Home » The Toyota TRD Camry Solara Took The Forgettable Coupe, Added A Supercharger, And Turned It Into A Tire Killing Tuner Car: Holy Grails

The Toyota TRD Camry Solara Took The Forgettable Coupe, Added A Supercharger, And Turned It Into A Tire Killing Tuner Car: Holy Grails

Trdsolaratop
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When was the last time you thought of the Toyota Camry Solara? Perhaps you’ve seen one on Facebook or blending in with traffic, but you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about Toyota’s practical coupe after it was discontinued in 2008. That’s not a dig on the car. Like most Toyotas, the Solara was a dependable form of transportation, just in a coupe and convertible form. Early in the Solara’s life, the Toyota Racing Development division pumped up the volume by adding a supercharger, body kit, and more to turn the coupe into a quick sports car. The Toyota TRD Solara is a forgotten enthusiast special.

Last week, we looked at the beefy diesel version of a pickup truck that started a styling trend. Today, we’re going to look at something that didn’t really change the course of cars that came after it. That’s fine, because what’s under the hood will make up for it.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Coupes were a hot commodity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Automakers of the era built numerous two-doors to cater to a market of buyers both high and low who wanted sporty performance from their favorite brands. In 1999, you could walk into a Ford dealership and drive out with an Escort ZX2. A few years later, you could ride in Ford’s swan song of personal luxury coupes with the retro eleventh-generation Thunderbird. Chrysler and its brands had the happy Neon, while Mercury wanted you to ride a Cougar.

Honda’s coupe lineup was pretty impressive during this time. In 1999, you could pick up a Honda Civic coupe, a Honda Accord coupe, a Honda Prelude, and if you were a bit nerdy, the Honda Insight. Wait just a little longer and you could drive home in Honda’s S2000 stormer.

Solara Side
bwalaszek – Toyota Nation Forum

Toyota was another brand with its own sporty hopefuls on different levels. For someone wanting a sport compact, they could scoop up a fresh generation of the Celica. Roadster lovers also got a new generation of the mid-engine MR2 Spyder. The Camry, which already had a coupe version for a while, took a two model year hiatus before coming back as something different. When it came back, America got the Camry Solara.

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Toyota’s Other Crown

As Toyota UK Magazine writes, the Camry’s early years were some odd ones. The nameplate first appeared in Japan in January 1980 when the Celica Camry was launched as the four-door version of the Celica. For a bizarre twist, the Celica Camry shared just some components with the Celica. Instead, Toyota took the Carina and modified it to look like a Celica to create the Celica Camry.

Toyota Celica Camry

This odd stew of Toyota was short-lived and as Toyota’s UK arm writes, that rear-wheel-drive car should be considered to be the origin of the Camry nameplate–Japanese for Crown–and not the first generation. Indeed, Toyota says the real first-generation Camry was released in 1982. This Camry was its own car, riding on a transverse front-wheel-drive platform and featuring a small lineup of gasoline and diesel engines. According to Toyota, the front-wheel-drive Camry was in development since 1977 and the mission was to create a vehicle for export that would compete with the front drivers made by General Motors.

To achieve this, Toyota’s engineers created a car that had the interior space of a mid-size sedan. Engine bay size was kept down with the transverse layout, which allowed for a bigger interior. This was in addition to what Toyota called “trapezoidal styling” which was supposed to convey a sense of stability to buyers.

1984 Toyota Camry

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Toyota also states that it created some innovations under the hood with the first Camry. The transaxle was mounted in line with the engine and the three shafts normally reserved for each gear were reduced to just one. All of this helped reduce size and complexity. Finally, Toyota says it decided to use automatic transmission fluid for lubrication. This became a blueprint for Toyota’s front-wheel-drive layout. Toyota achieved its goal of the first Camry being a global export, with the car dropping its tires down in the United States, Australia, and Europe. Here in America, the Camry became a best-seller in 1985 after 128,000 units found homes.

In 1991, the Camry line split with the launch of the widebody series. Toyota, which learned a few things about the American market from the launch of the Lexus LS 400, decided to create a different Camry than the ones you could buy in Japan. The XV10 was a Camry bulked up about six inches in length and two inches in width, enough to make it a mid-size car. Along with a bigger body, these Americanized Camrys had bigger interiors, more power, and differentiated styling.

