1983 Toyota Tercel STD 1.5 from North America

Summary:

Such cheap reliability is unheard of

Faults:

The rear defroster doesn't work, all the grid lines are non-conductive, will need to replace the whole glass.

It came with a peeled off headliner, which I replaced with same color vinyl.

It also came with a correct-era aftermarket stereo that I replaced, and came stock with no passenger side mirror, which I got from a DLX model.

The carburetor is new, but it fails emissions; I guess it needs adjustment as it looks really clean.

General Comments:

First off, the fuel economy in this car is absolutely great. It brought me from Pasadena, CA to Salt Lake City, UT on one and a half tanks. Figure more or less 650 miles, 10 gallon tank, 650 / 15, that's more or less 43 MPG. Really not bad. That's Prius mileage.

I used to drive a same year Mercedes-Benz, and it was a great car, but it's expensive to maintain, so I looked for something cheaper, hopefully the same era as I like to drive 80s cars. I found a really nice, non rusty, exceptionally clean example that used to sit at a Toyota dealership as a survivor. It's like going back to 1983. Really clean, everything was in really good condition. It's cheap to operate, cheap to insure (I pay $25 a month on full coverage), cheap tires, cheap gas, cheap cheap cheap. But it doesn't feel cheap. All appointments are well built and feel solid. The engine sounds great and hasn't given me troubles so far.

It doesn't seem to like the snow all that much; being such a light car, it doesn't handle all that well on snow or ice. It does help a bit that it has front wheel drive, but with such light weight, the car seems to skid more than I'm used to with heavier vehicles.

Other than winter, this little car is a joy to drive. It climbs surprisingly well the Utah mountains (of course, it's no Subaru) and it never lags behind traffic or has a climbing tail. No tachometer, but who needs one in such a small car. It gets a lot of smiles wherever I park it. I fell in love with the little thing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2016

1983 Toyota Tercel SR5 3 AC from North America

Summary:

A Japanese Model A

Faults:

I recently bought the car and have started doing things to it.

When I bought the car, it was buried in snow over the hood and had not been started in weeks and weeks... we had to jump a battery over to her, after we got the hood up, and I was amazed when she started up...

I have since installed: new battery, front wheel bearings, master cylinder, 2 front tires, all belts and minor stuff. It doesn't leak any oil, nor does it burn any oil. I have driven over the Sierra's to San Francisco and it can run at 60 mph all day long.

What's great about this old Tercel, it has been a California car and not driven on salted roads, so it's 99% rust free. I love the fact it hasn't got a ton of sensors like my Honda; this car reminds me of the old cars I grew up with, the ones you could fix yourself with minimal tools.

General Comments:

Just the bad battery and the master cylinder...

I know a rebuilt steering rack would make the steering more pleasant, but it's not a priority right now, and a new clutch is on my list.

Things are really reasonable and easy to replace... the cost of all I have done is about equal to two new car payments, and this car will be my son's car when he grows up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2016

1983 Toyota Tercel 1.5 from North America

Summary:

Unbelievably trustworthy, it will never die

Faults:

Only had small, infrequent, easy to fix cheaply problems, never needed a major repair.

General Comments:

This car is the most reliable, inexpensive transportation since the donkey went out of style. I have driven it from the desert heat, to going through blizzards over mountains at night, and it has NEVER stranded me, it always brought me home.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd September, 2010