My 1986 four door LE Toyota Corolla was purchased for $250.00 back in October of 2005 from an 88 year old woman. She simply had it parked in her garage for the past 7 years and never drove it during that time. She purchased the car brand new and had it 19 years. The car had to be towed on a flat bed truck to a service garage to get it started. New head lights, a new battery, and fluids - and "WOW" - she was good to go. The car was tuned up, and I also had a new timing belt installed. The interior is like brand new. The car had close to 78,000 original miles and is like a time warp from 20 years ago. It runs and looks like new.
It gets over 27 miles to the gallon which is a huge savings over the family SUV (Mitsubishi Montero). With gas prices what they are, we drive the car daily back and forth to work. It is one of the best cars I have ever owned and I plan on keeping it for many years to come.
The only down side is that it doesn't have pickup and rarely do I attempt to pass other cars especially in single lanes. I really don't want to push the car too much because of its age and the driving habits of the previous owner. I'm pretty sure that the petal wasn't pressed to the metal often.
Once the car picks up speed she is fine and it is fun to drive and handles great. The steering is impressive and it takes corners well and is easy to control at highway speeds.
It is also a comfortable car and the back seat has plenty of room for 2 adults.
There are no safety clips for the tethers to anchor down a car seat safely, and therefore can't use the Corolla as our primary family car. It is great for commuting to and from work and errands around town.
The other safety disadvantage to owning an older car is that it doesn't have any airbags.
Over all it is a fine car and it is put together well. We are completely satisfied with it and would buy a brand new Corolla or Toyota model in the future.