1998001 1994 Camrycoupe Se 15330

For the 1994 model year, Toyota started producing a coupe version of the Camry. These coupes had roughly similar overall dimensions to the sedan and even featured similar styling, but were marketed as a more sporty option. Apparently, buyers weren’t really interested in a Camry with fewer doors, which led to it being discontinued after the 1996 model year.

The American Toyota

Even though the first Toyota Camry coupe wasn’t a hot seller, Toyota’s rivals, like Honda, were still selling coupes based on their midsizers, so Toyota gave it another go. Development for the Camry coupe’s successor commenced in the mid-1990s.

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Toyota Camry Solara Concept 2

This time, Toyota decided to aim for what it called the “sport specialty” segment. According to Toyota, the Camry Solara was aimed at professionals “entering their peak earning years.” These prospective buyers were looking for a coupe that reminded them of the sports cars of their youth but wanted more interior space and comfort than those old sports cars used to give. The implication appears to be that the Solara buyer would be older.

To achieve this goal, Toyota decided to give its American arm more influence than before. The Camry Solara would benefit from engineering from the Toyota Technical Center in Michigan and styling from Warren Crain of Toyota’s famed CALTY Design Center in California. Toyota admitted that the Solara was a joint project with the Americans and Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, but the vehicle was marketed as being a darling of Toyota’s American branches.

Images Toyota Camry Solara 1999

As Autoweek notes, the Camry Solara was not the first Toyota to have American influence. Past models tapped into Toyota’s American talent, but the Camry Solara was the first Toyota to feature engineering and design done in America from the very beginning to the end of development. As Autoweek reported, the Camry Solara had an American body, but still had Japanese bones. Reportedly, engineers and designers had to move to California and Michigan. All of this was done as Toyota’s North American division was proving itself to be self-sufficient. The Camry Solara would even be built in North America at a plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

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Oh, and the Camry Solara name? Well, there’s a reason behind it. Toyota says Solara is a “name portraying the radiance of the sun.” As for the Camry part. Reportedly, Toyota was planning on letting the coupe go alone as the Solara. However, there was equity in the Camry name. Plus, the sale of each Solara could be counted as an overall Camry sale, helping Toyota retain the sales crown.

Ca Sol Dash
CA SOL Dash

Production commenced in 1998 for the 1999 model year. Toyota did more than just build a coupe out of the Camry. Toyota shipped partially-finished coupes to the American Sunroof Company, where the roof was chopped off and replaced with a convertible top. The convertible Solara proved to be more popular than the coupe. Attention was given to the Camry Solara to give the vehicle its own styling. Toyota also made the Camry Solara legitimately sporty.

2000 Camry Solara Convertible 3

Take this review from the Chicago Tribune:

 

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After testing the Camry Solara SE– hereafter to be called Solara since we don’t have to count ’em–the folks at Honda should cringe. Heck of a car, even if it has only two doors. Solara has what the Camry sedan lacks, a more distinct and sporty appearance. But what makes Solara a most pleasant machine is the combination of a 3-liter, 200-horsepower V-6 that is spirited yet quiet (same engine as in the Camry sedan), and a suspension system without jitters or jumpiness, lean or sway.

The suspension makes Solara a sports coupe, and not simply a two-door version of the four-door sedan. After driving Solara some distance, you want to get out and pat it on the fender and tell it, “Nice job.” Of course, the Solara suspension is so nicely designed and tuned, it also makes you want to give Toyota’s chief engineer a whack on the back of the head and ask, “Why couldn’t you do this in the sedan?”

Though it’s a Camry underneath, Solara has increased strut and spring rates as well as stiffer suspension mounts and tighter, quicker steering response than the sedan so it has more of a sports character, the sedan more of a family touring sedan flavor.As a bonus, the V-6 delivers 20 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway fuel economy, making it a peppy performer that doesn’t require frequent stops for an energy elixir.

