Worst 80 shopping experience ever

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Dec 23, 2004
Beaverton, Oregon
This will likely get moved to chat for its very limited tech slant, but here goes:

My dad wants to get a Cruiser as a fun secondary rig to his new 4Runner and told me to keep an eye out for a good starting point for a moderate build. 1993 80 came up on Craigslist. Pictures looked good, new tires, "front and rear differential locks", etc. 162K miles, only $6K. Sounded a little too good to be true.

We got to the guy's house and he was out running errands. When he pulled up, it looked and sounded pretty good. Definitely not new tires, and a few scratches, but pretty dang good for $6K. A quick look at the interior showed the following:

• multiple tweeter holes in doors
• cheap vinyl covering glued sloppily onto the door panels in different places to hide other holes
• really bad fake wood grain
• huge hole in driver's seat
• cracked, dirty leather throughout
• holes in the carpet
• rear window off the track ~ "it goes down fine, but will only go up that far."

Exterior showed an upper tailgate that had been repainted (not well) with what appeared to be rattlecan emerald pearl metallic-ish spraypaint. The latch wouldn't close all the way, but no big deal. Just a little out of alignment.

Hey, still not too bad for $6K for a locked rig. Nope. No lockers. I asked about it and the guy didn't know what the hell a locker really was. He then went on to explain to me how the locker light came on when you put it in low and how Land Cruisers have a neat feature whereby they adjust their height automatically when put into low. Um... no. I schooled him up on lockers and suggested that he should change his Craigslist ad before he got every Cruiserhead in the Portland Metro area pissed off.

A quick look in the back revealed two 12" subwoofers mounted in the floor behind the third row seats. Flush. Yes, two giant holes cut into the floor and the subs wood screwed into the sheet metal. I climbed under the truck to see just how they managed that feat and saw what I thought was a completely rusted-through floor. Huge pieces were falling away and you could push your finger through the soft spots in the... what? particle board? WTF?! Yes, indeed: the particle board speaker box was mounted above the spare tire on the exterior of the truck, held to the floor of the Cruiser with rusted wood screws. Awesome.

I tried to raise the third row seats to get a better look and found that they only thing holding them in was the floor hooks. The side bars were absent. I should have known from the funky angle the seats were cocked at. I kindly suggested removing them or at the very least telling people not to sit there. Ok, it wasn't that kindly of a suggestion. I said anybody sitting in them would become a "200lb. death projectile" in the event of an accident.

Popping the hood revealed the intake hose wrapped in duct tape, but very few other obvious problems, save for neglected fluids. As I was asking him about the tape job, it was obvious he had never opened the hood in the three months he had owned it. He revealed that he paid $6K and was looking to break even. In my kindest words possible, I told him he might not get asking price.


I know that probably isn't the worst story, but it definitely made for an interesting evening. :cheers:
C6H12O6 - is this the truck you looked at? Save me a trip if it is...

1993 Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 Only $5800!!!!

Yep, that's the one. :)

Ghetto Fabulous. I told him he'd be lucky to get half if the back was rusted through. When I realized it was a particle board speaker box crumbling away to nothing, I said half might have been a little harsh, but not by much. That thing was one fender bender away from being a mediocre parts rig.
I just noticed he dropped the price by a whopping $200 when he revised the ad to now only advertise center differential lockers. :) I guess he doesn't think lockers are worth that much.
Man, sucks when you get your hopes up, and then people just waste you're time. I understand wanting to talk your rig up...but come on. You should email this thread to him so he can get a clue. Maybe the info on this site would help him get his rig fixed up so he doesn't take in the shorts so bad.
Man, sucks when you get your hopes up, and then people just waste you're time.

I guess, but I like to think of every rig I look at as making me more experienced. Each one makes you that much better and quicker at evaluating the next one.

What clinched the decision to get an 80 (and not a 60) was how well the beat to s***, poorly maintained, ghetto 80 that I reluctantly took for a test drive actually performed. I was amazed at how well the beater actually drove. I held out for a way nicer one since the owner would not reduce the price enough for me to buy it and strip and turn it into a buggy. You definitely need to look at more than 1.
I won't pay even $3k for it!!
I will sell you my 94....
FWIW, the engine looked clean, but not detailed. It sounded good, despite the broken intake hose, and the body was in decent shape. Lots of corrosion and rust on the bolts in the tailgate area, but for the right project, it might not be too bad; particularly if you are going with ARB lockers anyway. It doesn't sound like this guy can afford to move off this price very far, but he's trying to get his $$$ out to pay for a trip to Europe. He might let it go for a song in another few weeks. I don't see it going anywhere.

Then again, he paid $6k for it, so there must be people that dumb out there somewhere.
I did a carfax on that one and the odo had been rolled back, it originally was from OHIO, then UTAH then Oregon, then Washington. It had seen a lot of drivers. I sent it to the kid hoping he would put something in the ad but I don't see anything about it.

Honesty in selling a car with the internet and all the checks that a person can do, is a must.
Yeah, I was wondering. Seemed like that sort of rig.

A little disappointed with the guy now. He told me he hadn't Carfaxed it yet, and that he bought it from a dealer and thought it had only had one other owner before and never back east. Pretty easy read of somewhere with salted, snowy roads. Bummer.
I guess, but I like to think of every rig I look at as making me more experienced. Each one makes you that much better and quicker at evaluating the next one.


Ahhh, good point and well said.
Sounds like the one my wife and I saw in Ashland. One flair falling off, balding unevenly worn tires, crappy paint, interior looked like a racoon tore it up and left trash everywhere and only 197k miles! Such a deal for only $7,900!

Even my wife thought they were crazy!

Better luck on the next one.

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