The 4th generation Toyota Corolla was a mild mannered econobox sold from 1982 through 1987 that won't ever be accused of being a thrilling ride. It did however have a rear-drive setup and light weight chassis that translated to decent handling and potential if you were willing to bolt on a few performance upgrades. Find this 1981 Toyota Corolla E72 offered for $5,500 in San Jose, CA via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.
The Corolla was a simple economy car with no particular designs on world
domination, but it was cheap to buy, cheap on fuel, cheap to insure,
but most importantly: it was reliable. The liftback version is one you don't see often on the road, but it looks very useable.
Under the hood is a 1.6 liter 4A-C inline-4, an 8-valve SOHC carburetor fed engine rated at 90 horsepower from the factory. It was mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and should be good for years of driving if you keep up with maintenance.
See another liftback for cheap? email@example.com