Toyota Camry Solara 1999 Photos 1

At the same time, the Chicago Tribune noted that by removing two doors from the Camry, the Solara was less practical. The smallest engine available was a 2.2-liter 5S-FE four rated at 135 HP and 147 lb-ft of torque. The Camry Solara’s big engine was a 3.0-liter 1MZ-FE V6 making 200 HP and 214 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with a manual transmission, this was good for acceleration to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, slightly faster than the sedan, which dispatched the same speed in 7.8 seconds. In a period review, MotorTrend wrote that the Camry Solara had similar performance to the sedan, but managed to pair “fun-to-drive” and “Camry.” Its tester only wished for Toyota to do a little more.

The Grail

Trdsolara99 03

Toyota must have been listening because it did just that. In 2000, Toyota Racing Development got its hands on the Camry Solara and tweaked it to turn down the comfort in exchange for sport. The result was the TRD Solara, which was recommended by our Thomas as a Holy Grail.

The TRD Solara wasn’t so much a standalone model as it was a concept to showcase the TRD parts you could buy to make your own quick Solara. TRD started by spicing up the looks. For $1,675, Solara owners got a seven-piece body kit to make the Solara look a bit more sporting. These were painted in every factory color available to 1999 and 2000 Solaras.

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Screenshot (700)

Of course, you have to upgrade the platform to match the looks. For this, TRD offered $278 sport springs. These are good for a drop of 1.25 inches up front and 1.75 inches in the rear. Next, TRD offered $1,230 sport struts and shocks. Wrapping up the platform upgrades is a $1,859 TSW aluminum wheel package with 225/45ZR17 Toyo Proxes T1 tires. This was called the Stage 3 TRD package and when all of the bits were tallied up, Toyota wanted to lift $4,220 from your wallet. Oh, and that wasn’t the end of the upgrades. If you wanted your engine to sound better, you needed the $390 sport exhaust. To shorten your throws, a $164 shifter was available. There were also $150 stainless steel brake lines, $70 performance brake pads, a $150 19 mm rear anti-roll bar, a radiator cap, and more little things such as air filters.

Finally, you can’t have all of these changes without touching the engine. The pièce de résistance of the TRD Solara was the addition of the roughly $3,700 Eaton Roots-type 62-cubic-inch blower. When bolted to the 3.0-liter V6, power gains are a kick of up to 70 HP and 62 lb-ft of torque. Reportedly, this supercharger, which was similar to the one used on earlier Buick supercharged V6 engines, spun at two times engine speed for 4.5 pounds of peak boost. MotorTrend‘s test TRD Solara was making 262 HP and 268 lb-ft of torque. Car and Driver also got to test one, and theirs reportedly made 247 HP and 242 lb-ft of torque. In Car and Driver’s hands, the TRD Solara hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. MotorTrend went faster, delivering the goods in 5.6 seconds. Yep, that’s an early aughts Camry laying down a legitimately fast time.

Screenshot (699)

Car and Driver gave the TRD Solara high marks:

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Although it had been thrashed by other motoring writers for 25,000 miles before we got our hands on it, the TRD Solara was a sweet car to drive. The moderate blower whine and resonant exhaust add engaging mechanical character to a car that had very little in the way of zoot, while the suspension modifications stiffen up a chassis that had mush to spare. Our souped-up Solara ripped from standstill to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and turned the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds at 95 mph. The stock Solara runs the sprint in 7.0 and takes 15.6 seconds at 90 mph to complete the quarter-mile (Car and Driver, September 1998).

What’s remarkable is how well-mannered the mechanical package remains. We never experienced detonation, the power was seamless, and the ride, although stiffer than stock, was within the boundaries of comfortable. The wider tires greatly improve initial turn-in, and the additional rear roll stiffness gives the car a more neutral cornering attitude.

The Solara has always been a big, comfortable two-door, and TRD has added the performance edge it deserves. It feels like the car Chevy’s Monte Carlo SS should be. And as a good hot rod should, it leaves us wondering why Toyota doesn’t build them this way in the first place.

Img 0086 Zps69e32731
Solarizona – Solara Guy Forums

By Car and Driver‘s tally, all of the TRD equipment added around $9,000 to the price of a Camry Solara. Car and Driver‘s TRD Camry was $31,134 after the base price of the car plus the entire catalog of upgrades. Perhaps the best part is the fact that you got all of these go-fast parts but still kept your factory warranty. Fast, but you wouldn’t be furious when something broke.

