Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon

In the midst of buying the car that has since shuttled me around New England for the last couple of years, I went back and forth about what it was that I wanted and needed. I couldn’t pull the trigger on a truck: Not nice to my friends. I test drove and salivated over a Dodge Raider (the same as a 2 door Montero), but knew that if I ever wanted to make it to the Kancamagus, I’d have to put in a very pretty penny. The teenager in me imagined taking the top off of an old 4Runner, but those dreams died when I realized I’d have nowhere to put it once it was off. The car that really drove me bonkers was the Toyota Tercel SR5, a car that can still often be seen around town, only noticed if you’re actually looking for it. Yes, they’re sort of ugly, but there’s something about those boxy 4WD wagons (AMC Eagle, Subaru Outback) that just strike a chord. Call me weird…

I didn’t end buying the Tercel (but always still looking…) and went with a 1999 Subaru Impreza Sport instead. I don’t regret that choice for a second – that car has been one of the best purchases of my young life – but after passing a Tercel this weekend parked on a lonely country road, I couldn’t resist getting out and drooling. Probably not a car that most of you feel the same way about, which is very, very understandable, but we all have our Wish List, right?

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.

MP3: Erroll Garner – She’s Funny That Way


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8 Responses to Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon

  1. Poppy November 30, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    I drove a Tercel wagon for 175K miles before the body fell apart and then bought the first version of the 4-Runner (stripped down version) and got another 170+K out of it til its body crumbled. Both were great vehicles and I never got stuck at home during Vermont winters!

  2. cork grips November 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    a subaru sport wagon is in my near future, after being car free for over 2 years i’m gonna soon be a car owner once again which will actually allow me the freedom of getting out way more often!

  3. residuetrail November 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I had an 84′ Tercel SR-5. I loved that car to death. I did it in trying to something similar to the left panel in the first picture. I believe I had 190,000 + miles on it and it was still running like a champ. Good Hunting!

  4. Shane November 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I’ve got an 86 Subaru GL wagon (4wd, of course) that I bought about a year ago for $600. After a good amount of work, I drove her to Alaska this summer, a 10,000 mile round trip during which I spent a month living in the back. The OD now stands at 231k, and she’s still running strong. Gotta love those old wagons.

  5. rundo November 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Funny you post something like this, because it makes me feel like I’m not alone! I get the same obsessions about 80′s cars that people would choose walking over driving in. My personal object of desire at the moment is an 80′s Saab coupe.

  6. JPW December 6, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    This is the car I grew up in with my father. Used to go off road quite a bit in it. Would get strange looks parking it on the beach in the Outer Banks for surf fishing next to giant broncos and big 4WDs. Ski rack for rods on the top instead of tubes on the front like everybody else. Other small cars used to call each other “Ridge Riders” cuz to get around you had to keep your wheels on the sand ridges between the deep tire tracks the trucks made. Some squirrly fun for sure. Every so often we’d have to get pulled out by a truck, sometimes in the dark, but most times we’d be first out to the cleanin’ tables making up filets and then zooming back to the place to get em’ on the grill. That red Tercel served us well.

  7. starryfeet December 8, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    As soon as I came across this gem on your blog I fell in love with it. Sure, I’ve seen it on the road plenty of times. Something shifted for me today though. Maybe the discovery that it’s a 4 wheel drive. I have a tendency towards smaller, boxy, older cars that can get the job done. Whether it’s loading it up with groceries, art supplies, camping trip gear.. lumber. I miss New England. And I don’t think you’re weird – of course, I’ve been called the same. I’ve got pride in that, though.

  8. Angel Monico October 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    I was 11 years old living in El Salvador when I came accross the tercel SR5 4WD for the first time. What a moment. The car belonged to a diplomat (they were not imported there). It was rare but beautiful. To this date, I have looked for one in original condition but have had no success. The tercel SR5 4WD is the basis for all other future designs – CRV, volvo cross-country, x-trail, etc. The pyramid back with the dropped glass is the classiest. I am happy to learn that I have company when it comes to loving this car design so much. If you ever want to chat, please drop me a line. Thanks for the postings – I truly enjoyed them.

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