I learned to drive on a Toyota Camry of this vintage. A four-cylinder automatic, it is still one of the nicest, sweetest, trustiest machines I have ever driven. Here is one, but with the V6 and a manual. It is imperative I do not buy it.
There are two good reasons for me not to buy this car, even though I spent a good portion of my morning pawing at my computer screen with Craigslist pulled up, cooing at it.
The first is that there are more interesting cars I could buy.
I don’t know if there are better cars I could buy, though. The Camry of this generation were supremely stout machines, a more mundane product of the same company busy developing the bomb-proof Lexus LS400 and the still-the-king 2JZ straight six. This was a Bubble Era product, and while we are all happy to drop new car money on a Supra of the time period, few actively lust after the similarly-sturdy Camry of the time. This boldly overlooks such wonderful commonalities between the two cars, mainly that all the buttons in the interior are the same.
This seller in New Haven proudly proclaims the vehicle’s merits, which I stand by:
1994 Toyota Camry SE V6 (Manual transmission)
•CLEAN Black Exterior (No major scathes or dents)
•Tan Cloth Interior with Tan Carpet in Excellent Condition
•Powerful 3.0L 6 Cylinder Engine Great on Gas
•Front Wheel Drive
•Cold A/C and Hot Heat
•Alloy wheels with 4 Good Tires
“If you’re looking for a good reliable car this is it,” the seller writes. Not wrong!
I actually briefly owned a very similar car to this, a ‘93 Lexus ES300 with the factory five-speed. It’s basically this with a leather interior, and it was a hilarious car to overdrive at all times. It was stealth, and it would spin tires in any gear I got it in while rallycrossing. Also it blew up rallycrossing. I may choose to overlook that piece of its history.
And I could spend this money on something much more strange and endearing on a day-to-day basis. I could buy a Fiat X1/9, for instance, and relish in its perfect styling and wonderful engine. Also, I could spend lots of time screwing back on pieces of the interior I would accidentally knock off with my knee.
The second and main reason for not buying this car is that you can never step in the same river twice, just as you can never really go home again. To own and drive this car is not to once more fill the thrill and excitement every drive has when you are just getting your learner’s permit when even the shortest trip feels filled with innumerable perils and adventures and life-altering split-second decisions. It’s just a Camry, even if it’s a Camry that wants to roast its front tires. But then again, maybe that’s what I want.