Just moved down to Los Angeles from SF and I’ve been scouring Craigslist for a cheap car. Ideally I’d like a hatchback (Civic would be nice) but given my max budget of $2500 there doesn’t seem to be many options. People want ridiculous amounts for salvage titled Hondas with 200K+ miles and a lot of the ads seem to be phishing scams or have sketchy stories about how they lost the lease… riiighhht.
The other day I came across the following ad:
White 1989, 4 door, manual, Toyota Camry. Excellent running and physical condition. Extremely clean body. Low miles (131K), no known mechanical problems. I am the second known owner of this car. It was previously an old ladies car, who babied it. Selling only because my wife can’t drive a manual and is nervous to learn now that we have a baby. Has red interior, power locks and windows, AC. Clean Title $1600. Hate to see it go, being its a great gas saving car in amazing condition for it’s age.
I talked to the guy and he seemed legit (I could hear a baby crying in the background which seems to confirm his story about why he wants to get rid of the car) and although everyone seems to claim that their car was previously owned someone’s grandma, it’s possible he’s telling the truth about that too. So my question is, should I go for it? I’m going to test drive the car tomorrow. I like that it has low mileage and that year has great reviews but it is still a 22 year old car. Seems like things might be ready to crap out from age if not from use. Does anyone have one of these that’s still running strong? I’ll put it through the paces and check the fluids, clutch, etc, is there anything in particular I should watch out for on this model?
One other thought: $1600 seems kind of high given the age of the car. Blue book values don’t go back to '89 but the estimated pricing for a good condition '91 Camry with that mileage is $1465 so I figure an '89 should go for slightly less than that. Excellent condition is listed as $1665 but really is it even possible for a 22 yr old car to be in excellent condition?
Another concern I have is that being an '89 this model won’t have airbags which I believe didn’t come standard until around '92