Curbside Outtake: The Neighborhood Tercel Won’t Start This Morning

This Tercel has been in the neighborhood for all of its long life. I noticed it not long after we moved here—very close to 30 years ago. It used to be owned by a woman down the block, and then she sold it to a guy around the corner, and now it lives about five blocks away. The current owner tells me it was originally bought new by a UO professor who used to live nearby.

It just won’t quit…until the morning a few days ago when I drove by and saw it being ministrated to by its owner and a mechanically-minded friend.

I pulled over in my 19 year old “Toyota”, a mere babe compared to this one, which is about twice that age. The two were trying to figure out whether it was missing spark or gas. My guess was the latter, as it had coughed and run roughly before it quite the day before.

These Tercels have a rep for being very durable, but like all cars from the ’80s, they do have a spaghetti of vacuum hoses and such, on the intake side. Nevertheless, they soldier on, at least a few of them still do her in Eugene.

I left them to determine which critical element was missing. When I drove by later, the Tercel was back in the driveway. It’s good to go again. Maybe it will eventually get passed on to another neighbor?