In 2003, the Solara got a second generation for the 2004 model year. Still based on the Camry platform, the new Solara was a bit heavier, but featured more curvaceous styling. The four-cylinder and a V6 returned, with the V6 pumping out 225 HP and 240 lb-ft of torque.

Wallpapers Toyota Camry Solara 1

Notably, the V6-equipped cars did not have the option of a manual transmission. By 2007, revised SAE testing methods resulted in the V6 being downgraded to 210 HP and 220 lb-ft of torque. Doubly unfortunately for second-gen Solara owners, TRD did not grace the vehicle with a supercharger option.

Thus, if you wanted the best Toyota had to offer with a Solara, you had to buy a first-generation and fill it with TRD parts. The Solara was also a bit of a letdown for Toyota as well. To give you an idea of how the Solara was selling, in 2004, Toyota sold 388,107 Camrys. In 2005, Toyota moved 356,516 Camrys. In the same span of time, Toyota sold just 49,174 and 43,993 Solaras, respectively. Now, those wouldn’t be bad sales numbers for a small brand, but this is Toyota we’re talking about here.

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104 0465 Img
Split Second

According to WardsAuto, Solara production dropped to “more than 40,000” in 2006 before falling off of a cliff to just 29,834 units in 2007. Sales dropped even further to 23,091 in 2008. Toyota called it quits later that year, citing falling demand for vehicles in the Solara’s segment.

From 1998 to 2001, Toyota sold about 175,078 Camry Solaras. I could not find data for later first-generation years. Toyota also didn’t drill those numbers down by engine or transmission, but enthusiasts estimate that around 15 percent of first-generation Solaras have manuals. That’s about 26,261 cars, of which we don’t know how many were V6. Of those cars, we also don’t know how many owners slapped the supercharger on top.

Solara 34
bwalaszek – Toyota Nation Forum

What I can tell you is that finding one of the Solaras is like trying to find Nessie, or a unicorn. I found just a couple of archived ads. None of my usual classifieds sites produced anything even close. Perhaps another $3,700 to $9,000 on top of the base Solara was too much for many buyers. A Solara with this supercharger appears to be another example of an uncommon version of a car otherwise sold in healthy numbers. If you have one, hold it tight, for you may never know when you may find another.

Do you know of or own a car, bus, motorcycle, or something else worthy of being called a ‘holy grail’? Send me an email at mercedes@theautopian.com or drop it down in the comments!

(Images: Toyota, unless otherwise noted.)

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The World of Vee
The World of Vee
2 months ago

Acura did the same thing with the TL/CL, Honda Access Americas (the weird in house parts supplier that brought mugen and HRD stuff to the states) offered the Comptech Kit which had a supercharger, body kit etc.

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a15134904/comptech-supercharged-acura-32cl-type-s-specialty-file/

Lemme tell you, as a young late model TL owner I wanted this kit so badly. An Acurazine member had one and wanted so much for the kit and I just could never afford it.

Scott
Scott
2 months ago

I haven’t had enough coffee yet, so my comprehension this time of day is surely lacking, but… this “TRD Solara” was not a finished, turnkey version that you could order new at the dealership, right? It’s actually a bunch of TRD parts you could buy from Toyota, get installed (presumably at a Toyota dealership if you wanted to retain your warranty) and then you’d own a TRD Solara, right? If so, it’s no wonder it’s hard to find any used listing for them.

Again: not enough coffee.

Either way, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for both generations of the Solara, despite them not being the most graceful or well-proportioned coupes ever designed. I also really dug (and secretly lusted for) that coupe version of the ’94-’96 Camry, perhaps because you almost never saw one (and frankly, unlike the Solara, it was almost graceful and proportionate). My folks had a regular 4-cylinder beater Camry from that generation, and even with the abuse it received, that car was practically unkillable.

