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Tubby -- Guest opinion by Owen

While I'm on the subject of vehicles, I suppose that no listing of car opinions would be complete without a rating of one of the most beautiful and outstanding cars ever made.

I refer, of course, to the 1982 Toyota Tercel two door coupe.

My edition, nicknamed Tubby, was an automatic transmission model with the venerable toyota 1.5 litre 3a model engine, which (I am reliably told) developed almost 50 horsepower. Pathetic, you say? Sure! Three speeds, no overdrive, prone to rust on the body panels, especially the doors, AM radio (didn't work), vinyl seats that cracked in the cold and seared exposed shorts-wearing flesh in the summer, hell, the thing only got about 25 MPG, what made it so good? It was my first car that I owned all by myself. That spells freedom, which is important to a young man. Oh, and the fuel gauge was broken, so I had to watch the odometer and fill the car every 250 km.

But all these little niggling faults don't reflect the real beauty of the thing. It was actually rather classically styled, reminding me of BMW products of the 1970s, a much nicer look on the two door than the hatch or the sedan. Because of the total lack of a transmission tunnel, the front seats were actually quite roomy, even to the point where I didn't feel all that bad putting my 6'7" buddy in it, though they were not very grippy in the corners. But one thing is for sure, that car was _quite_ grippy in the corners. It was slung absurdly low for an economy car, leading to an astounding ability to take fast corners and contributing to a straight-legged straight-armed driving position for me with the seat all the way back, which made me feel kind of like I was driving a sports car. With better tires, some shocks, and a 5 speed transmission, I would have had no doubt about the ability of that car to rally off road.

Speaking of off road, I must mention that even in some of the deepest snow I have ever seen on roads in my hometown, I only ever got stuck in my Toyota once, and that was on an unplowed side road on a steep hill, on which the idiot in front of me STOPPED his sport ute in the middle of the road, then slid sideways off the road spinning all 4 of his wheels. I wonder to this day what the hell he was thinking when he stopped that monster. However I was lucky to have a passenger with me who was able to push me out of the wheel rut I got stuck in (uphill no less). I kept sand in my trunk, but honestly, I never needed it once.

In conclusion, I would recommend this particular car to anyone who has less than five hundred bucks to spend on transportation, its cheap enough that you don't really need anything but liability insurance, you don't need an alarm or the club, with the 5 speed it would get some pretty good mileage, and if it has been looked after (unlikely) it should be quite reliable. In short, I loved my car. But then my brother bought it off me when he moved out and I got a newer car, and he sent my baby to the knacker's yard. I still haven't forgiven him.

Four and a Half Pints. It would have been five if there had been a manual transmission. As it stands, it was the only automatic that I ever loved.

Score: Four and a half Pints Four and a half Pints

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