Author Topic: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel  (Read 1576 times)

Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« on: June 09, 2019, 06:35:15 PM »
My sweet sweet wife purchased a Tercel for $500 cash when she started college back in 2000. It faithfully provided her with 5 years of breakdown free college transportation and when we got married in 2005 it was decided that this car had earned a place in our household forever, or until it fell apart, whichever came first. It lasted until 2011 and the only money we  put into was the occasional oil change or tune up.

This car was the definition of dependable. There were no creature comforts(at all) but it would get you from A to B without a doubt.

It didn’t take long to discover that it was a brilliant mountain car. We could  pack up camping supplies, canoes, backpacking gear mountain bikes and whatever else, drive it into the wilderness/trailhead and leave it for weeks, with full assurance that no one will try to break into it.

Somewhere along the line, it picked up the nickname "Turdcel"

It wasn't us, and I don't even remember who it was that came up with the name. This was passionately rejected by my sweet sweet wife at first, but eventually it stuck and became spoken as a pet name but not out of any disgust for that fine machine.

I'm not really even sure what prompted the name, but it could have something to do with the seat covers that kind of resembled a dead bear that had been decaying for some time.

Yeah, friends poked fun, but they would rub those same seatcovers for good luck before any mountain bike ride.

The defrost didn’t work so if there was any temperature difference between out and in, you couldn’t see out the windows without much furious wiping.

The 0 to 60 time was nonexistent if there were more than 2 people  because it topped out at about 57. That was  ok though because on trips, it's all about the journey.

Empty it could get above 60, after about 6 minutes.

People who saw us in it gave us sympathtic looks and true story - after a week in the mountains we stopped at a gas station and a sweet old lady offered us a ten dollar bill

Every time we struck out on a trip, it always felt like it did when we were first dating and had absolutely no money but lots of excitement about our future together. The radio only played one station (country of course) but it was ok, because the cabin noise was so loud, you couldn’t hear anything anyway after you hit about 40 miles an hour.

And now, some pictures


Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 06:38:48 PM »
Gleaming in the evening light, on the way to a 4 day canoe trip we frequented in the North Cascades


Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 06:40:51 PM »
The ratio of car value to bicycle value with a 4 friends road trip  was ridiculous

Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 06:49:50 PM »
If you look closely you can see the road through the floor. Also, notice the airbag was deployed before we got it, and they patched it up with duck tape. Horn didn’t work either, but that was ok because no one ever went slower than us, VW buses would pass us looking impatient

Malkynn

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 05:22:16 AM »
Ugh. Legit jealous here.

I have a 2012 Corolla that I so wish was a Tercel.
My garage has a Tercel loaner that I request every time I drop off the Corolla, and I zip around in that thing like it's a Go-Kart.

DH hates driving with me when I have it because I drive like a total maniac. It might be a good thing I don't actually own a Tercel actually...

In the past 5 years I've been loaned a Jaguar, a Range Rover, a Mini Cooper S, a Renegade, a bunch of VWs, and a Volvo and I haven't loved any of them as much as I love the 20 year old pepto-bismol pink Tercel from this one garage that I go to, mostly so that I can borrow it.

Rural

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 09:05:02 AM »
We have an 81 Tercel that's a back up vehicle. Paid $800 for it when we got it, partially because some of the cost was a donation to the local veterans group who had it donated to them for the purpose of selling. Earned back the $800 in fuel savings on the commute in six months' time, and it's been a free Tercel ever since. Those things are indestructible. And unstealable these days even if someone were interested because nobody can drive a stick anymore.


Oh, before we got it in about 2007 or2008, somebody painted it with a paintbrush. It's screaming purple. :-) With brush marks :-)

apkanne

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 10:57:49 AM »
This was the sweetest love story.

MObonds

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 03:17:21 PM »
Fantastic !

My parents bought a new 1983 Tercel 3-door, and that was the car I took to college in 1988. Nicknamed it "The Backpack," because after I graduated in 1991, I carried all of my possessions in it while I bounced from friend's couch to friend's couch during my 9 month job search.   

What a great car - incredibly reliable, and when things did break it was super cheap and easy to fix yourself. No power and definitely not sexy, but I regularly got 45+ mpg on the highway without even trying.

I passed it along to my brother in 1996 and last I heard it was still on the road. Had I known the ways of the mustache back then, I would have kept it instead of buying that Jeep . . .   

