Junkyard Find: 1985 Toyota Camry LE Liftback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1985 toyota camry le liftback

I thought I’d seen the rarest member of the Camry species in North America when I spotted this 1990 Camry All-Trac on the coldest day I’ve ever experienced in a junkyard. Perhaps I was wrong. Here’s one of the very few first-gen Camry liftbacks sold in this country, now Crusher- bound.

331,120 miles on the clock, or an average of 11,825 miles per year.

The cavernous hatch makes this into something like a very large Corolla, and maybe that’s what made nearly all the Camry shoppers go for sedans.

It’s got some rust and the interior is pretty grimy, but this car is in good shape for something that has racked up twice the miles of most 80s Japanese cars you see in wrecking yards.

Toyota made the S engine until just a few years ago. While we’ve seen plenty of S engines fail dramatically in the 24 Hours of LeMons, they hold together very well on the street.

Will these cars ever have any collector value? It’s too early to tell.

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  • -Nate -Nate on May 30, 2013

    Waiting for a red light in Pasadena , Ca. last night , a poop brown one rolled up next to me with Granpa driving and Grandma riding shotgun . It was as clean as you'll fine , decent original paint and chrome etc. , ran nice too . -Nate

  • Andy D Andy D on Jun 02, 2013

    heheh . Brown was the defining 80s car color, just like pu-eer avacado green was for the 70s

  • SCE to AUX A plug-in hybrid requires two fuels to realize the benefit of having that design. This is where the Volt fell down.It could be either:[list][*]A very short-range EV[/*][*]A long-range ICE with mediocre fuel economy[/*][*]An excellent mid-range vehicle that required both a plug and gasoline.[/*][/list]If you wanted a short-range EV you got a Leaf (like I did). If you wanted a long-range car with good fuel economy, you got a Civic/Elantra/Cruze/Corolla. In my case, we also had an Optima Hybrid.I'd personally rather have a single-fuel vehicle - either gas/hybrid or electric - rather than combine the complexity and cost of both into one vehicle.
  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.