4WD Survivor: 1983 Toyota Tercel Wagon – SOLD!

by | Jul 2022 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

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July 26, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

While the Subaru Outback gets far too much credit these days for pioneering the all-wheel-drive wagon segment, most car enthusiasts know a few other contenders were driving pretty strong to the hole in the middle 80s for building the first mass-produced wagon with all-weather capabilities. The AMC Eagle wagon was long the dominant champion of long-roof snowplowing, but the Japanese made had some serious clout as well. This 1983 Toyota Tercel 4×4 wagon, originally listed in July 2022 on Craigslist in Grants Pass, Oregon, has 127,000 miles on the clock with outstanding cosmetics and an asking price of $6,125. Comparing that price against the Classic.com model guide shows us that the seller is asking reasonable money with an average sale price of just under $5,000:

There is a definite audience for wagons like these that exist in pristine, survivor-grade condition. There’s just one hiccup: no one wants to pay much for an old Tercel wagon, no matter how nice it is. This seller has priced his wagon fairly, but it points to the risk factor of paying top dollar for a pristine economy car. The enthusiast car market has always prioritized true performance cars rather than interesting vehicles with novel features, but that doesn’t go particularly fast. The beauty of a four-wheel-drive Tercel wagon like this is that it can be your own personal billy goat, scaling all of those steep, snow-covered trails that full-size SUVs would have trouble climbing. Still, you’re exposing this sensitive Japanese sheet metal to the real threats of nature that its chain of past owners have miraculously found ways to avoid. Of course, the Pacific Northwest is notoriously kind to vintage vehicles – so hopefully, this Tercel will never leave.

The Jason Harder YouTube Channel features this 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon commercial:

The seller points out that his Tercel wagon had a primary competitor in the form of the Honda Civic Wagovan, which was a near-identical package in terms of a short-wheelbase wagon with optional four-wheel drive. The question is, which one do you choose? The Wagovan is arguably a better-looking vehicle, especially in its later years. The Tercel, however, came with that incredible plaid interior that the seller is including as a “backup” interior to the far more boring upholstery pattern this one left the factory with. Now, we typically like to see a bit more detail about the car’s maintenance history, but the listing is pretty short on details;. At the same time, a Tercel of this vintage shouldn’t need much, it’d still help to see a history of oil changes and the occasional timing belt/water pump job, not to mention verification that the four-wheel-drive system is still healthy. Still, this one looks like a good bet if you wish to own a 4WD wagon pioneer.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1983 TOYOTA TERCEL Station Wagon in Silver Blue Metallic with 6-Speed manual trans and 4WD. 127k miles. “ATM Style” rear tailgate… gotta hand that one to Toyota! Similar quirkiness and out-of-the-box styling of the utilitarian HONDA WAGOVAN of the era. Both are equally tough creatures…

Very well cared for and great running little wagon. Has lived a good Life. Clean Oregon title.
This is a garage kept, senior mechanic owned car with minimal UV exposure. Deluxe SR5 optional alloy wheels. Factory Accessory flip up rear hatch cargo cover, and factory deluxe Toyota AM/FM radio cassette. A very dry Oregon car. In collector condition. As in, it would be a shame to subject this car to abuse… Not perfect, but probably one of the nicest ones left comfortably roaming the Earth. Particularly Southern Oregon. I recently elected to have my upholsterer re-do the driver’s side lower seat center portion due to a split seam. Should be done within one week. I do have an interchangeable/ spare plaid SR5 wagon seat in position in the interim. Comes with original owner’s manuals, full in-depth illustrated factory service manual, and original Toyota color large format blingy sales brochure.
Clean Oregon title.

Honda versus Toyota: which compact 4×4 wagon would you choose?  


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