Imagine you’re stepping out of your favorite coffee shop early one morning. You take a deep breath of the crisp, clean air, and turn down the sidewalk to begin a highly productive day. You feel good! Today is going to be focused, full of achievement, and deeply satisfying—you might even get that long-avoided expense report done. Suddenly, the piercing sound of a four-cylinder engine banging off its rev-limiter fills your ears, along with some tire squeal.
“What’s that?” someone yells, “Look out for that Corolla!” exclaims another bystander.
Yep—this Toyota Corolla would play nicely in that entirely imagined scenario. It’s a 1985 Corolla GT-S, and it’s got a sweetheart of an engine and the personality to match. It’s currently up for sale on Bring a Trailer with three days left in the auction. And the price is already north of five figures.
Upon further inspection, it’s not hard to see why. Although this isn’t a real-deal Trueno, the car made famous by Takumi Fujiwara in the popular anime show Initial D, this red example sports Japanese-market bumper covers, a Trueno front lip, and more.
Inside, the sleepy ‘80s maroon-faded-to-brick padded front seats have been replaced with screaming red TRD buckets. A gorgeous leather-wrapped Nardi steering wheel replaces the original one.
But the appeal here is more than skin deep—pop the hood, and you’ll find one of Toyota’s sweetest engines ever nestled carefully between the braced strut towers. The 1.6-liter 4A-GE inline four in this Corolla is a rebuilt engine that now features forged rods and pistons, a lightweight flywheel, a ported and polished head, and special camshafts and valve springs. Not to mention the individual throttle bodies with velocity stacks and foam cleaners.
The other mechanical bits have been similarly massaged—Tokico shocks, Swift springs, strut tower braces, roll-bars, the whole shebang. Wilwood four-piston calipers and oversized rotors sit at all four corners, ensuring this little fella could stop on a dime.
Maybe the best part about this one comes with a closer examination of the odometer—this thing has 258,000 miles on it. We tip our hat (or our helmet) to anyone willing to drive such an exciting piece of Japanese car history this much, especially as market tastes change, and cars like this become more desirable. We hope the next owner will continue to do the same.
Today, Corollas are not typically thought of as premier sports cars with lithe handling and delightful engine sounds, but this cheery example from 1985 is a reminder of all that was once pure good in the world. Won’t you consider adding such a vehicle to your stable this holiday season?