Today’s Autotrader Find is a legend in quirky old economy cars. It’s a car you may have seen a few times in traffic, but it’s more likely that you’ve seen it being driven by Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad.” It’s a 1987 Toyota Tercel Deluxe 4WD Wagon in excellent condition with a little over 47,000 miles on the clock. It’s being offered for sale by New Milford Motors in New Milfort, Connecticut, with an asking price of $8,990. This might be a bit steep for a Tercel but a small price to pay for such a clean example of such a weird car.
This Tercel wagon is an early example of a compact car with 4-wheel drive, and its 4WD system wasn’t quite like the ones found in conventional trucks and SUVs. The transfer case was designed specifically for this car, and it was built right into the transmission. When you push the button on the shifter, it switches from front-wheel drive to 4WD. There’s no conventional center differential, so the 4WD is only intended for use in slippery situations when you really need the extra traction. If you leave it on all the time, the drivetrain will wear out quickly and handling will be greatly compromised.
A few notes about this car pointed out in the description include a factory radio delete, factory air conditioning, a cargo cover with deck lamp, cloth seat upgrade and the original floor mats. The interior appears to be in impeccable condition, and despite how quirky it is, the interior looks like a very normal ’80s Toyota.
As weird as the Tercel 4WD Wagon is, I think it was actually ahead of its time. It was kind of like the small all-wheel-drive crossover of its day. Back in 1987, there was almost nothing else on the road quite like this. But fast forward to today, and our roads are flooded with little AWD-equipped SUVs like the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona and Toyota’s own C-HR.
A used car budget of $8,990 could get you a more modern but more boring Toyota. If you’re looking for a practical car you can drive every day but also want something that will stand out and start a lot of conversations at the gas station, we think this Toyota Tercel wagon is a great buy. Find a Toyota Tercel for sale