Junkyard Find: 1990 Toyota Corolla GT-S

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1990 toyota corolla gt s

You’re not going to find a rear-wheel-drive AE86-platform Corolla GT-S in a low-priced self-service wrecking yard, not these days. The later front-wheel-drive Corolla GT-S FX16 shows up in such yards every now and then, but the AE92 version of the GT-S that followed isn’t seen quite as often. Here’s one that I found in the San Francisco Bay Area last month.

The 4A-GE engine was up to 115 horsepower by this time. These cars were quick for their time.

The Geo Storm GSi had 15 more horsepower and weighed about the same as the Corolla, but there’s the whole Isuzu-versus-Toyota build-quality thing to consider there.

In Japan, where this car was known as the Sprinter Trueno, the marketing seems to have been focused on, what, ballroom dancing?

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  • Genetxs Genetxs on Oct 12, 2012

    I have a 1990 gts "red top". I picked it up for $500, put a new clutch in, installed timing belt, and put new brakes on it.I have been driving it every day for 2 years now. It will do 100mph in third gear, not bad for a 32 mpg car. Mine also red lines around 8500.

  • Power6 Power6 on Oct 15, 2012

    I was a big fan of the AE92 GT-S. I even tried to locate one years ago and even then they were rare to find used, good luck finding the later 130HP version. I ended up with an MX-6 GT Turbo. This car, like another of my favorites, the late 2.0L Sunbird or Skyhawk Turbo, were slow sellers when new, impossible to find now because they were never worth preserving.

  • Lou_BC VW has had a stellar reputation with their electronics and now they go full EV. What's not to like? ;)
  • MaintenanceCosts "roughly the same external footprint as a two-row VW Atlas Cross Sport but with - per a VW rep - more interior capacity than the three-row Atlas."And this is why I'm kind of intrigued by this little van, even though for me it's in spite of, not because of, the retro styling and Type 2 nostalgia.
  • Ajla From what I can see in the NHTSA data nontire part failures make up about .5% of reported crashes and aren't listed as a cause in the fatal accident reports. While we've all seen hoopties rolling around I'm guessing they don't go far or fast enough for many negative outcomes to occur from their operation.While I wouldn't want to be in that .5% I'd also want to avoid a "Bear Patrol" situation. When it comes to road safety nontire part failures are more like animal attacks while aggressive or impaired driving are heart disease and cancer.
  • Art Vandelay On the right spec truck, that is a screaming bargain for the price. And you can buy it safe knowing that as it is a Ford you'll never have your vehicle's good name sullied by seeing EBFlex and Tassos puffing each other's peters in one...a nice bonus to the horsepower!
  • Art Vandelay Too small for Tassos and EBFlex to puff each other's peters in.