Toyota FX GT 1987, the forgotten AE86 Cousin!


Published on March 13th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Toyota FX GT 1987, the forgotten AE86 Cousin!

Many of you might NOT know of the existence of this hot hatch but we have been following the owner of one unit for some years and he has never been keen to part with his FX at any price. Now years later this car has disappeared and we want to find out if there are any others in Malaysia.

This Toyota is a direct competitor to the legendary Honda Civic Si and Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTI. The FX was the last of the Toyota hot hatches. Under the bonnet sits the legendary 4AGE engine with 1587cc which is good for 120bhp and a 0-100km/h dash in 9.1seconds. This may sound a tad slow for you but remember, the year was 1987, some 29 years ago and the hottest hatchback in town was the VW Golf GTi Mk2 with a 1.8 liter engine that did the 0-100km/h dash in 8.9 seconds. Just 0-2 seconds faster!

The 4AGE is in a belt driven 16 valve twin cam configuration, running multi-point fuel injection. All engines were produced in transverse configuration with a transaxle, with the exception of the early (1983-87) RWD units fitted to some Corolla GTs, Levins, Truenos and Celicas. These engines are becoming increasingly rare but remain the easiest option for RWD installation, despite the fact that they produce less horsepower than later models and are all getting pretty tired by now. The saving grace is that all later generations of the engine will literally bolt up to a RWD gearbox, opening up the availability of a wide range of power outputs.

This engine, right out of the box, could hit an incredible 7,500 rpm and an incredible grin on the driver driving the car. Given Toyota’s reputation for over-engineering their engines, this little gem served as the building block for numerous performance parts. With an emphasis on a simple design the engine has also proven to be extremely reliable and incredibly easy to maintain and modify. The engine can easily be modified to be competitive in just about every race category that the owner wants to enter. The cars have been successful contenders in road, rally and autocross racing.

If there is a Toyota FX GT for sale then you need to do a close examination to ensure you are not getting an abused one. First thing to look out for is rust. Major rust areas are wheel arches, inside the rear boot compartment, bottom of the door panels and rear quarter sections. The low-slung bonnet attracts its fair share of paint chips.

Avoid cars that have been in serious accidents; check door and panel gaps and over spray in engine bay and luggage area for signs of bad and cheap repairs. The original Toyota twin-cam engine is bullet proof and should be good for at least 300,000km provided regular services have been carried out. It is not uncommon for Toyota engines that have been well looked after to reach 300,000km without a major overhaul. The camshaft drive belt should be changed at 100,000km; if it breaks valves may tangle with pistons and better to look for a replacement engine in a junkyard than to repair. The five-speed manual transmission should be smooth and trouble-free. Rear tyres have a tendency to wear a lot faster than front ones, even when driven gingerly as wheel spins can be generated with minimal effort.

Early 1987 models came with cloth trim interior that mostly wear well, but after 28 years or more on the road there will be high wear and this is normal.  In 1987, the FX GT came with the striped cloth trim and some of these cars might still have the original trim. It will be grey cloth. Damaged interior trim like cracked plastics, or saggy dashboards are difficult to replace and expensive, unless really cheap to buy better to avoid.

I would suggest a price of between RM12,000 – RM15,000 for a well looked after unit and if worse for wear then better avoid. Sounds like a lot of money for a car older than most of us and with no possible loan, but you must remember that it will hardly lose its value in coming years and the joy of Toyota performance in a light chassis is hard to be found in a modern car today.

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