1981 Tercel Hatch

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bryanthompson
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
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1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:16 am

Hey, folks!

Just a short note to say that this little fella followed me home today.

I know he's not 4WD, but I figure since I've got the restoration going on over in this thread,

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5528

I'd share this one, too. I've been looking for a little runabout, and he seems like a good fit.

I'll spend some time cleaning him up and will share photos.

Here's what I know, so far:

1981 Corolla Tercel Hatch
91,000 miles
All original car with zero rust
A/C

Was owned by a very nice commercial airline pilot who kept the car at LAX for short term use during layovers.
Happily, he covered the dash, so while not perfect, it is indeed free of cracks.
The car is a little sun-baked but presents and drives well. We drove it to Pasadena and back today, to put my Camry in storage, and it scampered along
in its jaunty way.

Thanks for taking a look, and feel free to please send parts leads my way (I know I'll get a little obsessed making him super nice)

BT
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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
Location: Victoria, B.C.

Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by Mark » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:37 pm

That one looks really nice. I guess that's what a dry climate can do. Up here, the metal never dries for about 6 months of the year. For UV protection, I spray/wipe down all plastic surfaces with Armor-all a couple of times a year. It keeps the surfaces looking shiny and new. I think there was a recall on the 1st gen Tercels because the rear strut mounts rusted away easily and the back end would suddenly drop while people were driving. It probably wouldn't be a problem in your climate though, but it might be something you might want to quickly check. My '81 has some surface rust around the mounts, but they still seem ok.

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bryanthompson
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:35 pm

Thanks for the tips!

After a day of color sanding and polishing, it turns out there's some life left in that paint, underneath all the jet fuel particulate.

Who knew ten years of pollution could create a protective shell...

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by Petros » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:15 pm

that is a classic. still somewhat under-powered with that obsolete 3a engine, but on the lighter car may not be as much an issue.

It should deliver pretty good fuel economy too if it is running well, it was much lighter than the T4wd.
'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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bryanthompson
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:18 am

Petros wrote:that is a classic. still somewhat under-powered with that obsolete 3a engine, but on the lighter car may not be as much an issue.

It should deliver pretty good fuel economy too if it is running well, it was much lighter than the T4wd.


Yeah, it was funny, because the seller mentioned that it was slow. But I'd never driven one and compared to my T4WD, it's peppy, and so I was like, "It's so FAST!" He laughed.

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bryanthompson
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:30 pm

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So, this little mechanically flawless, but unfortunately wrecked Tercel just fell into my lap. I swear, these orphan cars find me. Suddenly, my "Not Gonna Obsess Over It" runabout car is going to get all brand new mechanical components. Tercel Restoration Too, here we go!
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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: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by ARCHINSTL » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:50 pm

Bryan -
GOOD thing you do not have a bean-counter to rein you in (I guess?)!
I had one, but that ended 36 years ago ... *
Tom

* Of course, she feels the same way, and that is OK with me (well, minus a few expletives :shock: ...)
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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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
Location: Victoria, B.C.

Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by Mark » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:38 pm

That wrecked Tercel looks like it was recently pristine. Even the wheels look shiny and polished. Was someone driving it in a classic car parade and it was hit by another lovingly-restored classic car?

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bryanthompson
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:48 am

Mark wrote:That wrecked Tercel looks like it was recently pristine. Even the wheels look shiny and polished. Was someone driving it in a classic car parade and it was hit by another lovingly restored classic car?
Yes, indeed. I saw this cafe latte colored car about six months ago. The owner rebuilt the engine, a/c compressor, suspension and mounted brand new tires.
And then, he was plowed into by someone not paying attention (EdOp: Autonomous cars can't come quickly enough...if only to save the non-autonomous ones that we love so much.)

And so, two days after purchasing my orange metallic car, I saw this one online, and for sale, but wrecked. So, I went to see the owner and talked about the two cars becoming one, so he sold it to me for a few hundred dollars. The tires alone are worth that. It means that my little runabout will now get a full mechanical restoration, and while it's not what I had planned for the car, it will be such a nice project to see it brought to full potential.

I'm usually a purist when it comes to these cars, but I'd very much love to find a set of beige plaid SR-5 seats for it. Do you guys ever see those available?
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bryanthompson
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:49 am

ARCHINSTL wrote:Bryan -
GOOD thing you do not have a bean-counter to rein you in (I guess?)!
I had one, but that ended 36 years ago ... *
Tom

* Of course, she feels the same way, and that is OK with me (well, minus a few expletives :shock: ...)
Hahaha! :D The reigning in is me telling myself that since I don't have a brand new Audi, I can spend money on these little vintage economy cars, instead. It's a good story...

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rer233
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My tercel:: Multiple

Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by rer233 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:57 am

I'd MUCH rather have a fleet of 30 plus year old Tercel wagons than ANY new Audi (or just one real nice Terc. for that matter.)

As for un-restrained living, I've been driving/ collecting/ hoarding Tercel wagons for going on 23 years now and have lived alone in my 100 plus year old 3 story house (with full basement and detatched 2 car garage) for the duration. You can imagine the collection of stuff i'm surrounded by. Dan (Gottalovem) can attest to that.

