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About Bernard Bolisig

Bernard Bolisig is a new-school enthusiast with a fascination for Japanese vehicles and trends. An Internet gearhead that’s worked in the performance aftermarket for a few years, Bernard really appreciates a modified car with a nice balance of show and go. You’ll likely hear him chime in about the JDM lifestyle or maybe about the STi’s and A4’s he annihilated with his AE86 at a local auto-x, or perhaps his secret infatuation with Detroit muscle.

Posts by Bernard

1984-1989 Toyota MR2

MR2 2

On my first Car Lust blog post, I had to introduce myself with a car near and dear to my heart, the 1985-87 Toyota Corolla GT-S (RWD please, not the “cute” FX GT-S). Fast-forward to today; I haven’t driven the Corolla in months due to another quirky, mid-1980s Toyota acquisition: a first-generation Toyota MR2.

Owning one of these is really a unique experience. It’s just one of those semi-old-school Japanese, timeless cars that you see once in a while. Other than sharing the 4AG motor, rear-wheel driving pleasure, and flip light characteristics with the AE86, the first-generation MR2 really has its own character. Of course, it just depends who you ask. Sometimes I get the: “OMG, my mom had one of those cute little cars ... ”  Other times I get the “REALLY poor man’s Ferrari” comment. On a good day, an enthusiast will tell me that he’s won a few trophies from auto-crossing with one in the early 1990s. 

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1985-87 Toyota Corolla GT-S

289282405_0b4a33ab59With my initial disappointment from the latest news and pictures on the Toyota/Subaru front-engine RWD coupe, I feel that an “appreciation” blog post is due for the car that I [pretend to] know a lot about: the 1985-87 Toyota Corolla GT-S (a.k.a. AE86).

Sure, maybe I’ll change my mind when the production Toybaru/Subayota hits the streets. After all, the early hype on this new coupe did have some hints toward the “resurgence of the AE86.” But in the meantime, I won’t hold my breath.

To appreciate the Corolla GT-S’s original form, let’s take a trip back to 1985.  Years before drifting hit mainstream, before there were Japanese cartoons about driving a “hachiroku” to deliver tofu, heck - when the only place to find a 4-valve-per-cylinder engine was in a Ferrari or Lotus. So what if the Corolla was only a 4-banger with 112 horsepower? It was lightweight, aerodynamic (yay! popup headlights!), had 4-wheel disc brakes, and best all - rear wheel drive. 0-60 in 8.9 seconds wasn’t exactly mind-numbing, but you sure thought you were going fast with a 7500 RPM redline! After all, the 4A-GE engine wasn’t designed to be high horsepower motor, but rather, a high-efficiency power plant to utilize a sub-2400 lb vehicle. With killer throttle response and “practical performance” (about 30 MPG on average), it’s no wonder that a variation of the 4A-GE motor was the engine of choice for the Formula Atlantic Series for a number of years.

For you Toyota enthusiasts out there, I am fully aware that the AE86 chassis doesn’t just cover the GT-S trim line. But let’s save the Corolla SR5’s SOHC carbed weaksauceness of 87hp for Chris’ Car Disgust blogs. Until the next affordable, lightweight Toyota front-engine RWD coupe or hatchback car gets produced, let’s keep appreciating this piece of Japanese history and benchmark. Many enthusiasts say it’s too late to find one at a good price due to the JDM-appeal, anime exposure, or drifting hype, but if you can find one in good condition at a bargain – it may not be a bad idea to get your cheapo hands on a quasi-collector car.

Photo is from Flickr user Bokchoys.

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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