For what it is, my 1990 Camry is by far the best car I've owned. It's built to get you from point A to point B comfortably and reliably, and that's exactly what it does. I've owned it since 2001 (second owner) and other than oil changes, batteries, and headlights, I've never had to have any work done on it. May have recharged the ac once. I also own an 07 Subaru legacy, and I actually keep it in the garage most of the time, because there's no point putting miles on it while the Camry still runs perfectly. Sure, it's not the prettiest car and it's not going to win any races, but for a daily driver, this is an ideal machine. Gas mileage is decent and it's dirt cheap to insure.
This car is more dependable than Abe Lincoln.
It's 24 years old, all original engine parts, and it runs like I just drove it off the lot.
Granted, it's low mileage, less than 120k, and I take good care of it, but that's still pretty impressive.
The amenities are not bad either, power windows, ac, cruise control, all basic these days but a nice find in a 90.
Performance is decent at best, but if you're buying a 1990 Camry, you're not looking for speed and acceleration.
It'll do 90 on the highway easily enough though.
The only problems I've run into are corrosion, which is to be expected in a car that has been exposed to 24 New England winters.
The undercarriage is starting to rot a bit and will probably need new exhaust soon.
Electrical system is a little weak, too.
You'll notice a drop in power when you run a lot of systems at once (I.e., if you run the wipers, heat, headlights, defroster, and radio at the same time, you'll notice the lights dim and the wipers get sluggish.)
i just keeps going!! this is my bf's car, he bought it at 100k 11 years ago (he and i both do alot of cross country driving) all we have done is speakers and radio 110k, serpentine 145k, water pump 190k, fuel pump 250k, front tie rod and front and rear struts 300k (he hopped a curb at 70 mph and that is all it did!)
we are really hoping for 400k, and btw at that point talk to your toyota dealer, i have heard of people with their high milage toyotas trading in for a brand new toyota of the same model for F R E E E E E E E E (some advertizement thing)
the parts are dirt cheap
built like a tank (I hit 2 deers on a dirt road and went smack into a ditch, only a ding on the hood and grill)
still gets 37mpg hwy, 29 city and can see over 40 if a wind is behind (partially do to modified exhaust -- whole thing snapped before the catalytic conv. because of rust, replaced with straight pipe and a cheapo muffler, no cat, still silent)
holy trunk... literally. i can double fist it from underneath. (don't judge it's a convenience feature!)
him hitting a telephone pole resulted in a ash hole passenger side mirror (convenient for smokers!)
hopping a speed bump resulted in a "wiggle it" trunk (hold the key in and wiggle alot to open. Security feature!)
no matter what happens it just keeps going!! very very highly recommended for any school or work car!
I have two Toyota Camrys. We liked the 1990 so much, we bought a 1991. Essentially, their twins... except one is a manual shift, one an automatic. My wife wishes it would die, so she could get a new one.
The 90 has 251,900 miles and still gets between 29-34 mph. Still use it on my 180-mile commute.
No real mechanical problems, other than regular maintenance. Timing belts, water pump, cv boots, tires, etc.
The major key to it's longevity is regular oil and filter changes -- every 3k -- plus a good oil additive, Hilton Hyperlube or Lucas or Slick50.
I'm hopeful it will make to 400k. Would love to know what % of Camrys make it over 300 or 400k
Dependability, affordability, mileage, comfort.
Timing chain instead of a timing belt would have been a huge improvement, like Nissan uses. Timing belt replacements are quite expensive, now about $600+.
CV boots are annoying, but how do you get around that?