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Old 01-26-2018, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Theory: the Toyota Tercel is the cockroach of economy cars (in a good way)



I snapped the above picture yesterday during a little road trip where I saw 5 examples each of 2 notable vehicles:

1) 5 Tesla Model S sedans (notable because it's the most I've seen in a day)

2) 5 Toyota Tercels

The Tercel is notable because the last new ones were sold in 1999, so that means every one I see is at least 19 years old.

It's also notable because, aside from possibly the Honda Civic (which is really a step above), it has seriously outlasted its contemporarly competitors.

There are about half a dozen Tercel daily drivers still running around my little city. But I rarely or never see...
  • Metros/Fireflies (there are none left, excluding mine)
  • Any 20 year-old Mazda 323/Proteges (rust!)
  • Ford Festiva/Aspire
  • Any 20 year-old Hyundais/Kias
  • (What else am I forgetting?)
This tells me a few things:
1) They're reliable (duh)

2) They're cheap to maintain/repair

3) Critically, for around here, they don't have a rust-related Achille's Heel which would otherwise send them to an early grave. (Like the Metro front control arm mounts, or the rear axle mount of Toyota Echos.)
You can tell the owner of the Tercel I photographed has done a bit of rust repair/touch up (the tell-tale black paint job on the lower doors/rockers). But the wheels are still attached, unlike most 20 year old Metros. And they're still driving it through the salty mess of an eastern Ontario winter.

All hail the trusty -- and not too rusty -- Tercel!

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Old 01-26-2018, 01:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always wondered why there aren't more Tercels on EM.
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Old 01-26-2018, 02:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, we've had a few members with 'em...

Maybe it's because the EPA ratings were in the middle of the competition?

But if people were looking for low overall cost of ownership, in hindsight these cars would have been a good bet.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If I hadn't gotten in to later model Metros, I probably would have gotten in to a Tercel...

Half the reason I haven't is the toyota brand...there are tercels for sale, but for the milage/age, they're asking 3x as much as they would for a Metro. (meaning the few that show up under $1000 are totally trashed...or automatic).
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Old 01-27-2018, 12:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
There are about half a dozen Tercel daily drivers still running around my little city. But I rarely or never see...

- Metros/Fireflies (there are none left, excluding mine)
- any 20 year-old Mazda 323/Proteges (rust!)
- Ford Festiva/Aspire
- Any 20 year-old Hyundais/Kias
- (what else am I forgetting?)
Hereabouts, where we don't have much of a rust problem, there are Metros. Wouldn't recognize the Fords or Hyundais. Quite a few 20+ Mazda Miatas on the road. (Mine's a youngster at 16.) And once I get the new clutch &c in my '88 Toyota pickup, it should be good for another 30 years :-)



*Saw a non-restored '60 Chevy on the road a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Toyotas usually don't overwhelm, but also don't disappoint.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yep. Toyota makes pretty good cash on bland cars that run good.
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubby79 View Post
Half the reason I haven't is the toyota brand...there are tercels for sale, but for the milage/age, they're asking 3x as much as they would for a Metro.
Good point!

I remember when I was keeping an eye out for an Echo a couple of years ago, they were all pretty expensive, and mostly still are.

There's one at a local GM dealer right now with 330k km / 205k miles on it, and they want $1500 (without the mechanical inspection required to put it on the road). It should be selling for closer to scrap value with that many miles on it.

The irony is a Metro, mechanically speaking, is just as reliable if it's been looked after. Though the Echo I had briefly definitely puts the Suzukiclones to shame for the subjective feeling of "quality".
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Old 01-27-2018, 10:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
*Saw a non-restored '60 Chevy on the road a couple of weeks ago.
It's such a treat for me to visit regions where the cars don't rust. It's like automotive time travel. Even just seeing the ones from the 80's is fun, never mind something unrestored from 1960!
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
There's one at a local GM dealer right now with 330k km / 205k miles on it, and they want $1500 (without the mechanical inspection required to put it on the road). It should be selling for closer to scrap value with that many miles on it.
Why? For a Toyota (and neglecting any rust issues), 200K miles is just nicely broken in.

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