Saturday, February 23, 2019

Japanese Classic: 1984 Toyota Tercel Hatchback

This next car comes from DT regular Safety Fast who writes: Behold the 1984 Toyota Tercel 'Malaise Edition' in beautiful, vibrant beige. This car was not included in the "Oh what a feeling!" advertising campaign of the time because the feeling it gave owners was sadness. With long-term ownership, this feeling eventually morphed into serious doubt and deep depression. No radio was fitted in this car because Toyota did not offer one with the necessary wattage to effectively drown out a driver's pained wails and loud sobs. The low miles on this example are likely due to the owner's shame and fear of being seen driving it on public roads. However, with $3,500 and a Prozac prescription, the next owner can enjoy a very well-preserved example of Reagan-era hopelessness.  See a better way to give up? Find this 1984 Toyota Tercel Hatchback offered for $3,500 in SF Bay Area, CA via craigslist.

From the seller:

1984 Toyota tercel 
cylinders: 4 cylinders 
drive: fwd 
fuel: gas 
odometer: 130000 
paint color: custom 
size: compact 
title status: clean 
transmission: manual 
type: hatchback 
1984 Toyota tercel 130k original miles, clean title, 3AC 1.5 liter engine, 4 speed manual transmission, original paint and Interior, good tires, good brakes, good clutch, original steel wheels, no leaks, new radiator, new radiator hoses, fresh oil change, all new filters, fresh tuneup, new muffler, new ceramic brake pads, all lights work, factory A/C blows cold, great on gas, 35 mpg, no accidents, original books, original spare tire and tools, very roomy inside, runs great, registration is paid up to date, has current smog certificate, send email if your serious

See a better way to drive a Japanese classic?


  1. I see it comes equipped with 1980's only "Boston Bumpers". You know, the rubber ones that match up to other cars,so that you 'nudge' them just a little forward or backward (against their parking pawl or brakes)to give you that extra inch or two you need to fit in what they left as the only available parking space in a 4 block area. (At least that's how my my sister explained them to me, when she used her Dodge Colt as a parking spot creation tool. "They leave them black rubber, so that we don't leave paint on each other's cars!! Besides,we only do it when they take up too much room in their spot"
    A very sad, but true story.

  2. Sweet, radio delete and ceramic brakes! It's almost like a porsche gt2 rs

    Clean little car

    1. I had the same thought this is clearly a Motorsports version opportunity missed.

  3. 130,000 miles??
    I think someone has rolled the odometer forward trying to impress the Volvo owning neighbors.

    Note to self: photographing a car for sale parked on hoon-spoor subliminally associates your 1984 Toyota Tercel with recreational tire shredding. Nice.

  4. This is identical to my first car ever! Even the same color combo, mine was an '83 and a little (okay a lot) rougher than this one though. I bought it off a friend for $100 when she told me she was going to take it to the junk yard because she smashed the back glass out of the hatch by trying to close it on something that didn't quite fit. Her parents were giving her their old volvo wagon (I know, serious upgrade right). I went to the scrap yard with a buddy and we took the hatch off a blue one. We were just going to bolt the blue hatch on but his dad showed us how to change the window which is just held in place by a rubber gasket. I banged that car up and fixed it a couple times. pretty sure it topped out at 130kph(80mph) in 4th gear (no 5 speed)

  5. So clean for its age and mileage. Kudos to the previous owner(s). And that colour: Hearing-Aid Beige, one of my favourites (NOT). With that 4-speed, you are likely to need a hearing aid after a long highway drive. I had forgotten that these had a longitudinal engine orientation, but still FWD.

  6. "Reagan-era hopelessness"??? You DO remember Carter before him, right? The King of the Malaise Era, which is considered 1975 - 1981.

    The Tercel...not the ugliest car of the period, but certainly not the most attractive. Indeed, this was the perfect car for a broke college kid, or a newlywed couple that needed a second car. Believe me, there were far worse cars from all over the world back then.

    1. It's not ugly, it's just bland. On behalf of the owner, it says to the world, "I don't really care, I just need a way to get there and back."

      "Malaise Era" is really a misnomer. That's more of an illness. It should be "Mediocre Era". That's much more accurate. Whatever you want to call it, it began before 1975 and it lasted well past 1981. There are a few stand-out cars of the era, but overall, things didn't suddenly get better in 1982. It wouldn't be until the mid- to late-80s before the industry as a whole started designing and producing better vehicles.


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