Junkyard Find: 1988 Toyota Camry Wagon With Five-Speed

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1988 toyota camry wagon with five speed
Car writers are expected to love wagons with manual transmissions, but most of my love is reserved for the likes of three-on-the-tree-equipped Ford Country Squires and maybe the occasional 4-speed Datsun F-10 Sportwagon. Still, when I run across a Junkyard Find as rare as a second-generation Camry wagon with five-speed, I photograph it.Here’s one that I spotted last week in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
The Camry station wagon never was a big seller in the United States, and the preference of Camry buyers for manual transmissions shifted from “slight” to “damn near nonexistent” as the 1980s wore on. Has anyone ever seen an American-market ’97 Camry wagon with five-speed? In theory, such a car exists.
You won’t see many BMW E34 wagons with this kind of odometer reading, although you will find quite a few (compared to the Camry) with five-speeds.
Remember these hateful automatic seat belts? Could be worse.
This car served its owner or owners well for better than a quarter-century, but the damage from its final fender-bender wasn’t worth repairing.
The dawn of a new day for the station wagon.
In Australia, the Camry wagon was so powerful that it snorted the white lines right off the highway.
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  • Gedrven Gedrven on Dec 13, 2016

    Technically true, meaningfully false; some E34 wagons came with 5-speeds - the rest 4-speeds - but they were all automatics (on this side of the pond). All E34 wagons were relatively uncommon to begin with, but of those surviving, a reasonable proportion have that kind of mileage and above. They are more vulnerable to overheating and general neglect, but less vulnerable to rust. They also had normal seatbelts and a relatively benign bong/chime (compared to the horrid shriek of some contemporary Benzes). Mine has 262k. And a 6-speed :) I have never seen a 92-96 Camry wagon with 3 pedals, but once drove a MT coupe, which was the least enjoyable MT car I've ever been in. Also drove an ES300 with a 5-speed manual - one of... four? - and it was much better. Starter interlock may be more annoying, but is easier to correct than these seatbelts. They're one of the main things holding me back from buying/building one of what you found here.

  • DownUnder2014 DownUnder2014 on Dec 17, 2016

    My Dad had a 1989 Camry Sedan CS-X w/ 5-Speed Manual in Australia back in 1994 for a short while before it got replaced with a 1995 Ford Falcon (EF) GLi (not the greatest car, left us stranded a few times when relatively new). The Camry was relatively unremarkable but being a CS-X, Power Steering, A/C, 4 Speaker AM/FM Radio Cassette Player, Electronic Antenna, Central Locking, centre console storage compartment, remote fuel filler release, variable intermittent windscreen wipers, digital clock and rear centre armrest were all standard so ours was relatively high spec (in 1989). Was alright to get around in, and more reliable than the 1995 Falcon we had afterward. Not even the 2010 Camry Altise we had some 15 years later came equipped with the rear armrest... These are literally fridges on wheels, but they also do seem to be reasonably sturdy, considering the fact I still see them occasionally even today (even the elusive Ultima or V6 trims) in Australia, which is more than can be said for some of it's then-current competitors...

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.