I was so proud back in high school when my '73 Buick made it just over 90K miles with only one engine rebuild and one transmission rebuild. My friend had a cherry '79 Toyota 2WD. I gave him so much crap for driving a Japanese putt-putt foreign truck, compared to my big American V-8 monster. How things have changed almost two decades later.
Ended up selling my Buick for a few hundred bucks where it shortly thereafter required a 2nd rebuild just after 100K miles.
That's when I was first introduced to Toyota by getting my Uncle's '76 Toyota Corola with 160K miles. It hadn't ran in several years and was sitting under a tree covered in dirt where it was last abandoned. Not because it didn't run but because they got a newer car and pretty much just threw that one away. The engine oil was changed maybe 3 or times in its entire life. That car defined the word abused since the day he bought it. Didn't believe in maintainence. It was a throw away car, you see. Purchased brand new in 1976 with the intent to just drive it until the wheels fell off.
After pulling the spark plugs and cleaning them up and firing up the motor I drove it home. Top speed was intially about 40 mph, but gradually increased until it could hit about 70 by the time I pulled into my driveway an hour later.
I gave it a quick tune up, replaced the valve cover gasket that had caused the engine compartment to turn black with oil, cleaned the moss off the exterior and the inch of dirt off the interior and drove that car another 50-60K miles.
Going from 8 mpg to 25 mpg was a welcome change since gas had gone north of a buck a gallon by then. No more daily gas station visits like with the Buick.
Being just out of high school, I only knew two engine rpms, idle and redline. All the emissions came off and exhaust was cut short. No serious mods. Just the hack job that a poor post high school graduate could afford. I drove that car like it was a rally racer every single day for several years. I did eventually have to replace the alternator and did a quick headgasket change in the driveway after driving it for about month with water in the oil. I wondered why it blew white smoke all the time. Sold the car with well over 200K miles on it and spotted it several years later, still on the road near my hometown. I knew then and there, there was something very special about those Toyotas.
I have no doubt with just normal care and maintainence since new, that car would have gone 400K miles and not needed a new headgasket.
It was the most bulletproof car I ever owned. I was sold on Toyota from then on. Next car was an '83 Celica GT-S that I put over 100K miles on and sold it with over 210K miles. Then got my cherry '91 Supra Turbo......but sadly sold it a few years later.
I got a Honda CRX in between which also proved reliable, but when it came time to buy a 4x4 truck, there wasn't even a question which brand it was going to be.
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