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Did a little googling but could not determine if there were/are any differences between the two years or are they alike until 88.5?
 

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That depends on when the first registration in North America was made.
If the grill is all metal then look closely to see if it is 1.0 not 1.3.
If it has a 1.0 engine then the tranny and T/C is different. One quick way to know that, is to see if the e brake is on a drum at the front of the rear driveshaft or on the rear brake drums.
There are many mix ups about 86's that were listed as 'early' 87s and there are 88's with square dash holes.
Close inspection will tell you if the measurement between wheels on one axle is narrow (as on the early 86) or same width as the 87 Sami.
If you are not familiar with Samis then try to find someone who is and they will likely tell you at a glance what you are looking at.
Some things are interchangeable and some are not.
 
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