This may upset some Subaru fanatics, but the Toyota Camry All-Trac wagon is probably better in most respects than an early ’90s Legacy wagon. It offers similar usability (cargo space, light snow capability, passenger hauling, etc) to the Legacy, but in a slightly more reliable package. Today’s example is just about as nice as they come and offered for a decent price. Find this 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac 4WD wagon offered for $5,000 in SF Bay Area, CA via craigslist. Tip from Kaibeezy.
Tipper Kaibeezy suggested doing a transmission swap in this one; it isn’t clear if they ever sold the All Trac with a manual trans here in the US
but that’s what you’d need to do the swap. The All-Trac AWD
transmissions are unique because they have accommodations for a center
diff & transfer case. While it would be tempting to swap in a 5-speed, this one might be best left alone given the
condition and rarity…or not.
That’s a 2VZ-FE V6, 2.5 liters making about 160hp. Should
be lively enough given that the car weighs about 2800 lbs max. If they
did an AWD V6 wagon version of the current Camry it would weigh about
1000 lb. more.
The cool thing about this 1990 All Trac system is
that it has a locking center diff (vacuum actuated). So you can manually
tell the car “I want equal torque split between the front and rear
axles” and it will obey. Don’t turn the wheels sharply with the center diff locked on tarmac unless you want to hear all kinds of crunchy popping noises from a 30 year old suspension system.
See a cooler wagon ready for family duty? firstname.lastname@example.org