1996 Toyota Camry Wagon Drives 583k Miles before Its Final Roll

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read


Toyotas have always been screwed together very well, so you’d expect to find plenty of them with intergalactic-level high miles in car graveyards. While I do run across countless discarded Toyotas with final odometer readings in the 300k-to-400k-mile range, the more stratospheric reaches of the Junkyard Odometer Standings are dominated by Honda and Mercedes-Benz, with a 631k-mile Volvo at the very top. Toyota finally breaks into the junkyard odometer big leagues now, with this extremely well-traveled Camry wagon in a Denver-area self-service yard.

1996 toyota camry wagon with 583k miles in colorado wrecking yard

Murilee Martin

You need to average 21,615 miles per year, every year, to achieve this with a 27-year-old car. This Camry with 583,624 miles lands in fourth place overall in the Murilee Martin Junkyard Odometer Standings, knocking a 435k-mile 1996 Honda Civic out of the top 10. Here’s the list:

  1. 1990 Volvo 240 DL, 631,999 miles
  2. 1988 Honda Accord LXi, 626,476 miles
  3. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E, 601,173 miles
  4. 1996 Toyota Camry Wagon, 583,624 miles
  5. 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300SD, 572,139 miles
  6. 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300SD, 525,971 miles
  7. 1988 Honda Accord DX, 513,519 miles
  8. 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon, 493,549 miles
  9. 1990 Nissan Sentra, 440,299 miles
  10. 1991 Honda Accord, 435,417 miles

As you can see from the build tag, this car was assembled in Georgetown, Kentucky, making it the highest-mile American-built vehicle I’ve ever found in a junkyard. The April 1996 build date also means it’s one of the very last Camry wagons ever built (1996 was the final year for US-market Corolla wagons as well). Let’s take a look at the red-white-and-blue Junkyard Odometer Standings for vehicles built in the United States of America now:

  1. 1996 Toyota Camry wagon, 583,624 miles (built in Georgetown, Kentucky)
  2. 1990 Nissan Sentra, 440,299 miles (built in Smyrna, Tennessee)
  3. 1991 Honda Accord, 435,471 miles (built in Marysville, Ohio)
  4. 1996 Honda Civic, 435,028 miles (built in Marysville, Ohio)
  5. 1995 Toyota Avalon, 389,077 miles (built in Georgetown, Kentucky)
  6. 1986 Oldsmobile Calais, 363,033 miles
  7. 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo, 355,892 miles
  8. 1990 Chevrolet Caprice, 350,664 miles
  9. 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback, 341,418 miles (built in Lafayette, Indiana)
  10. 1996 Nissan Quest, 338,549 miles (built in Avon Lake, Ohio)

Since Canada and Mexico are in North America, too, honorable mentions should go to the 412k-mile 2002 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (built in St. Thomas, Ontario) and the unknown-year Nissan Tsuru that appears to have been pasted together from the parts of a dozen crashed Juarez taxis with a million hard kilometers apiece (built in Cuernavaca, Morelos).

1996 toyota camry wagon with 583k miles in colorado wrecking yard

Murilee Martin

Why did it suffer this fate? The key is in the ignition switch with a big lanyard attached, which is a clue. A quick search of the VIN reveals that this car was auctioned off last week by Copart, and the photos of it indicate that the hood got mashed and the windshield shattered by something that fell on the car (maybe a tree or light pole). It ran and drove at the end, according to the description.

There’s a 2015 Ohio inspection sticker on the windshield, and Copart describes the car as having an Ohio salvage title when it showed up.

1996 toyota camry wagon with 583k miles in colorado wrecking yard

Murilee Martin

That explains the rust, which is unusual for cars in High Plains Colorado but all too common for 1990s Japanese cars in Ohio. The combination of rust, salvage title, and absurdly high miles meant that State Farm probably declared this car totaled within seconds of getting the claim. Still, how could someone give up on a car that was still a runner when pushing 600,000 miles?

Would you buy the engine out of a junkyard car with better than a half-million miles on the clock? Someone did!

1996 toyota camry wagon with 583k miles in colorado wrecking yard

Murilee Martin

In fact, the junkyard shopper who bought the engine dropped the entire front subframe in order to get to it.

That engine was a 2.2-liter straight-four rated at 125 hp and 145 lb-ft. An optional V6 with 188 horses and 203 lb-ft was available. New Camry sedans with manual transmissions were available in the United States through 2011, but the last model year here for a Camry wagon with three pedals was 1991.

1996 toyota camry wagon with 583k miles in colorado wrecking yard

Murilee Martin

The interior is a bit dirty but not abused. This is typical of the high-mile cars I find in these places (though there have been some exceptions).

Toyota didn’t have much use for wagons in the United States market by the time this car was built, thanks to strong sales of the RAV4, 4Runner, and Previa minivan. The canny shopper who bought this one (MSRP was $21,198, or $42,241 after inflation) got the last laugh, though.

1996 toyota camry wagon with 583k miles in colorado wrecking yard

Murilee Martin

Naturally, I brought along a vintage film camera with me that day: a 1950s MIOM Photax, built in France and bought by me at the same Luxembourg City flea market that supplied many spectacular European automotive decals of the 1970s and 1980s.

Right-hand-drive Camry wagons were shipped from Kentucky to Japan, where they were badged as Scepters.

Share This Article
Follow:
Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
Leave a comment