Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

General discussion about our beloved Tercel 4WD cars
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Ace
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My tercel:: '83 DLX 4WD Tercel wagon 3AC

Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby Ace » Wed May 17, 2017 11:09 pm

Today, a guy knocks on my door, wearing a ball cap and with a few front teeth missing. "Hi, how are you!" My first thought is that he's another unwanted door-to-door salesman, and I just glare at him waiting to see what he will say next. "Do you want to sell your car?" Referring to my 1983 Tercel 4x4 wagon parked alongside the garage with the front end facing the street. And I say, "NO." Then I ask him why he's asking, since I certainly don't have a for-sale sign on it. "I'm looking for a car for my wife." I tell him I've had the car since 1984 and have no intention of selling it right now. "Nice car!" he says, something to that effect. I guess the recent rains have washed it clean.

Anyhow, he cheerfully says goodbye and beats a hasty retreat to a vehicle waiting in the street with another driver, a large newer black pickup truck. They drive off before I can get the license plate number.

So two possibilities cross my mind:

1) He's a potential scam artist or thief making a pretext to knock on the door to see if anyone is home - for whatever purpose.

2) He's a guy who really likes older Tercels and will knock on doors hoping someone will sell or give him an unadvertised car.

So what are your thoughts? Count me skeptical. Thinking I should put a secret kill switch on the Tercel because the older locks can get sloppy and it might be possible to steal just by trying some different keys.

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Jonymoto
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My tercel:: 1983, DLX 4wd wagon with 4.1 manual gearbox, tow bar). Manual steering. 313,000 kms. Tercel 4WD SR5, 1987, 500,000kms. Other car - 2003 Rav4, AWD, 2l manual, Peugeot 407 Diesel (93,000 miles) in Ireland for use when on holiday there.
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby Jonymoto » Wed May 17, 2017 11:31 pm

It wouldn't hurt to replace the ignition lock and install a kill switch. I have two Tercels and I was able to start either car with the same key, until I replaced the ignition lock in my good one. In Oz, I doubt anybody would be interested in stealing a Tercel, so I'm leaning towards your first possibility.
When you lose, don't lose the lesson - The Dalai Lama

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rer233
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby rer233 » Thu May 18, 2017 4:51 am

Knocking on doors (or leaving notes on windshields) is exactly how I managed to buy 4 of my current 5 Tercels. I call 'em driveway finds.
if it aint there, there's a good chance it won't break!
83 SR5 Silver/Blue (Snowmobile/work beater)-totaled but drivable
85 SR5 Blue
88 SR5 White (the 'good' one)-not anymore-totaled
87 fwd silver wagon a/t
87 4wd dx Cream (a/t- not anymore- now m/t)

The Professor
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My tercel:: 1987 Tercel SR5 4WD wagon
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby The Professor » Thu May 18, 2017 8:16 am

rer233 wrote:Knocking on doors (or leaving notes on windshields) is exactly how I managed to buy 4 of my current 5 Tercels. I call 'em driveway finds.


I agree. I can't remember how many notes or business cards I've left on windshields over the years. You're not a real car guy until you've followed someone to their home, miles out of your way, just to ask if they'd sell you their car. :lol:
1975 Subaru SuperStar wagon
1984 Subaru Turbo-Traction wagon
1996 Subaru SVX LSi
1999 Subaru Forester S
2002 Subaru WRX sedan

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splatterdog
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby splatterdog » Thu May 18, 2017 9:22 am

I've had a couple driveway sniffers myself. A toothless goofball cold calling my front door raises red flags though.

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rer233
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby rer233 » Thu May 18, 2017 12:33 pm

Never followed anybody home- none of my "driveway finds" had valid tags when I spotted them.
if it aint there, there's a good chance it won't break!
83 SR5 Silver/Blue (Snowmobile/work beater)-totaled but drivable
85 SR5 Blue
88 SR5 White (the 'good' one)-not anymore-totaled
87 fwd silver wagon a/t
87 4wd dx Cream (a/t- not anymore- now m/t)

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BaileySims
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My tercel:: 1983 Tercel SR5 4WD
Location: Texas
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby BaileySims » Thu May 18, 2017 1:15 pm

splatterdog wrote:I've had a couple driveway sniffers myself. A toothless goofball cold calling my front door raises red flags though.


I agree with this. Especially if he isn't driving his own car with his wife in the passenger seat.
WAGON MAFIA.
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ARCHINSTL
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My tercel:: Goldie is a 1986 SR5 attualmente con Weber/also owned the first T4WD in STL in late '82
Location: Kirkwood, a 'burb of St. Louis

Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby ARCHINSTL » Thu May 18, 2017 1:40 pm

Cynical Tom's bet is on theory #1 .
T4WD augury?
Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' Let us go and make our visit.
T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Now and then we had a hope that, if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
Mark Twain

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby Petros » Thu May 18, 2017 1:45 pm

I have found a few that way too, usually I will talk a bit to the owner so they get to know me, and my obvious interest and knowledge of these cars. If they do not want to sell I offer to help them getting running, or refer them to this site for further assistance. I even sold an old Datsun 510 many years ago to a cold caller at my front door (I was going to fix it, but my life was too full, and the young kid clearly was enthusiastic about my project car, happy to sell it). When I do, I try to be careful to not look like I am scamming them, but have a genuine interest in getting their old car running.

