The Camry first appeared in North America for the 1983 model year and gathered sales momentum in a gradual manner. By 1986, Camrys were not uncommon, but it seemed as though you saw 20 Tauruses and 15 Accords for every example of Toyota’s front-drive sedan. It was the next generation of Camry (starting in 1988) that unleashed the armies of unkillable, bland Toyota midsize sedans that conquered the country. First-gen Camrys are still out there, but sightings are increasingly rare. Here’s one I spotted last week in a Denver junkyard.
Like just about all cars, the Camry got bigger with every generation. The ’86 isn’t much bigger than the current Corolla, but still had room for a rock group or a group of rocks.
221,890 miles on the clock. Even Neons manage figures like this nowadays, but not many mid-80s cars ever saw 200,000 miles.
Toyota kept this overdrive button on the gearshift well into the current century.
You have to love the dated look of the Econo A/C button. Americans don’t want Econo anything when it comes to comfort, a lesson Toyota figured out years later.
Subsequent Camrys had all the quirky Japanese styling eliminated by endless focus groups, but the first-gen still had this goofy rear quarter window.
It was no Cressida, but it also wasn’t anywhere near as expensive as a Cressida.