quick. Tires that stick. Four-wheel-disc equipped.

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