The Corolla AE92 GT-S Project

A website about my ongoing project

Nederlandse vlag Engelse vlag

The car

Some of you might not know the Corolla Coupé as described on this website. Then I guess you're not from North America or Japan. Because those are the only parts of the world where this car was officially sold through the Toyota dealer networks.

And even those very different markets had some very big differences in the models of the exact same car. So I'll try to shed some light on the origin of the Toyota Corolla AE92 coupé on this page.


But first, I'll tell some more about the Corolla E9 series in general.


Build between 1988 and 1992, the Corolla E90 series was the 6th reincarnation of the successful Corolla model range.

Where some models of it's predecessor (the E80 series) still used rear wheel drive, the E90 series was the first generation Corolla that was only available with front wheel or all wheel drive.

Here in the Netherlands, the Corolla was available as a 3-or-5 door hatchback, a liftback, sedan and wagon variant.

Both the sedan and the wagon were available as 4WD and the hatchback and liftback versions were also available in a spicy GTi trim.

But the hatchback and liftback versions were sold most by far her in the Netherlands.


Toyota Corolla 5- door hatchback  Toyota Corolla 3-door hatchback GTi


Toyota Corolla 4WD wagon  Toyota Corolla liftback


Toyota Corolla wagon  Toyota Corolla sedan

The different Toyota Corolla E90 series variants, as sols in the Netherlands .


Here in the Netherlands, if you went to a Toyota dealer somewhere between 1988 and 1992 with the intention to buy a brand new Corolla, you were given the choice from 4 different engines. A 1300cc 12V petrol engine (engine code 2E-E), a 1800cc diesel engine (engine code 1C) and 2 different 1600cc 16V petrol engines (engine codes 4A-F(E) and the legendary 4A-GE).


Then there were different trim levels to choose from. The XL(i) was the entry level model with a whole list of available options to add to the car.

The GL(i) was a bit further up the ladder and had a few of those options as standard. The top of the line however was the GTi. But the Dutch importer saw a gap in those trim levels that they wanted to fill. That's why they introduced the GTSi. This was basically a XLi model with the spoiler package of the GTi and some nice sporty  interior trim to distinguish it from the rest.


As is tradition with Toyota, the E90 received a midlife facelift to freshen it up a little, incorporate technical changes and boost sales again.

So in 1990, the Toyota dealers had a slightly altered Corolla in their showrooms. The changes where only subtle like the new company logo in the grille (The 3 ellipses), a different front bumper and some other minor changes to interior upholstery, etc.

Technically, the carbureted 4A-F engine was dropped in favor of the 4A-FE which was the same engine but now with Electronic Fuel Injection as standard. 


Now that we all know which Corolla's we had on my home market, we can get back to the car that was missing from the model lineup thus far: The coupé model.


As said before, the coupé model was only sold by Toyota in the Japanese home market and in North America (which includes Canada). In the United States and Canada, the coupé was sold under the Corolla model name and was available in two trim levels. There was the SR5 entry level model and the sportier GT-S model.


Where the SR5 had to make do with the carbureted 4A-F engine, rear drum brakes and no external alterations. The GT-S got the 4A-GE engine, disc brakes all around, a sporty interior with extra gauges and a bodykit with a spoiler on the boot lid and sideskirts.

To comply to US regulations, Toyota had to make some alterations to the cars compared to the Japanese cars.

US models had sidemarker lighting, different door mirrors and different front and rear bumpers. There were more  strict emission legislation in the US so the US models often have less power than the Corolla's in other parts of the world. Another weird fact is that the US coupé models didn't get a mid-life facelift, where the Japanese models did.  


Toyota Corolla SR5  Toyota Corolla GT-S 

The Toyota Corolla SR5 en GT-S as sold in the US and Canada.


Now, the Japanese market is a little bit more difficult to understand. The same car was sold under multiple model names there and with dedicated stores for a specific model.

I'll try to explain how that worked.


In Japan, Toyota sold cars through several dealer networks. The Toyota Corolla Store focused on the more main stream economical models whereas the Toyota Vista Stores mainly sold more luxurious and high end models.

The Corolla stores were only allowed to sell cars with the Corolla model name. But if you alter that same car a little, call it a 'Sprinter' and suddenly, the Vista stores were allowed to sell them too.


So the same car could be sold in different model variants under different model names via different dealer networks.

Under the Corolla model name, the coupé was sold as Corolla Levin

Under the Sprinter model name, the coupé was sold as Sprinter Trueno


The biggest difference between the two is that the Corolla Levin has a 'regular' front with headlights and a grille, whereas the Sprinter Trueno had a more sleek appearance with pop-up headlights.


Toyota Sprinter Trueno (zenki)  Toyota Corolla Levin GT-Z (zenki)

The Toyota Sprinter Trueno and Toyota Corolla Levin as sold in Japan in the period 1988 to 1990.


In Japan the E90 series cars also got a mid-life facelift to make them look a little sharper and appeal to potential buyers. They even have a name for face lifted cars and cars from before the facelift. Car from before the facelift are named Zenki. Cars from after the facelift are known as Kouki cars.  


The Japanese cars also got some external changes to freshen them up a little. The main changes were made to the bumpers and some of the lighting.


Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Z (kouki)  Toyota Corolla Levin (kouki)

The Toyota Sprinter Trueno and Toyota Corolla Levin as sold in Japan in the period 1990 to 1992.


There were several trim levels of these cars. The GT, GT-V, GT-Apex and GT-Z. The GT-Z was very easily recognized as it came equipped with the supercharged 4A-GZE. To provide good airflow to the intercooler they had a air scoop fitted to the bonnet. So in the pictures above, the cars with the hood scoops are GT-Z trim cars.  


I hope I was able to tell you guys more about the E90 series cars and the differences in markets around the world. Just to be clear: My car started out life as a Toyota Corolla AE92 GT-S that was made for the US market.