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There is almost never any MINOR rust. If the rust is clearly where there was a door ding that the paint got chipped and wasn't retouched, then that is minor. Usually everything else is rusting from the inside out, particularly the bottom of the doors, bottom of the rear quarter panels, along the seam at the bottom of the hatch, the rocker panels and rocker mouldings, around the edge of the sunroof weatherstrip, below the fuel door, etc, anywhere that water could get inside a crevice and sit without evaporating for a while. If the rest of the paint is shiny, then its possible that a good body shop could cut out any rusted sections, repair it with new metal or fiberglass and blend the paint to an acceptible match, but I wouldn't consider that minor. Just fair warning that Toyota didn't do any rustproofing on these Supras. If you are lucky (unlucky depending on how you view it), the dealer where it was originally purchased might have done a fair job on the undercoating (they actually spray it inside the body panels). Only downside is its a nasty tar-like stuff that gets all over you when you work on the car.

You should easily be able to tell if the car has any driveability issues, but make a checklist of everything to test during the drive. A/C, heater, fan, cruise control, remote latch, pwr antenna, lumbar, etc. Supras pretty much all came "loaded" so just make a list of every conceivable option and check them off one by one.

Given the mileage, the car may run and drive fine, yet still have many urgent maintenance issues. Have a friend follow you and watch the tailpipe for any smoke as you take off from a stop. That will alert you to needing valve stem seals. If you don't do your own wrenching, it can be expensive. DIY, its a $75 job. Smoke all the time means rings - walk away or offer $1000 less off the top. I'd unscrew the five or so bolts holding the top timing cover and take a look at the timing belt. If it looks new and dry, you're golden, if not, well it needs replaced and you don't do it without doing all the front seals at the same time - again, bout $75 DIY or $400 at the dealer. Do you have emissions testing there? If so, I've never seen a working EGR system at that mileage and that's a $130 valve.

Here's another tip, carry a vacuum gauge with you and about 3' or more of hose. There are a couple of incredibly simple tests that anyone can do themselves that will give you a hint as to possible excess engine wear on valves or rings. Some of the better guages come with an instruction booklet.

Also, a refrigerator magnet should stick to any metal part of the car. If it falls off, then you got a dent full of putty under the paint. This may or may not be bad depending on the extent of the damage, but its just a hint to look for creases or crinkles in the frame. Look under the carpet in the trunk and at the inner fenders under the hood for this. Also, look for any signs the whole car has been repainted as some used car dealers will give it a cheap respray to make it more appealing (at least for the moment). A good spot to look is the bottom side of the rub strips along the midline of the car. If a body shop taped it off at all, thats where they'll be less careful and allow some overlap. Maaco typically also paints with the flares n place and so paints right over the fender pad (black strip between flare and fender). If you see tepe edging combined with pronounced orange peel, UH-Oh, you got MAACO! It will cost upwards of $650 to strip a Maaco or Earl Sheib job before it can be redone right (plus $1500 up) so I'd recommend you just walk away if this is the case.

Thats all I can think of for now. Good luck and hope you've found a winner.

Phil D.
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