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Restoration at any cost

I have 91 camry LE with, loaded. It was a beautiful car in its time. I let my sister borrow it. Bad news. The whole right front is wrecked. Bent axle, bent rim, heavy suspension damage. Body damage isn’t that bad. The right mirror is gone, front bumper ripped in half and right from fender is gone. Normally, this car would not be worth repairing, but it has a new transmission, new engine and new tires. Its also clean. The most important thing is that it has high sentimental value and I am willing to restore it at any cost. Where can I take it, or where can I get factory parts that will match in paint colour and will look good cosmetically? The mechanical part can be fixed with money and a good mechanic? How much we talking here? 15g? more or less?

As you embark upon this endeavor (waste of money), remember that your original post contains the words “at any cost.” In fact, you said it twice.

Search your area for a good body shop. They will know where to get the parts.

Cars are metal, plastic, rubber, and glass. They are inanimate objects. Never, never, never fall in love with a car.

You’re willing to spend $15,000, or more, on a 1991 Camry that you’ve already sunk lots of money in. I can think of several VERY NICE used cars you could buy for that money.

I suggest you think about this a little more before you commit to it.

First off, I think you’re nuts for wanting to fix this. :slight_smile:

Second, you’ll need to get the frame checked and possibly straightened before you do ANY suspension work. Any good body shop should be able to do that for you.

Then you’re likely to need to replace the axle, strut assembly, control arms, wheel bearing, steering knuckle, tie rods, possibly the sway bar, rim, and mirror just to get the thing driveable again. That’s probably $1000-2000 in parts alone there.

Overall, you’re probably looking at at LEAST $8k from your description, more likely $10k or somewhat more.

Considering that for that sort of money you could buy a MUCH newer used vehicle with MUCH better safety equipment, and likely better reliability and better mileage, along with less rust, I’d highly advise you to dump the car.

I’m sure there are good body shops in your area. Take you pick and the shop should be able to source all the parts and fix the car. You can get an estimate for a full quality “like new” job, or a what will it take to pass inspection job.

Without seeing the damage it is hard to guess the costs but you are talking lots of new front end parts, grille, headlights, bumper, fender, mirror, front suspension parts, and paint. Something in excess of $6,000 and likely a bit under $10K.

If the car has sentimental value then don’t lend it to anyone anymore.

You would do better to part this car out. Or, if you like, buy another one just like it with a perfect body, and blown engine/tranny, and swap out the motor and other fine parts. It will be cheaper, and you will wind up with the best of both beasts. You can salve your sentimental conscience with knowing the heart of the old car is the same one you fell in love with.

Never fall in love with something that can’t love you back. It’s a wrecked car…Time to move on…It’s like trying to restore a crushed beer can…

There is no way anyone here can guess at a cost without seeing the damage or what the parts source will cost.

A heavily damaged 91 Camry is recyling material but if you insist on going forward with this your best option is to find a parts donor car; preferably in the same color.
Hit eBay or Craigslist up.

Before making one move on this vehicle I would carefully inspect the floor pan for buckling, strut towers for distortion or cracking, the subframe for buckling or tweaking, etc. Any damage on these, and on a 91 model car, really means it’s squashin’ time and sentimentality should be tossed.
If you proceed anyway it will take some serious work ($) on a frame alignment rack.

the heart wants what the heart wants.

Without seeing the damage it?s hard to say what it?ll cost, but that said from the description 15G would be a starting point and I wouldn?t rule out 50g at the high end depending on what they find when they open the car up.

Do you know if the block or the transmission housing is cracked from the accident?

Any good body shop can fix it, yes a mechanic can fix any mechanical part given enough time and money.

I doubt you can get factory parts that will match the color of your car, they will paint them to match.

Personally I?d kiss it goodbye, and yes I?ve own a few cars with a lot of sentimental value and put way more money in them than I should have, but in the end I?ve walked away from all of them. But I kept at least one part off the car to remind me why it meant so much to me.

BTW it car will never be the same again.

My opinions are subject to change with new facts.

It likely is cheaper to truck the car down to Mexico or Latin America along with a non-working (aka junked) but in good condition Camry and let the wizards work on it.

Any good body shop can restore the car if you’re willing to pay the frieght without complaint. They’ll probably make you sign a statement to that effect just so you can’t suddenly start squawking about the insane cost, some shops may even decline the work.

Be forewarned: and accident of that magnitude can also cause internal damage to the engine and/or transmisison that won’t be evident until it’s driven again. It can also cause damage to the unibody (your body is your frame) that won’t be obvious without putting it on a body straightening table or again driving it. A shop may make you sign disclaimers or agree ahead to pay for their efforts should they find something serious along the way.

Don’t go into this thinking you’ll save money.

Why are you asking these questions? You want to do something completely unreasonable. Take it to a body shop and let them take your money, but asking a group of car buffs where to take a car to do something as silly as you propose is wrong.

A car is a thing, a machine, and you own a broken, old machine that is not worth what it will cost to fix. Your sister owes you a car.

I understand,but give it some time.Later you may want to move on.It can be fixed(but will you like the result?)-Kevin

Sell the good parts on Ebay etc. or just sell the whole thing to a recycler.
Buy another Camry. ~3 years old is a good age for a used car.

Shoot your sister and spend the $15,000 on a good defense attorney. You’ll get the satisfaction of shooting the one who destroyed your car and meet new people in prison. Sound stupid? So does spending a 1991 Camry “at any cost”. Don’t do it. Rocketman

I have a friend that was in the same situation you are in. She inherited a 1990 Honda Civic from her mother. The car has about 100,000 miles. Her brother came to town for his class’s 50th reunion and someone ran a stop sign and hit the right front fender of the Honda. The damage sounds similar to the damage to your Camry. The insurance company called the car a total loss and was willing to give her $1500 for the car. She took the money and bought the car back from the insurance company and had it repaired. This is a single woman and she does have another car. However, she claims that the new Honda Civics don’t get the gasoline mileage she was getting.
I wouldn’t have repaired the car. There is rust around the back wheel wells and the rust you don’t see is worse the rust that you do see. The damage to the car was repaired, but the car wasn’t restored. 1990 Honda Civics and 1991 Toyota Camrys do not have classic status. I have a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon with the 4-4-2 trim package. There weren’t many made, but it isn’t even a special interest car, let alone a classic. If you owned a Studebaker Avanti for instance, then restoration might be justified.

For all we know, he could be a millionaire from Dubai who can dig up $15,000 from his couch cushions.

I agree that it doesn’t make sense financially, but the guy knows what he wants, so why spit on his dream?

Rocketman, now that there’s funny. I don’t care who you are.

still tryin to get rid of that Olds huh? Have you tried leaving the keys in the ignition and a signed title on the seat and leaving it near a major traffic thoroughfare with the words “Free car!” written on the windshield? :stuck_out_tongue:

I gave it away twice, but it keeps coming back. It’s as hard to get rid of as kittens. Our neighbor had a cat that was always having kittens. They would have a party for the kids in the area and give away the kittens as door prizes. Like my Oldsmobile,the kittens just kept being returned.