1984 Toyota Camry LE 2.0 L4 with hi-lift cam from North America
A surprisingly fast sleeper hit
First the radiator cap stuck, resulting in a blown up radiator.
Internal rust from everything steel inside the cooling system, from the previous owner's service.
Blown head gasket, leading to warped head and leaky valves.
Broken timing belt right after valve job.
The car was great for the first four months I owned it. No real problems for about a thousand miles. Then it started to burn oil and the ish hit the fan.
Head gasket, valve job, head milling and now a new timing belt all went within ten hours of driving it.
I have seen here and there that it's a non interference engine, so it will live to screw me again.
The good times I had with Mr Butler tron, as it was called, were quite good. As far as I know it's a pretty fast car. Mine, with the five speed manual, will lite up the tires all the way through first gear. Gets to 60 in roughly 8 to ten seconds. Good handling and reasonable gas mileage make it highly drivable.
The bad about the car isn't bad enough to make it a bad car, but little things like the lack of a tachometer, front wheel drive, very poor servicability and the ever shallower "oasis of parts" nag you from time to time.
As for modifications, the Camry is a very good platform to start with. First of all, the stock stereo system isn't even funny. You can shoehorn 4 by 6's in the front speaker holes, up to 6 by 9's in the back dash and as much sub as you want in the trunk. I have four 4 by 6's and a 200 watt sub in the trunk and it works quite well. You don't need any more than that in such a small car.
The motor is also begging for attention. It can take as much as 22 degrees of advance for much more punch and the intake can be opened up for better sound and performance in, at most, ten minutes. The five speed manual is a must for go fasting, but that's about all you have to look for.
All things considered, the 1984 Camry is a good car as long as you don't step on any cracks, carry your rabbits foot and stay clearly away from ladders.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 14th October, 2003