I was looking for a reliable winter car and happened upon a white 1991 model with A.C. The car had never seen a Canadian winter as the couple who owned it only used it in Florida. It was garage stored during Florida summers.
The owner had it for sale on the Net for 700 dollars, and told me I was the second person who called. I offered him 850 over the phone and headed to his place.
Save for a small dent on the passenger door, the car was in immaculate condition. When the owner took me to the car (garage parked), and disarmed the disarmingly loud alarm, I knew that this car was well cared for and looked after by a fanatic. He wouldn't let me test drive, I had to convince to let me try it in a parking lot!
Now 6 months. 10,000 kms and 2300 dollars later (that's what I spent to bring it completely up to speed).I only spent the money after doing research and discovering the longevity of these vehicles. I know it well last me at least another 5 years at minimal expense.
My mechanic whistled at the condition of the car as every nut and bolt was smooth and clear.
It is surprisingly nimble and quick. It doesn't have any passing power on the highway and takes a while to get up to speed on climbs. For a 91 1.6l 4 I guess it's expected.
This car is an absolute mini workhorse that sips fuel while being very responsive.
The car does have a few random and intermittent vibrations and squeaks that seem to emanate from different places i.e. the glove compartment, the back windows or the glass on the hatch.
I couldn't be happier with its reliability as the engine started after sitting for 4 days of consecutive 30 below nights.
I will keep it until repairs (not maintenance) start to add up. From what I've read, I got a lots of road to look forward to.