1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac
Thinking about Toyota's Camry is weird. It's such a bland and common car, and yet the name has been around since 1982 and lasted a handful of very distinct generations. And what a difference the early cars were from the Camry of today, or, really, any car of today. Looking at how the Camry has changed shape over the years can also tell you how cars have changed.
The Camry was actually called the Vista outside North America. This is a second generation U.S.-spec Camry. The second generation debuted in 1987 and lasted briefly until it was replaced in 1992.
These cars are strange looking to 21st century eyes. They are remarkably compact and tightly styled. The hood is low and flat. The greenhouse is large, airy and inviting. There is an emphasis on horizontal lines. The bumpers are protruding. It's all because the Japanese were pushing the envelope on ergonomics and efficiency while complying with U.S. auto safety regulations.
While they were mass produced, these are gradually becoming rarities, especially here in the northeast where older cars succumb to rust and are taken off the roads.
Even more rare is the All-Trac option, which debuted in 1988 and added all-wheel drive. They weren't very popular, probably in part due to the higher cost than the regular front-wheel drive Camry.
Underneath the hood, however, is Toyota's tried and true 3S-FE 2.0-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine, which is good for efficiency and durability, although the head gaskets were prone to failure. All-Trac was only available with a 4-cylinder engine.
The seller says this survivor has just 131,000 miles, which they point out is only about 5,700 miles a year. This car seems barely driven. The body and interior look really clean, although I'd look for rust. Inside, it's no frills, just straightforward gauges and information.
It's even got the original stereo.
If you're looking for a economical four-seater but need extra traction in your area, this is a nice bet. Unfortunately, the seller hasn't included an asking price, but this should be had for under $5k.
Available here on craigslist in Los Angeles, California.