Blast From The Past!

Here is your Toyota car information!

Recommended Posts

Hello, all!!!!

I was driving by a used car dealership on the way home the other day and a shiny, used, 2001 Prizm on the lot caught my eye, so I decided to stop and have a quick look. I quickly discovered that it wasn't much of a deal. It had 97,000 miles on it and the airbag warning light would not go out. It was a base model, not an LSi. They were asking 6 thousand, something for it. I thought that was way too much for that particular car. It did look very nice from the road, though.

Anyway, here's the main reason for this post! While looking at the Prizm, I spotted a few older cars sitting towards the back of the lot. Most of them were either vans or pickups, but, among these vehicles sat an old, Toyota Tercel. 1983, to be exact. Anyway, I walked over to have a look at this "antique" and got quite a surprise!! It was a blue 3 door hatchback that was surprisingly pretty good shape for it's age, overall. It had some rust on the bottoms of the doors and on the rear quarter panels, where the rear fender meets the bumper. But, otherwise, the body and paint still looked pretty decent! It looks like it spent most of it's time in a garage, because the paint wasn't oxidized or faded that much. The interior was in very nice shape, as well. I'm not sure of the mileage, for some reason I really didn't take notice of it. It probably doesn't matter anymore, anyhow, but, I think it may have been around 70,000, (I think it only had an odometer that read up to 99,999 miles) (170,000, 270,000?!?!?), or so. After all, it IS 24 years old and at that age, actual mileage is difficult to determine.

I guess the point of it all, is that I was amazed how much Asian imports have changed over the years!! The Tercel was very boxy styled and very plain-looking inside and out. The doors opened and closed with a very tinny sound. The tires (13 inchers) looked like go kart wheels!! It even had the old style seal beam headlights!! Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to start or drive the car, because I'm not really interested in buying it,........not yet, anyway!!

Apparently, this Tercel was owned by an older person, someone that probably didn't drive very much and either finally traded it in, or perhaps passed on and it was part of an estate. At any rate, it's definitely a survivor!! Most of these cars from this era are long gone!! Either they've rusted away, or simply wore out! (Yes, I know it's hard to believe that even Toyotas can wear out, but eventually, everything falls apart!!!)

I've been wondering; does anyone think this would be a good car to buy for a runabout?!!? I mean, say it started and ran pretty well and the unibody was still pretty solid?!!? What would a car like this one be worth? Would it pay to buy it? I wouldn't really buy it as a daily commuter car, just as a car for running errands and stuff. Actually, I'm kind of nostalgic, I guess. Our family used to have one many years ago and it brings back some fond memories. I guess you could say it's main purpose would be sort of a "time-machine" instead of transportation for me!

Any comments, or advice, OR even stories about former Toyotas owned would be greatly appreciated!



I've been wondering; does anyone think this would be a good car to buy for a runabout?!!? What would a car like this one be worth? Would it pay to buy it?

Any comments, or advice, OR even stories about former Toyotas owned would be greatly appreciated!


Yes, amazing isn't it? I suppose for a very local car it could be good, but be sure to check out all the items you normally would on a car this age. Instead of using 'nostalgac' to guide a buying decision, check out older models of Corolla ( of course ). They're probably a bit safer than that tin can Tercel. I've seen early 90s models in my market with between 140-180K miles go for between $500-$2500, depending on the body, etc.

I'm always on the lookout for a great buy on a Corolla FX..I think they're kinda cool and futuristic looking.

I knew a friend who had a Tercel about that age, and he said the only problem he had with it was that the rear shock housings rusted out and had to be repaired with riveted sheet metal steel patches. I think it had a 20R carb motor with well over 250,000KM on it. Hard to tell, because like you discovered, the odometer only went to 99,999 KM, but this guy was the second owner, and he had a fair idea of the actual mileage.

On the online classifieds I found a '79 model in a nearby town. It looked good on paper - it was roadworthy and was only A$500. However, it would be interesting to see how much rust is in it, and i what shape the interior/paint is. I wouldn't mind restoring a 70s toyota; they look classy, for their time they were quite luxurious and tasteful, and would be mechanically very simple. Unfortunately I don't have the time, money or facilities to do such a thing..............

I have noticed in calssifieds that there are basically no cars over 20 yrs old. In a car yard near where I had a job locally there was a choclate brown 60s Austin 1800.....wonder how much they want for it........

Unless you live in Arizona, or California, I think that attempting to restore an older model Toyota with ANY rust on it, is a losing battle. I tried with my 1982 Mirage 4x4, and ended up building a cedar box on it (the frame eventually snapped in an accident), and with my '88 4x4 pickup, I finally gave up after 5 years of grinding and filling. The quality of steel used in these older vehicles was below subpar, in my opinon. Mechanically, they were, and are far superior to anything else produced in that era. (and STILL are!)

If it was cheap enough - buy it and drive it around for a while. It would be hard to find parts for it, though.