 

gaja

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2019, 05:00:47 PM »
I learned to drive in a 1983 Toyota Carina that was gifted to us by DH’s grandparents, because the grandfather was to old to drive safely. At the time we lived on top of a mountain, with winters lasting from September to May. I still prefer pumping the breaks on icy roads, rather than  relying on ABS and other fancy stuff. But servo does make life easier when navigating in enclosed areas. Repairs were crazy cheap, everything we needed could be found at old petrol stations if we looked in the most dusty shelves. New timing belt? $20 and easily DIY.

The poor thing died due to rust, after serving us well for many years. But when the undercarriage was so rusted that there was no place to attach the replacement for the replacement for the repaired exhaust pipes, it was time to send it to recycling.

Jon_Snow

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 06:10:42 PM »
My Young Drivers of Canada course, way back in the 80's, had a fleet of white Tercels much like that one, though I also drove a white hatchback version. I have a certain amount of fondness for the vehicle that eventually helped me ace my drivers test (0 demerits). However, I do recall memories of having my foot mashed down on the gas pedal in an attempt to perform a highway merge maneuver and feeling overwhelming disappointment....every time.

I now own a Toyota compact truck that, after almost 20 years, is still looking and running great. My own plans also include hanging on to it until it no longer goes. I seriously think it might outlast me. I do wonder if I went with a Toyota because of the early imprinting on the Tercel. I'm just glad that this truck has some snort under the hood. :D

Among the MMM set, there is a faction that proudly down own cars. And they certainly wouldn't understand the love that some of us feel for them. But I know this "love" is born of our vehicles having served us faithfully, and being a part of so many adventures and memories.

I enjoyed the hell out of that first post OP. I totally understand the sentiment.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 07:21:30 PM »
(Sniff, sniff)

That was beautiful. Just beautiful. Reminds me of my beloved corolla. MURDERED at a far too young age. Only 12 years old and 150,000 miles!!  Barely enough to break it in.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 08:52:11 PM »
Funny. One of my favorite students ever said his parents called their car the "Turdcel".

sol

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 09:22:22 PM »
My single parent household bought an '85 Tercel hatchback off of a rental lot in Spokane in '89, and it was our only family car for several years.  When mom bought a pickup she parked the turtle in our back yard and it sat there for three years until I got a permit at age 18.  I learned to drive on that car.  I drove that car to college in California.  I drove that car from LA to DC and back three times in college without changing the oil, plus more Joshua Tree and Big Bear trips than I can possibly count.  You could remove the key from the ignition without turning the engine off.  I loved that car.

I finally sold it to a buddy for like $900 when I graduated.  He drove it for a month and it was stolen and joyridden, trashed and abandoned.  They tore up all of the uphostery and spray painted the interior with gold paint.  I was devastated from afar, but it turns out it was still driveable so he kept it until I lost track of him.

Good car, the very epitome of the econobox.  No power anything, but room for nine college kids in a pinch (illegally) and if you folded the seat down you could sleep with your girlfriend in the back and steam up the huge windows.  What I most miss about it was the transmission.  I didn't realize how phenomenal it was at the time, since it had always been the only car I'd ever owned, but I've been through four other ICE cars since then and not one of them had as nice of a transmission as that little Tercel. 

Not my car, but looked just like this one:


Thanks for the trip down memory lane, OP.

lizzzi

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2019, 05:19:25 AM »
This brought back happy memories of my good old 1993 stick shift Toyota Tercel. My marriage didn't last, but the Tercel did. Loved that car.

fuzzy math

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2019, 08:35:22 AM »
My first car (that I shared with my sister) was a early 90s tercel. It was a lemon and ate oil like nothing else. I discovered that late on a highway when I was newly 16 (out alone late for the first time) and the car died at an intersection. I being young and terrified I was going to get hit or kidnapped, had to let some old man help me, only to learn the car wouldn't restart because it was still in Drive. So he got into my car and helped me start it. I then cried all the way home, late for curfew, and ended up getting grounded not because I was late but because I came home sobbing about nearly being killed, which embarrassed my parents who had been hosting a dinner party for my dad's boss.

So yeah, not really good memories of a Tercel. I did later get an 87 Mazda wagon that I felt legit love for.

jim555

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2019, 08:34:21 AM »
My Tercel 1991-2007 rip.

