I've got a '89 model EA Fairmont CFI with a 3speed. I got it with 200,000k's on it, and it's been pretty good since then (i've since done about 30,000k's).
There is a few things that I've had to do since then, but for a car that is around 13 years old that is pretty much the norm.
I've had to replace all the cooling system hoses, replaced a side radiator tank, replaced the 3speed (these things are cheap neway, and you might have to consider checking the condition of your trans), changed the rear calipers (this was my fault, somehow I accidently pulled on the handbrake while driving at 60km's and the caliper seized).
Basically take it for a drive in the morning when it's cold, get someone (like your dad or a friend) to check to see what kind of smoke it blows, whether it's clear, white, blue, or black (clear is the only acceptable colour as this is just condensation caused by water in the exhaust). Check to see how long it takes to turn over, check the gear changes (the 3speed is notorious for clunky gear changes, so just check for some really loud or delayed changes).
After all these general checks, give it a good once over. Check the body for surface rust, especially on the roof, along the windscreen and rear windows. Also look inside the wheel arches.
Check the colour of the oil, and determine how old the oil is. If it's brand new, be suspicious, if it's really black, and is rough between the fingers I wouldn't even bother.
After all this, it comes down to whether you can trust what your uncle says.