We’re taking a break from the weird-‘n-wacky for this round of The Bid is Right. Our three previous picks skewed toward the esoteric; we’d be impressed if even a quarter of our contestants had heard of the Gordon-Keeble before our write-up, and you needed some commendable research skills if you sought to cast an educated guess for both the Competizione-spec Daytona and ultra-rare Austin-Healey 100S. In contrast, correctly guessing the final bid on this week’s 1987 Toyota Corolla GT-S should be easy money.
Maybe. Getting a grip on what the heck is going on within the Japanese collector car market is about as easy as finding another AE86 in this condition. Enthusiasts don’t seem to know what to do in this pressurized market; even as some market segments have begun to level out, values of Japanese cars from the 1980s and 1990s continue to soar upward at an alarming rate. This is to say nothing of the many big-money outliers that command a final price that’s sometimes double our projected value.
These firecracker sales are usually—usually—limited to squeaky-clean examples of cars that can be tricky to find in even “good” condition or in any condition at all. The 1992 Nissan Sentra SE-R featured in a previous Bid is Right contest is a good example.
This ‘Yota stands a great chance at being one of these eye-crossing sales. Head to the sale’s comment section if you need proof; both bidders and observers allude this might be the cleanest AE86 GT-S extant in North America on account of the Corolla’s proclivity for catastrophic deterioration. Between rust, Cash for Clunkers, and undue injury at the hand of wannabe drifters, the stock of presentable, unmodified Corollas from this generation might sit squarely in the double-digits—or less.
That’s a shame, since this little GT-S reminds us of a time when affordable rear-wheel drive sport coupes weren’t just available, but plentiful; in the 1980s, it was simpler to categorize automakers by who didn’t make sport coupes rather than who did. The Corolla GT-S was one of the better ones, offering a compact rear-wheel drive platform and rock-steady reliability from Toyota’s iconic 4A-GE twin-cam four-cylinder.
When new, it was a sports compact with universal appeal. Then, a starring role in the Initial D manga and anime series long after its discontinuation granted the AE86 platform near-mythic status within the JDM community. Legions of young nascent enthusiasts rendered each tired AE86 a rumply jumble of bashed panels, trashed interior, and thrashed mechanicals before tireless rust returned these worn-out coupes to the earth.
But not this one. According to the listing, this ’87 GT-S remained with its original owner in Quebec until acquired by the seller in May 2020, accumulating just 81,000 miles in the preceding 35 years. It remains in remarkable condition, right down to the clean upholstery and semi-sparkly undercarriage. The 1.6-liter four-cylinder and snappy five-speed manual transmission are reported to be in top-notch running condition, with the only modifications being a hi-flow cat and HKS exhaust.
It’s not perfect—a cracked dash and worn wheels make up the worst of it—but it’s preserved enough to potentially land as another sky-high outlier sale. Want some reference sales to shape your guesses? Tough. We’ll leave you to your own devices, but you should be used to that by now with The Bid is Right. If you think you’ve got the magic number in mind for the final bid—without going over, mind you—shoot your best shot in the comments below for your crack at the $500 pot.
- The commenter who guesses closest to the hammer price without going over wins. (Hammer price excludes auction house fees).
- One guess per commenter.
- If two people guess the same amount (within a dollar) the earlier guess wins.
- Commenters must provide first and last name in addition to email address.
- We will close the guessing on Monday, August 8th at 3:35 PM EST.
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A miiiilllllion dollars.
$51999. Nothing surprises me with auction sales anymore. Some wealthy person has fond memories of this vehicle.
My guess is $32,323, which will be 32k more than it’s worth! Ed
$ 18500 market dropped
$32.750 Neighbor had one of these new in the 80’s Always thought they were cool even back then😎
I’ll guess $24,500
I guess; $17,775.00
I would take it, but not for more than this. Sadly, it will go for stupid money, and no one but the seller will benefit….
That Corolla and it’s little brother of past years the Tercel could put 250 to 500k km On the odometer reliably , all you had to do was proper servicing.
Here’s a crazy story about one of these cars that is pretty interesting. I was a manager at at Toyota dealer at that time. My wife and I planned to spend the weekend at a nearby resort. I live in the Chicago area and it was the weekend of January 19th-20th 1985. It was bitterly cold that weekend. I has a red Toyota Corolla GTS for a Demo, just like the one for auction. When we got to the hotel on Friday I decided I would back into a parking space in the event I needed a jump on Sunday morning. The car was going to sit outside until Sunday. That Sunday Chicago reached a record low temperature of -27º degrees below zero! Not wind chill, actual temperature. That record still stands. Anyway, it’s Sunday morning and everyone has brunch and is checking out of the hotel. The women are huddled in the lobby as the men go out to attempt to start their cars. As they return the women are asking “did it start?” and the husbands are all shaking their heads “no”. A tow truck in out in the parking lot making a fortune jumping them one by one. I’ll never forget when i went out to the car. When I sat down it felt like the seats would crack they were so frozen. The engine BARELY turned over and immediately jumped to life! I couldn’t believe it and neither could anyone else in the lobby. I attribute my luck to the fact that the car had one of the first fuel injected engines at the time. The ride home was spooky, No one was on the road. A breakdown could be life-threatening. We didn’t have cellphones then. The tires were so hard it felt like I was riding on wooden wheels but we made it home safely.
OK.. my guess $23,000.
In today’s wacky market I am going to guess $38,800
I was a dealer service manager when these came out – and along with the early MR2 and the later KP 61 Starlets (4KE engine and 5 speed) these were FUN cars to drive for a reasonable price combined with high reliability. Sadly very few have survived – particularly clean low mileage ones
I have an 85 Supra with 78,000 miles. 👍
Bought used in 87 because I liked the style an my brother had an ‘84 GT-S! Fun to drive, though not exceptionally quick.
It’s a Corolla $33,225.00
August 7, at 11:08 pm
August 8, 2022, selling price $3752.00
I guess $37,850