Home Stretch

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2019, 09:20:39 AM »
Oh man, I've got a Tercel story too!

My roommate back in college had a mid 90's white manual Tercel. I landed an internship in the summer of '08 that resulted in a 60 mile round trip commute from the apartment. At the time, I had a gas-guzzling SUV that was a family hand-me-down

Now, some of you may remember the summer of '08 was the first time when gas prices even in the cheaper states spiked to over $4 a gallon. In my gas-guzzler, I would have been spending between $15 and $20 a day just driving to work and back. My roommate, on the other hand, was working literally on campus. He could walk to work, so he generously allowed us to swap cars for the summer.

This Tercel was... special. It had no air conditioning, and this was in the south, so I was routinely commuting home on the highway through thunderstorms while it was 95 degrees trying to balance how much water was coming in with how hot I was getting by not being able to open the windows. If I recall correctly, I think the car was supposed to have two speakers - one in each door. This one had one speaker that only kind of worked, and of course it only had a radio that seemingly got poor reception on all stations.

All that aside though - that car was FUN. They really are little go-karts. There is no additional weight from sound deadening, and of course safety had a different definition back then, so no weight was added for any of that garbage either. Topping out at 75mph in 4th gear and it felt like the engine was about to come flying out of the hood, but of course it ran like a champ and I never had a single issue for the brief time that the Tercel and I shared a commute.

caleb

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2019, 09:21:00 AM »
Love it.  We're currently driving a 2003 Toyota Matrix, with a roof rack that often carries gear worth multiples of the car, too.

Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2019, 10:09:48 AM »
Thank you for all your contributions, I enjoyed every one 😁

Malkynn

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2019, 02:23:08 PM »
God this thread makes me want a Tercel o better yet, a Paseo!
It's like a full on jonesing...I have a problem.

Why must my Corolla be so sensible???
God Dammit!!!

JTColton

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2019, 01:02:33 AM »
Gleaming in the evening light, on the way to a 4 day canoe trip we frequented in the North Cascades

Beautiful, I also stop at this Hwy 20 farm stand on my way to the North Cascades.

Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2019, 04:12:30 PM »
God this thread makes me want a Tercel o better yet, a Paseo!
It's like a full on jonesing...I have a problem.

Why must my Corolla be so sensible???
God Dammit!!!

Haha!! Speaking of Corollas- you gotta check out this craigslister selling their Corolla.

https://www.craigslist.org/about/best/hou/6565526716.html

A small excerpt-

“When I ran the CarFax for this car, I got back a single piece of paper that said, "It's a Corolla. It's fine."


MatthewK

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2019, 06:20:46 PM »
That's some funny shit!!

meghan88

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2019, 06:35:13 PM »
Really funny ... thanks for the laugh!!

Had an 80's vintage Tercel at one point.  It was a 4-door with a really large hatchback - almost a station wagon.  Though I enjoy being car-free, if I *had* to own a car, it would be an older Toyota.

CatamaranSailor

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Re: Oh.. the Toyota Tercel
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2019, 09:43:38 AM »
My wife and I bought a brand new 1996 Toyota Tercel right after we were married. Our first big post marriage purchase and the only car we've ever bought brand new. 18 miles on the odometer. I was the absolute basic model...4 cylinder, 4 speed manual. Nothing power at all, no A/C...nothing! We literally drove that car to hell and back. Countless road trips all over the US. Teal green in color. The wife named her "Libby."

Some of the fun we had:

Ran over a dead deer in the middle of the road. No damage. Just four wheeled right over the carcass. Pulled hair and antlers out of the suspension for weeks.

One time coming back from Mexico we were so hot (no A/C) we had to stop and buy bags of ice to hug so the we and our dogs wouldn't melt. All the ice melted and we had to use an ice cream container to scoop out all the water from the floorboards.

Tires were about $20 a pop. Drove probably six sets down to the cords (wife was commuting 130 miles a day at the time).

In 9 years and over 200,000 miles never once did she fail to start. Never once left us stranded.

Consistently got 30+ MPG. On smooth highway closer to 40.

Sold her still running like the day we bought her. Stupid! (Thought we needed an SUV for baby..obviously pre-mustacian days).

Simply the best car we ever owned.