Anyway, the idea of Camry mechanicals in a somewhat less frumpy two-door package was appealing, even if the driving experience was pretty similar to that of a regular Camry. And back then in the ’90s I think Toyotas were sort of even-more-better vs. many other brands quality-wise than they are today, especially on their cheaper models. I’m sure the Corolla Cross is great and all, and yes, maybe I’d daily one if I could rationalize the price of any new car these days, but from what the Car Care Guy on Youtube says, Toyota’s been cutting some corners lately. Not a horrific crime (not as bad as hard plastics in the 9th gen GTI interior for example) but still, a bit disappointing in a Toyota. CCG hates that metallic yellow the CC comes in (and that we didn’t get the Prius in) and says it looks much worse in person, but until I see one, I’ll still take mine that way… there are so few metallic yellow cars around.

Not long before it closed, in the parking lot of the Burbank Fry’s, I saw the most gorgeous black woman getting into an absolutely-brand-new-looking pearl white 2nd-gen Solara convertible… she was fairly epic (very wholesome yet somehow sultry at the same time) and by association, the Solara seemed way more like a Lexus than a Toyota. I still remember both fondly. 🙂 Fry’s too. 😉

I’d seriously consider either gen of Solara if a somewhat minty one ever crossed my path, but as I’ve already had a few ragtops already (’69 Stingray, ’81 Rabbit, and NA and NB Miatas) I think I’d opt for a hardtop Solara, probably the 2nd-gen given that very Lexus-ish dash. 🙂

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
2 months ago

> Our souped-up Solara ripped from standstill to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and turned the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds at 95 mph. The stock Solara runs the sprint in 7.0 and takes 15.6 seconds at 90 mph to complete the quarter-mile

That’s kind of embarrassing. 700 millisecond difference. Under real conditions it’s basically the same.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

Probably too much wheel spin. When I went from a manual Focus SE to ST, the published acceleration numbers weren’t far apart, either, but I checked it out because it allowed the stupid driver nannies to be shut off, unlike the SE. Turns out, while the car could be difficult to launch just right with so much low end torque and FWD, I knocked about a second off the usual published numbers that were in the low mid 6s to low mid-5s, which matches up with about where it should have been with its power:weight ratio. I think some dolts out there were revving to peak power and dropping the clutch for their tests. The best way I found to launch it—and I would think this supercharged V6 Solara would be similar—was to rev to about double idle speed and step off the clutch just right. In any event, the 0-60 did not reflect the readily accessible and very real differences in acceleration in everyday driving when the tires were already rolling (though it could still spin the tires even while rolling at lower speeds or low traction conditions if one wanted to do so, it had to be intentional).

W124
W124
2 months ago

The silver Camry Solara reminded me immediatelly about the eight gen Euro Accord. I can just assume they thought that because Solaras were only sold in Europe no one would notice…

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/2008_Honda_Accord_Euro_sedan_%282015-06-15%29_01_%28cropped%29.jpg

https://images-stag.jazelc.com/uploads/theautopian-m2en/toyota_camry_solara_concept_2.jpg

Last edited 2 months ago by W124
Dolsh
Dolsh
2 months ago
Reply to  W124

First thing I thought of right after thinking “I don’t remember the Solara looking good” was “kinda looks like the TSX I had.”

Nick Brennan
Nick Brennan
2 months ago

I love those Toyota V6s. Paired with a manual it’s a great drive. I actually prefer the slightly dorkier style of the first gen Solara.
Another Toyota grail is the 92-93 ES300 with the manual. I had fun with one.
https://youtu.be/OYwptHj0gw0?si=NnbGuFb-RWuxvPnw

Lawrence Brown
Lawrence Brown
2 months ago

I’m looking to buy a coupe with a good body! I have a NIB TRD supercharger for it!

Cam.man67
Cam.man67
2 months ago

The first gen Solara is a forgettable sort of vehicle, but I have to admit the TRD upgrades are pretty cool. I think it’s smart there weren’t TRD bits for the 2nd-gen…Toyota hit that thing hard with the ugly stick.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
2 months ago

Is it a holy grail if it isn’t a model, but just a bunch of after-purchase accessories/upgrades?

Like… there’s no telling how many were made (complete, with everything) and most probably picked/chose which upgrades they wanted.

So…. how is this a holy grail? It’s like the Ram Raptor competitors… you can buy a bunch of parts to make the truck from the mopar performance catalogue, but it wasn’t really sold like that, so I don’t really think it counts.

