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Gift Horse - 1984 Toyota - Safe for Car Seats (no latch)?

My husband and I have never owned a car, and with our second baby on the way, easy transportation seems more and more attractive, but no less financially daunting than ever. A friend has offered us, for free, a 1984 Toyota Corolla, which seems to have been well-maintained and only has about 100000 km on it. I’m wondering whether it’s likely to require a lot of very expensive maintenance, and especially whether it will be safe for our kids. I called the local Toyota guys and they said retrofitting LATCH isn’t an option because there’s nothing in there to screw it into.

What do you think? Part of me says I’m crazy to even consider turning it down, but if the absence of LATCH or other things I haven’t considered yet would be a potential danger to my kids, I’d rather have see the car go to someone who doesn’t need those features.

In addition to the absence of Latch fittings, this 25 year old car also lacks side air bags and side curtain air bags, crumple zones, traction control, and possibly some other modern safety features including anti-lock brakes. The shoulder harnesses are unlikely to be able to be able to restrain someone in the event of a high-speed collision. In short, this is absolutely NOT a safe vehicle when compared to even the cheapest car of the 2005-2009 vintage, and when compared to modern vehicles, it is not a safe vehicle in which to transport children.

As to possible repairs, any used car is a crap-shoot, and when a car is 25 years old, the list of possible repairs is truly an unknown. Good maintenance is a plus, but most parts deteriorate just from age, so maintenance cannot attentuate their aging and eventual failure.

While it is difficult to pass up free vehicle, if you are looking for something that is safe for small children and is unquestionably reliable, this car is not what you are seeking.

I would not use this for my kids, unless I had absolutely no other option. I agree with everything VDC said, especially regarding body strength and integrity. It wasn’t good new (compared to a modern car), and it can only have gotten worse over the years. These things can crunch right up in a crash.

Thank you both for your advice. I had to make a quick decision and you confirmed my initial concerns. I will not accept the car.