1996 Toyota Camry - $1800 (Pico-Robertson)
After 12 years, I am selling my trusty 1996 Toyota Camry.
The car has never been in an accident. The Title is clean and in my name.
Because of Coronavirus / COVID-19, I cannot meet up with you yet if you are interested in the car. That will have to wait until social distancing is no longer imperative for public safety. In the meantime, please send me an email to express your interest in the car, and we can figure out a path forward.
My grandma Shirley purchased the car new at Toyota of Cupertino in 1996. She drove the car until August 2008. I was 15 and had just gotten my learner’s permit. She decided to give me the car. I promised her I would take care of it for many years. The car arrived in September 2008 at my childhood home in Seattle, WA, and my parents began teaching me how to drive it.
I got my driver’s license on July 1, 2009, two days after my 16th birthday. I drove the Camry from that day until January 28, 2020, the day I purchased my new car. The Camry has been with me through high school and college in Seattle, moving to Connecticut for my first job, moving to Berkeley for graduate school, and then finally moving to Los Angeles, where I live now and hope to stay.
Quirks and Features:
- The Dent. It was November 2009. I was 16 and a junior in high school. I had morning jazz band rehearsal at 7am. Too early. At that point, I had been driving to jazz band for several weeks so I felt like I had a routine. I would back straight out of the driveway, turn around in the cul de sac, and be off towards school. The previous evening, however, my Mom parked her car (Prius, obviously) in my normal backup path, and, in my sleepy slumber, I did not look behind me. So, unfortunately, I backed the Camry into my Mom’s Prius at about 3 mph. Thankfully there was no noticeable damage to the Prius. There was, however, noticeable damage to the Camry: The Dent.
- Blue Tape. You will notice that the Window Height Adjustment Button Panel (WHABP) on the driver’s side has blue tape around it. One day a couple years ago the WHABP got loose and eventually started falling off. This was odd, because all the windows and buttons still worked perfectly. I went to the hardware store and superglued it back on. The clerk at the hardware store recommended I put blue tape over the superglue to help it set correctly. I did that and it worked great. Once the glue had dried and the WHABP was secure, I thought I might as well just leave the tape on there since it’s more work to take it off. And, if anything, the blue tape helps preserve the retrofitted structural integrity of the WHABP.
- Audio System Upgrades. In February 2018, I hired JG Audio and Alarm in Berkeley, CA, to replace the four original 1990s speakers with four new, higher quality speakers. JG also replaced the Camry’s stock cassette deck with a new center audio console with Bluetooth and USB connection for charging and music. The Camry bumps (musically). The ride is smooth.
- The Camry will always keep you comfortable. The power windows all work, ready to let in fresh air. The AC and Heat work for hot days and less hot days. The Front and Rear Defrosters also work, ensuring that you always have optimal visibility.
- The Camry can carry you, your friends, and your gear. The trunk is huge. The rear seats go down easily, allowing you to expand the trunk space even more. The front seats are manual but they can move forward and backward quite a bit, giving lots of legroom or lots of storage in the back. Only winning combinations.
- Remember where you park. The Camry does not have an electronic key fob. It is just a key. Make sure you remember where you park. You do not have a key fob to make the car beep so you can follow the sound. Not that this has ever happened to me or anything.
- The Camry, of course, is not fast but it accelerates just fine to freeway speeds and very comfortably maintains it there. The Camry is also a champion when it comes to big hills. The steeper, the better.
Camry Repair History:
Over the years, I have gotten significant repair work done on the Camry. See the attached photo for a summary of the completed procedures, the date of completion, and the location of performed work.
Given all this repair work and the Camry’s relatively low mileage for its age, it is in great shape. The Camry has not once broken down on me and left me stranded on the road.
- December 2010: I have a good friend in Vancouver, BC. I called him up one Friday morning while walking into school and asked if I could visit for the weekend. He said yes. After school, I packed up the Camry, opened up Google Maps on my iPhone 4, and navigated from Seattle to Vancouver for an awesome weekend, the first of many Camry trips.
- May 2011: During the second semester of my senior year of high school, I joined my first and only sports team: Ultimate Frisbee. I was not a good player, but I was friends with the coaches and teammates. Overall it was a great hang. I became one of the usual drivers for carpooling to our games and tournaments. Some of my teammates eventually became “regulars” in my carpool. They affectionately named the Camry the “Samry.” My name is Sam, so this was great. One of the regular carpoolers was the woman I asked to Prom. I even asked her in the Camry. Note: we are not together, this is not a high school sweethearts fairytale, but we are friendly and it is a fun story. We were on our way home from a frisbee tournament. We won a few games and I threw a few passes that were caught. It was a great tournament. I decided to ask her to Prom and bought two roses. I hid the first rose in the glove compartment. I hid the second rose in the space between the front left door and the driver’s seat. This plan depended on my prospective Prom date sitting in the front passenger seat. Luckily she did. When we arrived back at our high school parking lot, I mentioned that I was looking for something in the glove compartment and asked if she could open it. I then picked up the second rose, walked around to the other side of the car, and presented her with the rose as she smiled at the first one. I asked her to Prom and she said yes. There were teammates around to witness. They said “Aww”’ and clapped. It was fun. Prom later that month was fun, too.
- July 2011: A friend and I hiked Bare Mountain in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. The dirt road leading to the trailhead was, at the time, the most fun road I had ever driven on.
- April 2012: At the beginning of spring quarter during my freshman year of college, I brought the Camry to school to make transporting myself to music rehearsals easier. Uber and Lyft were not a thing yet. Paying for the parking spot was not great, but being able to make more music was worth it.
- July 2013: Overnight trip to Portland, OR. Summer after sophomore year of college, I was enrolled in two summer classes. One morning my friend called me and said that we should visit his friends in Portland that night, returning tomorrow afternoon. It was Tuesday. I had class in a few hours. Meanwhile, over the past several weeks, I had confirmed that the course material was entirely contained within the textbook. The trip was fantastic.
- June 2014: I drove the Camry to my first day of work at my first and last internship
- September 2015: I shipped the Camry from Seattle to Connecticut instead of driving it. The move felt very real after I picked up the Camry from the moving truck in a parking lot near the apartment I had just moved into.
- January 2016: Learning how to drive in the snow. It’s fun but also terrifying.
- March 2016: Weekend vacation with my Mom in Boston. She flew. I drove the Camry.
- September 2016: Weekend vacation with my Mom in Philadelphia. She flew. I drove the Camry.
- January 2017: One of many drives down to NYC for the weekend to visit friends and Smalls Jazz Club
- December 2017: Drove the Camry from Berkeley to Carmel, passing through Silicon Valley. Returning the Camry to its South Bay roots. And then continuing to the beach.
- June 2018: The Camry moved me from Berkeley back to Seattle
- August 2018: The Camry moved me from Seattle to Los Angeles
- September 2018: I drove the Camry to my first day at my first job after graduate school
- January 2019: First trip to Big Bear
- April 2019: First trip to Joshua Tree
- January 2020: Photo taken in front of El Tepeyac after one of my last few rides with the Camry