1986 Toyota Corolla CS Hatch (AE80) 1.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Ever killed one of these? I almost have.


A seal on the clutch slave cylinder developed a leak at 181,000km.

The CV joints appear to be failing, they started to make grinding noises at 186,000km.

The hydraulic lifters sound seriously ill.

Excessive pinging on regular (91 octane) unleaded.

All door locks are broken, the hatch and the ignition barrels are badly worn. So much so that you can use a rusty bread knife as a spare key.

Cooling system is badly corroded and has a small leak.

Driver's seat is a little saggy at the bottom.

Synchromesh on second gear has all but disintergrated.

HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) system no longer fully operational.

Standard Toyota-issue rust around the fuel filler cap.

General Comments:

In short:

This particular example appears to be very tired. Even so, it feels like it will still plod along for a few more years before it puffs and wheezes for its last time.

The long version:

This was the cheapest Corolla of this age and series that I could find, but it also seems to be the nastiest. Given more time and money I could have found a much better one.

The Good:

Unburstable reliability. Despite this car living anything, but a pampered life, this little beast just will not curl up and die.

Great handling. The AE80/AE82 Corollas were the first of the FWD Corollas that we all know and love today. The steering is quite light and precise, cornering ability is very good and the whole car has an air of agility to it.

Fuel economy is quite good, 8l/100km in the city and around 6l/100km on the highway are fairly reasonable expectations.

Interior space is excellent. I'm sure that this car was owned by at least one sumo wrestler in its time, as the driver's seat is very saggy around the bot. Nothing that an old pillow and a car seat cover didn't fix, though.

The Bad:

Engine is slightly underpowered. The 1.3 engine struggles a tad, and seems to wear more quickly than the 1.6 engines. Symptoms of wear with this engine include some minor oil burning, excessive pinging on regular and noisy lifters/tappets. It's probably an easy rebuild, but even if this particular example was worth preserving (see below) it would be an excellent opportunity to install a 1.6 instead.

General Toyota rust, plus some extra bonus rust in the A-Pillar. Unfortunately, this makes spending money on this particular example something of a futile exercise.

These cars might be just TOO reliable. Many Toyota buyers don't even realise they need to put oil and coolant into their cars - they are that reliable that they only exhibit signs of pain after around a dozen years or so of total neglect.

In Conclusion:

Corolla - When it's good, it's very very good. When it's bad, it's still usually OK. Does anyone want to buy a cheap, slightly used 1986 Corolla? :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd June, 2002

31st Dec 2003, 17:21

Regular 91 octane? Last time I checked 91 octane was super premium, regular gas is 87 octane...

10th Jul 2010, 05:08

In response to the comment on the 31st of December.

The reviewer was referring to Regular Unleaded petrol, with an octane of 91 RON. This equates to 87 pump octane (AKI) in North American speak.

91 pump octane (AKI) equates to 95 RON.

1986 Toyota Corolla GL 1.3 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Economical, perfect student car


Alternator needed reconditioning.

Idle-compensator not working (but not essential)

Rust in door arches, around windscreen and back passenger windows.

General Comments:

A very reliable car.

Extremely cheap to run (800kms on one tank of petrol on the open road).

Reluctantly sold due to rust.

Can go just about anywhere!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2002

1986 Toyota Corolla (AE86) GT 1.6 (4AGE) from UK and Ireland


Not cheap, but cheerful!!!


Not a thing.

Just standard service parts.

General Comments:

I utterly adore this car. OK, I was a bit sceptical of Corolla 's before, especially the boring "DX" And "GL" derivations, but this car is an absolute joy. It isn't outright quick compared with other GTi's, but it's rev happy engine ensures grins all the way. At idle, and in neutral, it will rev up to red-line in less than a second. Combine that with a slip diff on the rear axle and the car's rear will step out without much provocation!! :)

Now the downside... RUST!!!

Like all "Cam's" rust has set in on the rear wheel arches and 1/4 panels.

Working on the car is handy enough, although ECUs are thing that I have yet to master, although there ARE plans for a 150bhp 4AGE 20v!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th August, 2001

2nd Sep 2002, 09:11

WOW! this guy is so right. Corolla's with that sweet 4age engine are a gem! Incidentally they were the 1st twin cam 16valve engine to go into mass production. Rock on bro!

29th Sep 2002, 10:13

"I just bought a 86 GT-S five spd... for $500.00 with over

350.000 clicks on it... It's a total pleasure to drive.

13th Mar 2011, 12:29

The above comment is not true. Fiat offered twin cam engines on all models as early as the mid 60s, and of course, the 4cylinder versions were 16v.

Also it's worth noting that the variable intake ducting that is featured in this car has been available on at least one European since the 1920s!