Car of The Week: 1988 Toyota Corolla All-Trac

April 17, 2012

There are a lot of people I know that have either bought a new SUV or Minivan after having their first child. To me this seems like a waste of money.

I think a station wagon would be more than enough to haul around a baby and a stroller. Why spend over 30K for a new gas guzzler when you can buy a used station wagon for a fraction of the price?

Here is a 1988 Toyota Corolla wagon with 4WD and a 5-speed manual transmission. Power is rated at 113 hp but with 174K miles on the clock it probably has less than a 100 hp by now. But forget about the low power. This car is a fuel efficient family hauler and is very cheap to own and operate.

It’s currently for sale on eBay and the bid is at $1200 with 5 days left in the auction. If I were in the market for a used car I would probably be willing to buy this car for $2200 max.

According to the owner the car has a new timing belt and a new clutch. It’s also rust free thanks to the nice California weather. But since the tachometer was replaced the true miles are unknown.

I like how the car sits high and makes it look almost like an SUV. Judging by the pictures it seems the owner took really good care of the car. This Corolla isn’t a bad looking car either with its clean straight lines.

The only bad thing about this car is the manual door locks. I can deal with not having power windows but having to manually lock/unlock each door can be a real pain at times.

It reminds me of a friend who bought a new Corolla back in 2008. In the attempt to save as much money from the total cost he opted not to have power windows. I don’t know how he even found that car. Do they still make cars with manual door locks? He soon regretted the decision because of having to manually check each door especially when there were passengers.

Even with two children I think this car would have enough room to haul the family and groceries. I see a lot of big SUVs out there and I always question if they really need that much space.

Now I wouldn’t buy this car just because of its 4WD feature. In fact, I used to own a 1988 Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo back in the early 90s when I was in high school. The car was fun to drive because of it’s 2.0 turbocharged engine and it looked great at the time. But it gave me a false sense of security.

I almost got into a big accident one snowy day while driving down a local road. The road had a thin layer of snow and yet I was driving 40mph because I thought the car could handle it. The car did a 360 but thankfully there weren’t any cars at the time so I avoided hitting anything.

Having 4WD is great but don’t let it give you a false sense of security. You still have to drive responsibly in the snow or rain.

This car is all original and I’m sure the new owner will be satisfied with it. You just don’t see many of these cars on the road and especially in this condition.

What would you be willing to pay for this car?


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