Junkyard Treasure: 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon

1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon front view

These cars were slow and homely, but they could haul plenty and go anywhere.

Back in the 1980s, before no-drive-wheels-selection-required all-wheel-drive cars became commonplace in snowy areas, goofy-looking Japanese four-wheel-drive wagons roamed the land. You could get a Civic Wagovan or a Nissan Stanza Wagon with a 2WD-4WD selector, great fuel economy, and plenty of cargo space, but the sales king at the time was the second-generation Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon, known as the Sprinter Carib in Japan.

Junked 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon

I found this car in a Denver self-service wrecking yard a few weeks ago, and it is one of a steady stream of worn-out 1983-86 Tercel 4WD wagons that shows up in Colorado junkyards. These cars were extremely popular in this area, but a decade or two of faster and more civilized AWD cars that don’t require the driver to remember to select 2WD on dry pavement have cut into their value.

Junked 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon

I have owned a bunch of these cars over the years, both front- and four-wheel-drive versions, and I have a great deal of affection for them. They are sluggish performers but amazingly simple and reliable.

The home-market ads for this car featured frantic Japanese hijinks. Happy Choice!

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