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Showcase cover image for RichieRichJP's 1996 Toyota Camry

General Information

Year
1996
Make
Toyota
Model
Camry
Color
WAS Black w/ blue pearl, blue
Packages
LE
History
Scrapped in November 2013.
I bought this car between my stays in Japan. I went to Florida for 8 months in 2002 before I got tired of it and moved back with my family in Japan. While I was there, I saved up some money to drop on my car. I ordered a bunch of stuff and it sat with my brother in Florida for a year before I got to see any of it.

Screw-job history:
First, I purchased a body kit from 562Camry while I lived in Japan. Based on the "only pictures he had," it looked like a good kit. It took somewhere around 7 months of bugging him before I finally got him to ship it to my brother. If it weren't for my friend living 20 minutes away from him, I don't think he would have ever been motivated to ship it. Upon my return from Japan, I came home to a body kit that looked like it was painted by fact-o-bake. The paint was so bad that I could see primer and it looked like only part of the kit had clearcoat which is really beyond me. On top of that, the rear bumper had several cracks on it and it didn't fit properly. Also, the sideskirts where made out of polyurethane, which was good, but they were completely generic - looked like something you'd see on a cardboard kit; no accents, just a long piece of plastic. On top of that, the side skirts were cut on the ends and didn't have a way to mount on the rear wheel well! I think the only thing that I was happy getting was a custom front bumper and that got destroyed 6 months later by a careless driver.
[B]Second,[/B] I paid $2300 PLUS the ~$550 on paint I supplied for my current paint job and the person who painted it (friend's dad) closed his shop soon after. We agreed it would be painted in stages since the Camry was my only means of transportation and being that I was his son's friend, I was promised a discount. After each of these stages, I was charged about $600-800 every time and wondered when I was supposed to receive my "discount." In fact, every time I showed up to his shop, he would up his price from the quote and I was forced to pay more. He didn't properly prep my car for paint; the clearcoat had major orange peel, original clearcoat wasn't completely taken off, paint chipped off certain areas, over-spray everywhere, bondo wasn't completely sanded down, scuff marks left on clearcoat, etc. etc. I brought my car to him at least 5 times and all he kept doing was detailing it and never did ANY work. On top of that, he only used that $10 touch-up paint on the areas that were starting to chip off. The last time I showed up, I found out he transferred ownership to someone else. Since then, my paint has been bubbling and my clear coat has been coming off. I had a feeling that he got tired of me showing up and tying him up with my car. I heard he reopened somewhere else in town but I don't know where. Since Jan 4 2012, my car is rattlecan sem-gloss black. It's actually nice that it's one color and not chipping! lol
[B]Third,[/B] the Allen Serban story. I paid $1300 for a modified cylinder head that I never received and he said it was MY fault. He neglected to get the head rebuilt from a shop for 3 months and kept my money after they closed down. He kept telling me they were working on it and it became apparent that he just left it at the shop. Again, he blamed me for it because I paid him the money (those were his exact words he posted somewhere on here). Also, I was an "asshole" and various other names because I wouldn't stop bugging him about my money and that I ruined all the posts he was in. After, he went on a scamming spree and he was eventually banned. I kept telling all of the admins and they didn't do anything until it was too late. He had sold the last of his parts (which was a blown 3sgte motor to a member on MR2OC I later found out) and disappeared anyway.
[B]Fourth[/B] was the Luis Lora aka Team Redline Performance issue. I paid him about $4500 for the turbo, custom FMIC kit, manifold and downpipe, wastegate and various other things when he got approved for a vendor type status. He started the group buy for some Gen 3 CAI’s and never delivered them. After a few months, he disappeared completely and no one knew where he went. I found out from a friend of his on here that he moved to Orlando. I eventually tracked him down after almost a year and gave him a call at his work. I eventually retrieved my parts after TWO visits to Orlando; Orlando is a 8hr drive from here. The first time I was supposed to collect everything but it was all bolted onto his car. He was also "busy" and couldn't take the parts off. I made another attempt and got everything 6 months later. Come to find out he gave me “discounts” on parts then charged me “tax,” and I STILL ended up spending more for my parts which I could have got online by myself. I never did bother to try figure out how much I lost, but this was definitely one stressful time knowing that someone out there has $4500 of my parts.
[b]Fifth[/b], I bought a set of custom aggressive camshafts from someone off of Ebay. They looked like a good purchase by the pictures so I got them. When I did get them, I brought them to a mechanic and I was told that they were damaged and could only be fixed by rebuilding the lobes and regrinding it down again, but it would cost almost the same amount it cost to purchase these; I spent about $575. I couldn't bother at this point since I had been raped by various other people already.
[B]Finally,[/B] by MCS Motorsports, which is now closed. It's a very long story which I’ll keep short. As being the next best alternative to ATS Racing at that time, I went with MCS to build my block as ATS customers claimed long wait times; shops claim engine builds should take 6 weeks, but people claimed 6 months or more. I called MCS and they said they will deliver in 6 weeks for sure. Obviously that didn’t happen. 8 months later and after paying them about $6000 for parts, I find out from Nick (who was a mechanic and took customer calls) that he was planning on quitting and that he had a strong feeling that Shaun (owner) was going to shut down and take everyone’s money. He was officially correct 3 months later. By the 11th month, I finally told Shaun I was going to drive there and pick everything up. Being 1350 miles (going one way) of a drive, Shaun knew it was long and tried to talk me out of it. Nope. I was firm and decided to go there and pick everything up. Once I got there, I found out that the motor work had been contracted out to another shop. The block (which I picked up) was unassembled. Shaun also failed to tell me it was built as a 5SFTE stroker and it was dismantled because someone used the wrong bearings. I went to with Shaun to his secret storage unit where he kept an inventory of used motor parts and just gave me parts to compensate loss. Of those parts, I probably made about $1000 by selling it back into the community. So compared to the $6000 I put down, approximately $5000 was lost.

I know I’ve probably forgotten about one or two more significant fuck-overs, but I’ve just put those behind me because it was too much stress to deal with.
But between all of those I listed, I’ve received various junk parts from MR2OC which was partially my fault because I neglected to ask for pictures. Now I make sure I get detailed pictures first. You’ll be surprised how much harder it is to find parts when you lay down more requirements to cover your own ass in a transaction.
Lesson learned: don't trust anyone.
1996 Toyota Camry (WAS Black w/ blue pearl, blue)

Modifications

Drivetrain
Rippmods Header
Apexi N1 Muffler, Magnaflow Cat
E153 Transmission swapped
Fidanza Flywheel
ACT 5SFE Clutch kit w/ e153 spline
92-93 Celica GT TWM Short Shifter
Speed Source Brass Shift Cable Bushings
Unorthodox Lightweight Crank Pulley
Exterior
VIS Racing CF Invader Hood
Gen 3.5 Scepter Panel

NOW rocking: Semi-gloss black (rattlecan)
OEM bumpers
VIS Racing CF Invader Hood
Gen 3.5 Scepter Panel
Suspension
H&R Lowering Springs
Tokico Struts
TRD RSB
Ericsol Caliper Bracket w/ Supra TT Rotors (front) & es300 rotor swap (rear).
Wheel and Tire
Falken Torque 5 17x7 +35

Gallery

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