In fact I've got a real nice pair of brown front seats out of my long-departed gold '84 SR5 in my first floor living room. Pass. seat is pristine, driver's has somewhat collapsed outboard side bolsters and maybe a 1/4" tear in the lower bolster. No back seat 'tho. Too bad I'm on the other side of the world from you, Bryan. I'm located in Baltimore, MD...
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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bryanthompson
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My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:27 pm

rer233 wrote:
In fact I've got a real nice pair of brown front seats out of my long-departed gold '84 SR5 in my first floor living room. Pass. seat is pristine, driver's has somewhat collapsed outboard side bolsters and maybe a 1/4" tear in the lower bolster. No back seat 'tho. Too bad I'm on the other side of the world from you, Bryan. I'm located in Baltimore, MD...

Oh, thank you! I need the plaid seats for the 1978-82 SR-5. They would need to be from this generation to fit. At least the rear one, anyways.

Here is the Scope of Work I made for my mechanic. Most of this will be done while I'm traveling overseas next week. Always love input on the areas I have questions about from this group!

Best,

BT
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Mark
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My tercel:: 1984 Automatic, 1981 sedan
Location: Victoria, B.C.

Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by Mark » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:17 pm

Regarding the smell of unburnt fuel, here are some differences between my 1st gen '81 and my second gen '84 4wd wagon that might account for that:
The '81:
- Has no catalytic converter so when it's cold in the morning there is some fuel vapour in the exhaust. In California, it probably doesn't get cold enough to cause this and maybe the California version had a catalytic converter.
-My '81 had a points-type distributor which may not produce as reliable a spark (if not frequently checked and adjusted) as my 2nd gen's electronic distributor. In the US maybe the 1st gens had an electronic distributor.
-My '81 doesn't have a vent to the charcoal canister from the carb bowl in its evaporative emissions system. When the engine is warm and I shut it down, the fuel in the carb bowl can evaporate from the heat (normal). Since there's no line venting these fumes to the charcoal canister (like there is in my 2nd gen), the fumes vent out through the air filter housing and out the front of the grill. There is a noticeable smell of fuel when I walk past the front of my car after I park it.

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bryanthompson
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:38 pm
My tercel:: 1983 4WD SR5 Wagon : "The Brochure Car"
Location: West Hollywood, CA
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by bryanthompson » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:57 pm

Mark wrote:Regarding the smell of unburnt fuel, here are some differences between my 1st gen '81 and my second gen '84 4wd wagon that might account for that:
The '81:
- Has no catalytic converter so when it's cold in the morning there is some fuel vapour in the exhaust. In California, it probably doesn't get cold enough to cause this and maybe the California version had a catalytic converter.
-My '81 had a points-type distributor which may not produce as reliable a spark (if not frequently checked and adjusted) as my 2nd gen's electronic distributor. In the US maybe the 1st gens had an electronic distributor.
-My '81 doesn't have a vent to the charcoal canister from the carb bowl in its evaporative emissions system. When the engine is warm and I shut it down, the fuel in the carb bowl can evaporate from the heat (normal). Since there's no line venting these fumes to the charcoal canister (like there is in my 2nd gen), the fumes vent out through the air filter housing and out the front of the grill. There is a noticeable smell of fuel when I walk past the front of my car after I park it.
Thanks, Mark. I'll bring these notes up with my mechanic while I'm in Austria. Very grateful for the suggestions! BT

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Petros
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My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
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Re: 1981 Tercel Hatch

Post by Petros » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:26 am

those first gen Tercel SR-5 seats would be hard to find, the SR-5 version is pretty rare as it is. finding one with good seats would be almost impossible. If it were me, I would salvage the seats out of the parts car, pull off the upholstery covers and either sew in fabric panels yourself, or take it to a small upholstery shop and have them do it. You can likely have it done cheap south of the boarder, hopefully they speak good enough English so they will know what you want.

If authenticity is not important, I would choose some matching, but fun, even wild colored pattern fabric.

When I was in collage I was slowing customizing a old 1971 Datsun 510 into a fun "street performance" sedan, lowered struts, modified engine, etc. The thin vinyl seats were call cracked and falling apart, I went to fabric place that sold remnant fabric pieces (enough to do the seats in my car), and choose something I thought looked kind of cool and sporty. heavy weave fabric, mostly black with large honey comb shaped pattern of blue and gold. I made seat covers on my mothers sewing machine, black sides, back and edges, with the brightly colored panels down the center. I liked the results, but over the many years I owned it, long after I graduated from collage, was many people kept commenting on that "wild" upholstery job. I could not figure out what was so wild about it, as if the typical boring mono-color vinyl at that time was "normal". I paid $600 for the car when it had 100k miles on it in 1980, drove it for another 100k miles for ten more years, through collage, working, getting married, and buying a house. Than my wife was driving it and it overheated (leaky hose) and seized the engine. I had it towed and parked it in front of the house and bought a new pickup, I did not have time to rebuild the engine. it sat there for six months, covered in leaves and bird droppings, when some black high school kid knocked on my door asking if I wanted to sell it. I had not considered it, but it would get one more project off my list. I took him to the garage and showed him the boxes of performance parts and spare parts I had not yet installed, and told him what happened to the engine. It was also a rare surviving two door (lighter weight) manual transmission, with all the performance mods on it, and a very rare at the time, factory in-dash tach. He agreed to buy it for $600, and towed it away, thrilled to find such a classic. I was happy to see it gone, and I got what I paid for it many years later.
'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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