These cars have become a kind of cult car, many eye them, and when I go into the larger cities in the area I regularly get comments from strangers, and often get inquiries if I want to sell it. Again I refer them to this site.

It may have been nothing. You usually can tell by asking them if they know anything about these cars, and why they choose it. Their ansers will tell a lot. If they actually like these cars we can start a conversation about them, if they do not, they obviously get impatient and want to hurry the conversation, show no interet in the car. when that happens I just tell them it is not for sale and I have other things I must get to.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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xirdneh
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My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine, 83 tercel 4x4 wagon w/salvaged engine and 4.1 Diff's
Location: seabeck, washington, USA

Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby xirdneh » Thu May 18, 2017 5:06 pm

Gee, now I am thinking twice about knocking on a door in port angeles where a dark copper wagon sits in front. They might think I am a crook? Maybe if they see my tercel out front I will be OK.
Have left notes on tercels. Bought one doing that. Most do not call me.
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
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Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby Petros » Thu May 18, 2017 6:09 pm

Xirdneh,

I think if you are already driving a tercel4wd, your motives would be pretty obvious. Do not be afraid to knock on the door, or even better, say hi if you see someone in the yard. Even if they are not interested in selling it, usually they are hanging on it because they like it and hope to get it fixed some day. seeing a nice running one in front of the house would be an obvious conversation starter.

I was once in a Costco parking lot, loading my purchase into my Tercel4wd when an slim older woman ran up to me from actoss the parking lot, to remark on my Tercel4wd. She said they owned one that she drove for 400,000 miles, and hated to sell it, but had to get something newer. It is kind of funny the sort of affection people develop for these cars, even though it was years before, this stranger ran across the big parking lot just to say hello and tell me about the one she used to own.

I can not think of any other econo car that causes that kind of reaction in people. On many of my other cars I have driven for many years and miles, I am often happy to replace it. the number of things that need to get fixed keeps going up and it just becomes a nuisance to keep it on the road. On my Tercel4wd, when something breaks my thoughts are, another thing I need to get to. No question that I will keep it, no question that I will have to fix it, because it is an assumption that I will be keeping it, no matter what needs to get fixed, or how many miles are on it. The only thing that will make me give it up is if it gets so badly crushed, it is not practical to fix it. which means I will be out looking for another one.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

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Ace
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My tercel:: '83 DLX 4WD Tercel wagon 3AC

Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby Ace » Fri May 19, 2017 12:20 am

I used to sometimes talk to other Tercel drivers if I happened to be next to them in a parking lot with my Tercel. I would typically ask them how they liked the car and if they had had any major problems with it. My car is still relatively low mileage for the age so I wonder what kinds of problems typically develop with high mileage.

I've occasionally picked up apparent junk at the curb for the asking, like lawnmowers. Haven't tried it with cars.

Years ago, a friend bought a disassembled 1950 Dodge pickup cheap from neighbors because he was tired of it blocking his alley access; they seemed happy to get a nominal cash payment on the spot. My neighbor repaired it and still uses the truck around his country property.

I would have been less suspicious of this door-knocker guy if he had taken a moment to explain his motives and interest. He just seemed to be in a hurry to leave after I answered the door.

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xirdneh
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My tercel:: 87 tercel 4x4 wagon w/reringed engine, 83 tercel 4x4 wagon w/salvaged engine and 4.1 Diff's
Location: seabeck, washington, USA

Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby xirdneh » Fri May 19, 2017 1:29 am

I buy a lot online so FedEx and UPS visit often. Usually the same drivers. I asked them to let me know if they see a dead tercel. Took a number of years but a month ago one of them gave me an address. I checked it out and it was the wife of a guy I worked with years ago. She does not drive it much anymore, just when it snows which has not happened much for last 4 years. She plans to give it to her grand daughter. She does want to sell a 1962 Studebaker Grand Turismo Golden Hawk. She is 3rd owner and says it runs great.
Love those Tercell 4x4 wagons but they sure suffer from road noise.

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marlinh
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My tercel:: 'Everett' Blue mint 4WD wagon and 'Rocky' 86 4WD Wagon
Location: Kootenays

Re: Inquiry from the blue: "Want to sell your Tercel?"

Postby marlinh » Mon May 22, 2017 8:16 am

My latest acquisition was given to me by the owner who came running out to the road to stop us, as we were slowly driving by looking at their Tercel. It had been sitting for several years. Popped a battery in it and it fired right up. Drove it home!


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