I’ll keep this short & sweet…my name is Steve Redmond, I’m a Toyota enthusiast with a passion for driving and performance. After owning an AW11 MR2 for a over a decade, change was inevitable.
Once upon a time, I began searching for a new car. Now because of my loyalty and love of my AW11, this was process that actually took me a few years to get to. With this came a list or better yet a set of personal needs and specific requirements. The criteria was simple:
- Daily All-Season Drivability
- Higher Ground Clearance
- Must have a Manual Gearbox
- More then 200hp
- Decent MPG min of 20mpg city
- Dual Airbags
- 4 Passenger Seating Min.
- Engine Swap Potential
- RWD or AWD (which is a + for all-season purposes)
- Reliable Brand & Model
- Compact for street parking (under 155in)
- More Then 7.8 cu. ft. Cargo Space
In early 2011, after looking into potential makes and models. I began searching other Toyota’s and found a mint ST185 All-Trac Celica (almost impossible to find in such condition). I was super excited but shortly after losing a bidding war, I gave up…but thankfully not completely. I started searching for All-Trac Camry’s and Corolla’s. I then found a rare 1990 Toyota Corolla All-Trac sedan 5spd for an affordable price but unfortunately it required alot of work and wasn’t in running condition. So I keep researching, learning more about Alltrac…investigated their drive train. Soon I discovered the SXA10 Rav4 (or Rav4.1) drive train was vastly similar. I then began searching for 2 door Rav4’s…but then I uncovered they’re equally as rare as the ST185 and AE92 Alltrac sedans. Needless to say, things were looking hopeless.
Luckily, out of sheer randomness I asked my long time friend and mechanic if he knew anyone selling one, he tells me YES. Now I thought I was hearing things…so I thought he misunderstood and proceeded to ask him a 2nd & 3rd time…
96-00 Rav4? Yes.
Is it Is it a 2dr? Yes. Is it AWD? Yes.
Is it a 5spd? Yes.
I still couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and I didn’t think my search for this car would go this easy…then it got even better, he goes on to tell me it has HID’s, Cusco Strut Tower Bar, dual sunroofs and its nearby (10 miles away). Still in shock, I said “can you take me to see it tomorrow? Yes.” Next day I took a look…the owner only wanted $3k…just needed a coolant fan switch and a new battery…3 days it was mine.
And a new chapter began.