This Used Car Ad Is Totally Tubular

Madison Ave, take some copywriting lessons from this radical used car ad: “Looking for a car with a sweet tape deck and a radio with five pre-sets? A car that needs new brakes and maybe some action under the hood?…Than this is the car for you! [sic]”

Are you in love with the 80s? Looking for a car with a sweet tape deck and a radio with five pre-sets? A car that needs new brakes and maybe some action under the hood? Do you not trust your teenager in anything that has electric windows and more than 108 horsepower? Than this is the car for you!


1. This is the car that never dies (I wanted it to die for years, but never has)

2. Tires with lots of tread left

3. Adequate trunk space for this size of vehicle!

4. Manual transmission so you feel like it has more vroom

5. Tweed gray interior with matching vinyl trim and some tears

6. A dashboard with the vinyl pre-cracked

7. Runs but makes unidentifiable engine noises

8. Newer windshield wipers!

9. No LATCH system!

10. No airbags!

11. Completely respectable turning radius!

12. Manual windows so you can relive your youth

13. Air conditioning and heating!

14. It’s a Toyota, seriously, they go forever

Act now and I will throw in free snow chains (if they are still in the trunk) that I was forced to buy to make it over the Sierra-Nevada one late December!

Make me an offer!

Besides being amusing, it’s a good example of how you can use humor and honesty to make your online ads pop when you’re trying to offload stuff on Craigslist and eBay to earn some extra cash.

1989 Toyota Corolla [KSL] (Thanks to Shelly!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. jimigsu says:

    That makes me very happy. Makes me want to come up with a similar ad for my 06 Ranger.

  2. Buckus says:

    $500 and I’ll haul it away.


  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    5. Tweed gray interior with matching vinyl trim and some tears

    The tears of broken teenage dreams when you present this to your 16 year old.

    • obits3 says:

      15. Have you made your son take an abstinence pledge? Then this is the car for you!

    • webweazel says:

      Exactly. That’s how it should be. All these parents buying their kids brand new cars for graduation, etc. are just going down the wrong path. The best thing to do, is buy the kid a $1,000 (or less) beater, a $100 box of Craftsman tools, and a Haynes manual. Tell him/her “Buy your own insurance and gas.”
      It forces them to get a job, teaching responsibility, to pay for insurance and gas and parts. It also teaches a new skill of knowing about how the car works and how to do at least simple repairs/maintenance. Plus, they appreciate it and take care of it a whole lot better than these coddled “entitled” brats wrapping their brand-new grad car around a pole with a shrug and a “Mommy will buy me another.”

      • obits3 says:

        What I think I’ll do is time it so I can give my first kid my car, that way I know the issues it may have. Maybe I could be like: I’ll give you my car or $2,000 to buy a car, your choice. Either way I win. If he/she chooses my car, I get a new one. If they choose to buy used, then I can teach them about what to look for.

      • JBTX says:

        Your rant sounds like some one who is jealous.

        When I “purchased” my first car at 17 I was also a bit envious of those getting new cars. I ended up with a horrible old pile of crap cause it was all I could afford. And man was this car unsafe, the drum brakes would fade when wet, hard braking caused it to jerk to one side. It almost killed me in the rain once. And not only that but the money I lost on this car keeping it running (repairs, tow bills and being late to work and so on) were a huge burden. I got rid of it and because I was young with no credit ended up paying 22% on a newer used car, just so I could get to school and work.

        Now as a Father there is no way in H*ll I would buy my Daughter in any old beater, If her grades continue to be good and she earns it she will get a new car. Not some new luxury or sports car but some thing along the lines of Jetta, Cruize, or Focus. Newer cars are safer, efficient, and will last her longer. Instead of struggling as hard as I did she will have on less thing to worry about as she starts her adult life.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I agree. I’m very thankful that when I started driving, my parents just gave me their old car, rather than make me work a summer to afford the only piece of crap that would drive off the lot. Even if you’re a good driver, an unsafe car that’s falling apart won’t protect you from the other people on the road.

          If I have kids, I’ll get them their first car, and it’ll be reasonable and not expensive. They can learn the value of working for their money by paying for gas and insurance, but kids who have to work minimum wage to buy their own vehicles tend to cut corners. This coincides with that feeling of invincibility when you’re 16 – there’s a reason why teens have the most accidents.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:


        I’m buying my kid a nice, maybe not great, new car. Insurance, gas, etc., all their responsibility. But I will pay the new car bill simply because it will be safe.

        The difference in safety even between a 2000 and 2010 model automobile is quite large. I’d hate to think my kid would be driving something dangerous just so I can teach them some cute lesson.

  4. obits3 says:

    “It’s a Toyota, seriously, they go forever”

    Especially if your in a Prius!

    [Yes, I went there :)]

  5. kompeitou says:

    ’88 Aires for me. Booyah!

  6. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    $800 for a car with working air conditioning, reasonable tires, runs reasonably well, and isn’t rusted out doesn’t sound too bad. A teenager could definitely learn a lot about cars with something like this.

