Worse than a dog who loves you no matter how much you beat it
Water pump @ about 197,000.
Inner door locking/opening hardware (plastic) a number of times.
Cap, rotor, plugs, and wires.
Fuel and air filters.
I'd always liked the looks of these things and read nothing, but positive reviews in all the magazines of the day. After a short test drive I struck a deal w/the owner. He had bought it new and said the motor was replaced @ 160,000 miles w/a 1.5. The block is stamped 1.5 and he had all the paperwork to show the work had been done.
Having sat for two years, it had a bit of a stumble in all realms of driving. New gas and a tune up helped a bit, but not completely. Replacing each vacuum line, one at a time, at my local Home Depot (about $0.35) did it.
The change was drastic. Though it's a bit of a rough rider, I love its feel and feedback. The small engine combined with a base elevation of 4500 feet make it, well, a dog to be blunt. But the controls all fall easily to hand, it fits my medium six foot two inch build nicely, and with the SE rims, and the sportbak I scored at the local junkyard, it's a one of a kind. I have, or have had, a Mustang convertible, a 240Z, a Mustang Hiway Patrol car, and other interesting cars throughout the years. Yet combined, they never drew the number of comments that this car has. Strangers in parking lots, guys on the sidewalk, people at intersections, they either want to know what it is or they just want to say how cool it looks.
When the odometer worked I was getting 34mpg. It's been an easy car to fix myself. From the quotes I've received at the dealer, the shade tree jobs are my only option. I've been quoted $450 for a dealer REBUILT throttle body. And just today I saved $120 over the parts house price, by buying a junkyard alternator.
The afore mentioned door mechanisms have, for me, been the biggest hassle. Small potatoes on the whole, just a pain that could have been avoided for an additional $0.15 worth of metal at the factory.
Parts for my nearly 18 year old car, are still plentiful. At least they are out west here. Some California nob slid his grandpas truck into my drivers door last winter (which ultimately paid for the car). Not only was I able to find a door for it at the junkyard, it was the same color red! Switching the lock was easy too.
I have used this car for work, for cross country trips and a little desert four wheeling, and it just refuses to die. I will only say this cuz none of you will know who I am, but I must have about 12,000 miles on the oil. And I'm very picky about that stuff. But it's now a third car and I have had to work a lot of overtime this last year. The cv joints are gone and the throw out bearing is making a lot of noise. If it breaks before I get around to it, I will remove and store the sportbak until I find a replacement.
As with any used car, it's vital to find an example that has been cared for properly. Still, a car can only be as good as it was built to be. For my money, you can't go wrong with an '87-'91 Pulsar.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd December, 2005