While the highest believable odometer reading I’ve ever seen on a discarded car during my junkyard travels was a 1990 Volvo 240 with 626,476 miles, I spot so many junked Toyotas with better than 300,000 miles that I don’t consider them very noteworthy. However, nearly all of those soon-to-be-crushed 300K-plus Toyotas are Camrys and Previas, with the occasional Corolla thrown in for variety. And, of course, the owners of the beloved 1983-1988 Tercel 4WD wagon tend to rack up plenty of miles on their cars. The ordinary Toyota Tercel of the 1990s, however, was a cheap bargain-basement econo-commuter that wasn’t worth enough to fix when it got old and broke something expensive, and you won’t find many junkyard examples with big miles (in fact, just the opposite). Today’s Junkyard Gem is one Tercel that beats the odds and came quite close to the 400,000-mile mark before a crash ended its career at age 24.
That’s more than 13,850 miles per year during the course of this car’s life, or the distance of 14½ trips around the Earth’s Equator.
It would have kept driving, too, but then it got sideswiped (probably while parked) and a two-door sedan with half its doors