  7. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Ha ha that’s great!

  8. The cake is a lie! says:

    That car will sell quick in Provo. You can always gauge the value of a car by how many ugly ones you see out on the road. There are a ton of old late 80s Corollas still on the roads out here. I’ll bet he can get whatever he wants for it.

  9. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I had a 1989 Cutlass Supreme in college. The radio had five presets and it was just fine… but the day I discovered I could program in four additional presets by hitting two neighboring buttons at the same time was pretty much the happiest moment I’ve ever had in that car.

  10. misterfweem says:

    Sigh. makes me miss my ’76 Chevy Nova. And my ’88 Olds Cutlass.

    • Rachacha says:

      ’78 Olds Cutlass Salon that used to belong to my parents. The car was butt ugly, and had been washed so many times that there was only one coat of paint left, but it ran like a top. My Parents bought it new in 1978, I started driving it in 1987, and I gave it to my brother in 1997 and he drove it intil the floor boards rusted out in 2002

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        They really did last forever. I had a ’78 Cutlass Supreme, which was the sporty coupe model with super long doors. The thing was built like a tank and got about 200,000 miles before it succumbed to rust.

  11. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I wrote an awesome ad for my boyfriend’s skis a year ago. We had a lot of bites, but no one bought. I did, however, receive several emails about how awesome the ad was, so there’s that…

  12. Fjord says:

    This car is the perfect way to keep a kid unspoiled.
    I still keep my beloved $400 car from college with working heat/ac regardless of the fact that I own another $14k worth of vehicles. My parents never paid for any of my vehicles.

  13. HeavyMental says:

    i would buy it for 50~100$ and make donuts

  14. Jet_Set says:

    I’m the writer! Aww shucks, gang! It’s true, I wish to sell this car. I have owned that never-dying Corolla for 14 years; it was my dowry. Is it a shock that I am an actual copywriter? I hope not. Also, let’s be friends, I feel like we have something going here.

    I fixed the than/then thing that prompted the [sic]. That kind of tomfoolery is what happens when you deliriously throw up an ad at 1:00 in the morning and think you don’t have to proofread. Wrong.

  15. c_c says:

    I drove an ’88 Corolla for a while. Thing was a tank. I posted to it on Craigslist back in 2007 – within minutes had a buyer for $1000 cash. Kindof wish I’d kept it and gotten rid of our POS Jetta…

  16. EyeintheLAsky says:

    i LOVE #11

    “Completely respectable turning radius!”

    because, lets face it. if it ISN’T being respectable, would YOU want YOUR DAUGHTER driving it?

    Kudos on your imaginative copywriting skills.

  17. JonBoy470 says:

    Nah, I’m a parent, and I don’t buy the “I want my kid to be safe” argument. Even for a teenager, the statistical probability of dying in a car crash is still pretty small. Even if they’re driving a crap-mobile, the risk isn’t that much greater, per mile. I had a 1987 Bonneville for my first car. To this day, the Pinnacle of Automotive Excellence [sarcasm]. When I finally graduated from college and bought a new car with my own money, I was very proud and appreciated (and knew how to take care of) my new car, even though it was a Ford Focus.

    As far as the reliability factor is concerned, every kid should get stuck on the side of the road with a dead car at least once. It builds character. Not that I speak from personal experience in my aforementioned ’87 Bonneville.

  18. Steve H. says:

    This takes me back to 2001, when I bought my first car, a 1988 Chevy Nova for $900. IIRC, my old Nova and this corolla were essentially the same. It was quirky, but it worked. Like the driver side window wouldn’t always roll down (it felt stuck). It made for some interesting turnpike trips.

    Sadly, an icy February evening and the Lincoln Towncar behind me did some damage to this car, and I made the regretful decision to junk it. It still ran, but the accident caused the wheel rub up against the wheel well whenever I turned it all the way.

  19. Saltpork says:

    My newest vehicle (in both year and purchase) is a 96 S10.
    I bought my first vehicle & every single one since. I’ve had breakdowns, gaskets go, bad radiators, dead fuel pumps, transmission leaks, all kinds of fun.

    I have never spent more than 3 grand on a vehicle and I’ve never had to. I also learned to do the work myself so I wouldn’t have to spend thousands at a garage. I’ve built myself a personal shop over the last decade and helped my friends with their vehicular issues as well. Everything from normal maintenance to replacing transmissions & rear ends.

    There is nothing wrong with driving a used vehicle and anyone who is convinced that giving their child a newer vehicle for less “issues” or safety is fooling themselves. Vehicles, no matter the age, that are treated badly will break down.

    Older vehicles teach teens and young people how to take care of their vehicle and if they pay for it (or half of it like my parents did on my first ride), they will treat it better and are less prone to abuse it because they are vested in it.

    There are adults who don’t know how to take care of an engine, much less how to troubleshoot issues.
    Until we have personal jetpacks or you live in a big city, a car is your lifeblood of transportation. Treat it well.

    Good luck with your Toyota. I’m sure it will make someone very happy to have such reliable and inexpensive transportation.