For The Price Of A New Camry… (A Rant)


If you need a safe, reliable vehicle to cart your family around in, you could buy three Marauders for the price of one new Camry.

Typically, when I need to give an example of a totally average, boring car, I will mention a Toyota Camry. It is the automotive industry’s greatest most average display of mediocrity,  bland, but not extremely bland, because even that would actually be a little interesting. Vanilla on wheels. A rolling slice of cheese pizza. I could probably get even cornier with it but I’ll leave it at that for now.

And you know what? If all you are looking for is a reliable, unexceptional ride to work, a Camry is the perfect choice for you. It’s a good car. It’s the best selling car in North America right now, and for good reason. Most people just want a car to get to wherever they are going in relative safety and comfort, and little else.

Then there are the rest of us. The few. The ones who want a car that does more than take us to work or school. We want cars that can scare the shit out of us. We want cars that make us grin uncontrollably as we walk towards them in parking lots. Cars that some people are afraid to look at a red lights, while others can’t help but stare. We want cars that make us feel something.

This is my Lincoln Mark VII LSC. I got it for $1,200. It’s got a 5.0 HO and I’m positive it has more luxury features than any Camry does. It’s an 88.

From the perspective of a car enthusiast, I can’t help but question the sanity of anyone who would be willing to drop the kind of money that a brand new Camry goes for and end up with just a Camry. What a waste. I can think of so many more interesting and fun used cars that can surely be purchased for less than the price of a brand new dork car.

According to Toyota’s website, Camrys start at $22,055 for the “L” model with a 2.5L 4 cylinder motor, up to $30,115 for an “XLE” with a 3.5 V6.

For the purpose of this comparison, I have chosen to go with the price of a Camry “S” model, which happens to be the most affordable model that is offered with a V6, which really is the more bland choice of motor. The 4 cylinder gets pretty good mileage, whereas the V6 does just okay, while also managing to be neither particularly fast nor slow. The V6 “S” Camry starts at $26,910.

I don’t know about you, but 27 thousand dollars is a lot of money to me. To put things in perspective for you, my friend just bought a running, driving 94 Crown Victoria with working a/c for $1,000. 27 times cheaper. Is a Camry 27 times better than a Crown Vic? Absolutely not. Think of it this way: for the price of ONE Toyota Camry, you could own and entire fucking fleet of 27 Crown Vics. You could drive a different car every year for almost 30 years.

Here’s a picture of my daily driver. A 96 Cherokee. 1300 bucks. I’d pit its reliability against a Camry any day of the week. And for 27 thousand dollars, you could buy 20 of them.

There are tons of other possibilities too. Here is a short list of some of the cars I have found on Craigslist in Phoenix right now that I consider to be better than a Camry for 27 thousand dollars or less:

  • 2001 Ford SVT Lightning, 33k miles, 500 rwhp with dyno sheet- $14,500
  • 1997 BMW M3 Dinan with a Vortech supercharger, signed by Steve Dinan- $14,500
  • 1995 Ford Mustang Saleen S351, 12k Miles, supercharged 408 stroker- $25,000
  • 2003 Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa, 51k miles, $25,988
  • 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12, 12 Cylinder Motor, 118k miles, $17,450
  • 2006 Ford F-350 Dually, 6.0 Powerstroke Deisel, 88k miles, $26,500
  • 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 with 38k miles- $15,000
  • 2005 Mercedes E55 AMG, 470 hp, 103k miles- $21,900
  • 1995 Dodge Viper RT/10- $25,000
  • 2005 Mercedes S55 AMG, 79k miles, supercharged, 500 hp, custom wheels, sold for $121,000 when new- $22,500
  • 2005 Lotus Elise, 34k miles- $27,000
  • 2005 Mustang GT, Cobra motor, turbo, 709 rwhp, runs 9s- $25,000
  • 1991 GMC Syclone, with nitrous system- $16,980
  • 2007 Cadillac Escalade, 88k miles- $25,898
  • 1988 Bentley Eight- $24,995
  • 1941 Chevy Coupe, fully restored, 383 stroker, $24,995
  • 1990 Corvette ZR-1, 5,855 miles, $25,500
  • 1972 Chevelle, restored 488 Big Block, 500hp- $27,000
  • 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, dyno tuned 334hp, 43k miles, $25,500
  • 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton V8, 89k miles, $14,997
  • 2005 Mercedes SL55 AMG, custom wheels, cost over $100,000 new- $25,500
  • 1999 Fleetwood Bounder 34V Class A RV, 79k miles- $26,600
  • 1980 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II (!) $25,500
  • 1998 Mercedes C43 AMG, supercharged, 370 rwhp- $18,000
  • 1931 Ford Model A, frame-off restoration, 72k miles- $26,500
  • 1987 Buick Grand National, 92k Miles, upgraded turbo and intercooler- $13,000
  • 2007 Corvette, 86k miles- $25,888
  • 1967 Cessna 150G, 3117 hrs, its a fucking airplane! $20,000

These are just a few of the things I found. There were way too many to list them all. I think it’s insane that a couple of the cars on the list actually cost over $100,000 when new just a few years ago.

The bottom line is that a lot of people would really rather just breeze invisibly through life in a Camry or some other boring car that isn’t going to break down or do anything exciting ever. But for the rest of us, there is no excuse. Have some balls.

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About Mike Ross

I love anything you can drive. But I love it even more if it has a small block Chevy or Ford motor, a turbo, four wheel drive, is a hatchback, or was made in the 80s. My ideal car would be a combination of all of these things, and I’m working on building a time machine so I can go back to the 80’s and convince Chevy and Ford to collaborate on a twin-engine, single turbo 4×4 XR4Ti/Fox Mustang/Third Gen F-body and hide one in a mineshaft for me to recover in brand new condition. Look for a blog post about it just as soon as it happens. Or maybe it already did, and I’ve already posted about it in the future and the internet just needs to catch up with it.

Okay, my head hurts, never mind.

5 thoughts on “For The Price Of A New Camry… (A Rant)

    • Toyota had a recall towards replacing the 97-02 V6 in the Camry due to sludge issues. I don’t know if I’d call their reliability “legendary”, although they’re good on fixing what they don’t do right the first time. I’d personally take the Buick 3800 v6 over any Toyota V6 where reliability is concerned. I think the difference is that most of the cars that the Buick V6 was put in weren’t even 1/10 as great as the engine itself, let alone any Toyota car.

      I’m not a Toyota hater though. I think the 1UZ is an amazing engine, and have a valve cover from one hanging on my wall. 260hp from 4.0L in 1989? Pretty Impressive.

  1. Jesus could you have written a worse article? You’re comparing the prices of ten year old broken-down mailboxes to a brand new car.

    • Hmm, I thought it was decently written… Oh, wait, you must be trying to do that thing where you disagree with something, so then you try and make it sound like everything I say is wrong and I totally suck at writing.

      Well, I don’t know what to tell you. If you would rather drive a new Camry than a fucking S55 AMG (from any year), then:

      A.) What are you doing on a car blog?, and
      B.) You’re a total pussy.

      Have fun in your really slow family sedan.

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