Well, a lot of autos made in the mid-80's were basically pieces of junk. It was a confusing time...a time of domestic-imports (isn't that an oxymoron?) and engines with both metric and conventional measures...not too mention the advent of the computer 'brain' that ran, or assumed to run, everything. Things have gotten better, well, compared with those dark years.
I had a 87 Plymouth Reliant Wagon. Domestic-import (part-wise), with both types of measurements (needed both tool kits). The 'brain' was laughable, and a simple short in the wiring harness could and did take out the 'brain' and 3 modules, at $150 per (import again). Though at times it was a POS car, and anything but its namesake, I did manage to roll the odometer almost 4 times on the original engine before a head gasket blew (shortly after the timing chain broke) and after 4 transmissions (Mom couldn't figure out that you should push in then move the column shift...she'd just slap it up or down). But for all its troubles, I still miss that car. It could carry my life quite easily and did on several cross-country endeavors. My next vehicle, whenever that transpires, will either be a late model (with service warranty), or a 70's model (something I can actually work on without a diagnostic computer supercenter).