Also 4k for those soft ass TSW Evo Rs is hilarious. I bet they didn’t sell many of that option at all, that’s sooooooo overpriced lmfao

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

And to be honest, we are kinda running low at this point – we’ve covered much of the ’80s and ’90s pure OEM stuff already, cars from the ’60s and ’70s has been done to death generally across the internet, and is there really a version of the Ford Edge or current Chevy Malibu that’s that badass to us here?

I like the stretch grails, and I’ve always been an advocate for them as a way to get deeper into autopia.

(as in, the Ford ZX2 SR rules, I don’t care what anyone says damnit!)

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
2 months ago

May I nominate the Mercedes 450SEL 6.9? In your honor?

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
2 months ago

I nominate the Chevy Colorado/ GMC Canyon 3LT/3SC sport truck. That’s my personal Holy Grail. They are so hard to find for sale I’ve only ever seen one for sale.

https://blog.consumerguide.com/chevrolet-colorado-3lt-v8/

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

pffft no we aren’t.

95 UrS6 Avant, closest thing to RS2 you could get until a year ago.
Isuzu Impulse RS
GTI 337 Edition
Beetle Turbo S
Mk3 Golf Rallye w Box Flares
NYG Neons

I can’t find a list of holy grails on this website but there’s a ton of stuff to cover.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
2 months ago

idk, still seems like a stretch. I think articles like this are cool, but maybe rebrand them to ‘holy grail PARTS’ or something, instead of the model. This would include DTs spare tire carrier, superchargers for these engines, 3rd gen prelude armrests, etc.

Honestly this could be a great new series of ‘golden eggs’ laying in junkyards, and you could help people be aware of them.

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
2 months ago

I am not a TRD Nerd, how did all this work? I ordered a Solara, then when it got to the dealer I could have them put the TRD stuff on asa dealer installed option (like floor mats)? Or you could order one? Or you could buy a regular Solara then take it back to the dealer and have them add the hop up parts? Put another way, could I buy one of these listed or optioned as a TRD Camry on the sticker?

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
2 months ago

Thanks, that is kind of what I figured. As time goes on people can kind of weird out about these things. The Austin Healey 100 was sold towards the end of production as a 100M from the factory with about 20 extra HP, a cam and a vented hood (among other things) you could also order the parts and have the dealer install them after purchase (or buy them and install yourself). The after the fact install was known as the Le Mans kit, and not an M.

You could have ordered the parts and had them installed from Donald Healey’s own shop in England, as he had a dealership and service shop as well as being the designer of the car, which was built by Austin, hence the hyphen and Austin-Healey. Anyway. A dealer installed kit from Healey’s own shop is not valued as highly as a factory built 100M from Austin, even though Healey designed the kit and used it in the cars when they raced at Le Mans in the early fifties.

Anyway, sorry to sort of go off on an esoteric tangent, but if I can’t geek out about cars on the Autopian where can I?

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago
Reply to  ProudLuddite

That’s the kind of obscure stuff I love to read or hear!

Nick Brennan
Nick Brennan
2 months ago
Reply to  ProudLuddite

I wonder how many had the dealer add the body kit and suspension for the lot.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
2 months ago

Edelbrock makes a supercharger for the 2GR, but it’s only available on the Lotus Evora and Emira. They don’t sell it separately, and it’s not listed on Edelbrock’s site.

If you can get a hold of it, you can supercharge your 06+ Camry, Solara, Sienna, Highlander, ES350, RX350, etc.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

You can order the kit from Lotus, although it might need a massive power bulge in the hood as the supercharger sits right on top of the engine and in the Lotuesesss it’s the bottom of the view in the rear view mirror.

400bhp stock, although I’ve seen some Lotus tuners claiming 460.

SK2807
SK2807
2 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob
Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago

For when you absolutely had to get to the hairdresser on time for your dye touch up and then race to the early bird buffet.

Putting a hot motor in this thing is like putting hot sauce in tapioca pudding.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
2 months ago

I’ve seen one of these, or at least one with the body kit (no idea if it had the supercharger), running around northwest Houston back in the early 2000s. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would try and pretend the Solara was in any way sporty, and seeing what TRD envisioned for the car I am not yet compelled to change that position.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

That Camry coupe is so good-looking to me…now.

