1983 Toyota Tercel 4 door hatchback 3A-C (1.4L 4 cylinder carburrated electronic ignit from North America
If you can find one that has not been neglected and has no rust, buy it
Body Rust, Body Rust, Body Rust (hole in trunk letting exhaust into the passenger compartment -- led to de-registration, but repaired & re-registered)
Hole in brake line -- was near enough to brake hose that it could be cut out.
Rotten brake hoses ($30CDN/4 to replace)
Hole in radiator.
Crooked alternator mount caused: several broken alternator belts, blown radiator hoses, poor charging/low battery power.
Consumables consumed: Had to replace Tires, Brake pads, shoes, rotors, drums, and rear wheel bearings (bearing race attached to rear drums)
The final straw (all at once) : alternator, water pump, radiator, radiator hoses all ruined, probable cracked block.
This car had been passed around my family for 16 years before I got it.
It had been used as a rescue car for a battered women's shelter, driven across Canada (and back) 3 times, taken our family on vacation (pulling a 2000lb tent trailer) several times, and more recently used as a "winter beater" in Alberta for 7 years.
I am told that the older tercels are known for their die-hard mechanicals and for their body rust. This car was a prime example of both. Had it not been neglected and abused for 7 years on salty Alberta roads, it would probably still be running today.
The tercel is simple enough that almost everything can be repaired by an inexperienced layperson armed only with the "Chilton's Import Car Repair Manual 1980-1987" and a few tools. The only repairs I was not able to do myself were to the brake lines, and seating the rear wheel bearing races.
All parts I required were available over the counter at "Canadian Tire", most as both OEM and generic.
The car was light enough that one person could push start it if it had a dead battery (I leave the lights on far too often).
Performance was responsive, but not stellar.
The back seat was uncomfortable, but not more so than any other early 1980's small car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th March, 2005