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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello. I was asked to post some pictures of the 1983 Camry Hatchback I recently took ownership of. It was my Mom's car, and she died in January, and my Dad cannot drive it, so it went to me. My parents bought the car in 1986, when it was a fairly low mile off-lease car. This was the car I learned to drive a stick shift on.

It's bone stock - and until my Mom died, was almost always garaged at night, so it's in pretty good shape. A little paint peeling on the hood, there was a tiny dent in the right rear corner I think before we got the car. Both the front and rear windows were vandalized in the last few years. Each time it was difficult to get a replacement. With the rear glass it really ticks me off because the defroster grid was perfect on the old glass, and it was completely shot on the only one we were able to find as a replacement.

The rear window washer nozzle went bad years ago and that's an NLA part, but I think I'll try to see if I can make a nozzle from a different car work.

At one point on a road trip my parents were on, the starter didn't disengage after they started it, and they didn't notice until things started melting around it.

The cruise control actuator has been replaced twice (that I have records of) and it still works (it doesn't like 5th gear on hills though)

The A/C... it was changed to R134a a few years ago and I thought it just needed refilling, so I went to do that today, and while feeding it in, the A/C clutch kicked in for half a second then off again. After that I checked with a pressure gauge and found it was actually fully charged. So I don't know what's up there. The service manual shows a lot more complicated circuit layout for the A/C than the VWs I'm familiar with (I was a private-shop VW mechanic from 1994-2001) Looks like rebuilt compressors aren't too expensive though.

Next up, I need to hook up an indoor/outdoor thermometer and a headlight reminder buzzer I have them in my other 3 cars and I'm missing not having them.

Okay, here's the speedometer - I guess this was the only year for 85MPH on the speedo.



And here is the interior:



And the back:



And the engine: (yes I washed it recently)






And some photos of the body:






I think I need to remove those bumper stickers.



And repaint the wheels sometime. And do something about the hubcaps.








I hope those were of interest to someone. To me it's "My Mom's Car" more than anything else. But I do realize it was a first year model, and Camry hatchbacks aren't exactly commonplace either (I think I've seen two or three like this, ever, in person) For 31 years old, and totally unrestored/fixed-up/whatever, it's still pretty solid.

-Andy
 

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Wow! really nice! keep good care of her. I'm keeping my eyes out for a 1st gen manual for my next project car. I have the digital gauge cluster with fuel sender and dimmer switch for a 1st gen that I found at the yard from a hatchback. One day I will find my 1st gen and put it to use.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to post your photos. VERY NICE CAR!!

We have something in common, I own Dad's car. He bought it new in late 1990 and shortly thereafter had a stroke and couldn't drive for a while. That forced his retirement and he only drove 12,000 miles before passing away in 1995. At my suggestion, Mom kept the car garaged and I drove it alternating with my own Plymouth. When Mom passed in 2002 I bought it from her estate and I have pretty much babied it since.

Like yours, mine has had its' few trials and tribulations but looks good considering. I've had several offers to sell it but that will never happen in my lifetime. If I continue to maintain it I think I can easily double the current mileage of 143,000.
 

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Very nice. I love the tall shifter very much. The fuel gauge is from another planet, why this shape? Because 80's Japan. So much glass all around, especially the rear quarter window I like. There's an old man near where I live who drives around in his grey 85-86, no hatchback and although very clean, nowhere near as cool as an 83 hatch.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the comments. Some replies:

Yeah, lots of glass, could use it for a greenhouse!

That shifter... I had forgotten how lonnnggg the throws were. Was there ever a quick shift kit made for down at the transmission for this model?

Tires - why was it the hatchback used 165SR13 tires and the sedans 185/70R13?

Anyway, the tires that are on there are pretty old, especially the rears which are actually still 165SR13, the fronts 165/80R13. So I should probably get new ones at some point. I like tall skinny tires actually, they do better in snow, so I plan on either staying that size or go slightly oversize with 175/80R13, which I ran last winter on my Golf.

That fuel gauge... one of the largest I've seen - too bad it's not very accurate. I like that analog clock - and I'm surprised it's still ticking away... I just did the math, it's close to having ticked off 1 billion seconds now!

-Andy
 

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I wonder if the 1st Gen Camry Hatchbacks were as rare as the Gen 2 wagons? At least here, I see 10-15 of the sedans for every one of the wagons.

I can't remember the model year but I owned a Corolla Tercel hatchback in the late '80s. It had tiny tires like yours and IIRC those were 13s too.
 

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This is a keeper. 1gens are getting rarer by the day. Yours is in very good condition and even the paint has shine to it.
The 85 mph I know was a thing back then. Makes it easy for 45mph city driving for me if I had one.
 

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Very clean, looks like it was well loved! I would take care of that little bit of rust on the rear quarters though before it spreads. You can sand it clean yourself, coat it with POR15, and a self etching primer and paint, or have a shop do it which would be expensive but given you love the car and it looks good otherwise probably worth it.

As for rarity, I know in the NE anyway 1st gens are pretty much gone so seeing any is at all is a surprise but I never even knew they made a hatch back; I see the five door Corollas from that era up here but never a Camry. Cool!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, makes one think that Toyota expected the hatchback to be the higher selling model, eh? 15 bucks for both the manual and the wiring diagram booklet.


The fuel gauge swings up and down from the halfway mark. You can kind of see the center bits here:



I mentioned before I wanted to stick an indoor/outdoor thermometer on there. I did so today - ran the sensor out to the radiator grille. There is a missing plug on the dash faceplate - I think I popped it out in the late 80s actually. Well today I covered it with the thermometer (double sided tape)



 

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The fuel gauge swings up and down from the halfway mark. You can kind of see the center bits here:

In a way it looks like a part pin ball machine sides. In the picture I now see it is like a regular gauge that is the same as the normal stuff. Just they hide most of it and made that funny shift to one side. I guess they really wanted people to fill up before 1/4 of a tank.
 

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Thanks for the comments. Some replies:


Tires - why was it the hatchback used 165SR13 tires and the sedans 185/70R13?

Anyway, the tires that are on there are pretty old, especially the rears which are actually still 165SR13, the fronts 165/80R13. So I should probably get new ones at some point. I like tall skinny tires actually, they do better in snow, so I plan on either staying that size or go slightly oversize with 175/80R13, which I ran last winter on my Golf.


-Andy
1983-1984 DX models (sedan and hatchback) came equipped with 165SR13 tires. 1983-1986 LE and 1985 -1986 DX models came equipped with 185/70SR13 tires

You should be able to fit 185/70R13 tires to your car without any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
You should be able to fit 185/70R13 tires to your car without any problems.
That's just it, I don't want that size at all. I already said, I like tall skinny tires. So it's either going to be 165/80R13 or the 175/80R13 tires that I bought for my Golf last fall and liked. I already knew that 185/70R13s would fit - the owner's manual and the tire pressure decal both list the two sizes.

So, Did they have LE vs DX in 1983? This car has no badges.
 
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