Just another update from the original poster here. I took the car in and had an oil change, and asked them to 'check the clutch'. They say it wasn't the clutch but the 'gears'. Anyway the car is still going along exactly the same 3,000 kilometers later, so I guess I'll just keep driving it this way. The shudder at takeoff isn't all that bad.
Original poster reporting in here: I have continued to ignore the shudder at takeoff and it seems to be no problem. It just continues going that way. I wanted to mention another problem that the car has had ever since I bought it - when I start the car, there is a tremendous racket from the motor, and the oil light comes on. This goes on for about 30 seconds whent the car is cold and has been sitting all night, but then it goes away and the oil light goes off. When I re-start the car after just sitting a few minutes, this racket only goes on a few seconds, and isn't as loud. I've heard this described as 'valve clatter', and I wonder is there anything to be done about it? I've changed the oil and filter, and keep it checked frequently (it never burns or loses any, and the oil always looks 'clean').
Original poster here - just going over my paperwork and I see that my car is a 1984, not a 1982 (the Thai dates are a bit different from Western Calendar). Of course its the same car, really. I think this model was sold in Thailand for a few more years after it was discontinued in the US (and possibly Japan).
I'm still getting a LOT of clutch shudder when I take off in first gear, and even worse in reverse. Wonder what it could be?
Original poster here. Well I've had this wonderful little car for a couple of years now, and it's still never given me any problems. Still the same tires, hoses, and belts, though I'm thinking of changing those.
The shudder at takeoff is still there, but not apparently getting any worse, so I'll just live with it. I have had it run just a little hot recently in traffic when the air conditioning is on - one time it turned out the water was low (the overflow tank isn't hooked up properly/properly sealed), and another time it seemed to be full of water. I'll keep my eye on it.