I nearly bought one new in ’94. I just couldn’t imagine owning a Camry…seemed so bleh, even back then. I now kinda wish I had, as I’d probably still have it.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

That was the best looking Camry generation, IMO. Sedan, coupe, wagon, all looked sharp.

Outofstep
Outofstep
2 months ago

Yup! I had a 95 sedan in green and it looked clean. I see a green wagon on the parkway occasionally and it still looks good. That wagon will probably outlive us all.

Not on topic but sort of related I sometimes see some older Tercels, Corollas, and Camrys (I’m talking like mid 80’s to early 90’s cars) still on the road and I’m not surprised because they were built so well but surprised because NY winters didn’t rust them to oblivion. I saw a 4WD Tercel wagon and the want is so strong. I can’t imagine the owner would willingly part with it though.

The Dude
The Dude
2 months ago

I’m probably biased because I own a second gen convertible but these are fantastic vehicles. I think the main problem is (especially with the convertible) is that people just assume these are supposed to be sporty cars, and they clearly aren’t unless you opt for the holy grail from this article.

If what you want is a comfortable boulevard cruiser then this car ticks all the right boxes for that.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  The Dude

I’ve always thought the reason for the misunderstanding was that it had (sadly) become the wrong era.

In the ’80s through mid-’90s, coupes were everywhere, and people generally understood that just b/c something had 2 doors and a tape stripe or whatever, it didn’t mean it was sporty in any real way, it was just a coupe.

But by the ’00s, the coupe era was rapidly on the way out and the two-door population that was left was becoming increasingly hard-core performance oriented cars only.

The Dude
The Dude
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I could see that, it’s almost like today where luxury now = performance and a luxury cruiser just gets crapped on because it’s not a hard core performance car. I also don’t think it helped that Toyota did try to market the Solara as a sporty car.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  The Dude

It’s odd to me that the market seems to be steadily consolidating instead of expanding in terms of vehicle choice; while it certainly says a lot about our tastes, I wonder if it also says anything about our economy?

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Trade
VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I disagree. I think it makes sense for manufacturers to take advantage of economies of scale and the like (both for themselves, and also, in theory, for replacement parts, repairs, etc. at the customer end) by consolidating vehicle lines and removing redundant models.

When I look at Toyota’s SUV page today, for example, I couldn’t tell you what differentiates the Corolla Cross from the RAV4 or Venza.
I also wouldn’t be able to (at a glance) determine the functional difference between the Highlander/Grand Highlander and Sequoia, if it weren’t for the $15k price difference. (Would the Sequoia still have a place in their lineup if they bring the Land Cruiser back? I know Sequoias have been around for a while but I dunno if I’ve ever seen even 5.)

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Totally on the economies of scale, and I do appreciate an always increasing standardization of parts. But I also wonder if it at its best, it could also lead to more ways to make more vehicle options.

A lot of this might be consumer taste at play, but instead of a ton of different but the same Toyota SUVs, what if there were space to more easily offer say an enthusiast sedan (or b/c this place, wagon)? Car companies will cite profit margins as the reason to not do so now, but what if the actual manufacturing didn’t need to be the big constraint?

In fairness, against my view is the cinema mulitplex experience. The original idea was with enough theaters, a wide variety of movies – blockbusters, indies, foreign, etc. – could be shown. But in practice, it’s 10 screens all showing Fast N Furious: Lunar Apocalypse.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I guess you could say the customer base had flown the coupe.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

Ah so like me, one way you mark it is when the Pontiac Sunbird migrated to the Sunfire?

Codfangler
Codfangler
2 months ago
Reply to  The Dude

I owned a 2005 red Solara convertible, and it was a hoot. It was definitely not sporty, but it handled and accelerated a little better than I expected it to.

Convertibles have long been a favorite of mine, but an added joy of this one was that my grandchildren loved it.

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago

Solara – Sebring by Toyota.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Avalon- LeSabre by Toyota

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago

If I remember correctly, Toyota dealers technically could were allowed to) fit the TRD supercharger to the 1st gen Sienna minivan as well.

It’s a foggy memory though…so I could be wrong.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago

If this is true, it deserves its own Grail article even if it’s 3/4 a copy of this one. Damn, that sounds sick.

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