This past year marked a golden milestone in Toyota‘s history as the company celebrated 50 years of doing business in North America. They’ve come a long way since the first Toyopet Crown sedan reached American roads in 1957. Toyota opened for business in America on October 31, 1957, in Southern California, and started selling cars the following summer. By the end of 1958, it had sold just 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser-a far cry from 2006 sales of more than 2.5 million cars and trucks.
Since 1957, Toyota has invested more than $15.5 billion in its U.S. operations, and has produced nearly 14 million vehicles in the U.S. In addition, Toyota affiliates and dealers directly employ more than 34,600 people in the U.S. To help Toyota celebrate its 50th anniversary in America, the company proposed a joint venture with Lowrider Magazine, and after a few meetings we were given full control of the project. The only request was that the car had to be lifted like a traditional lowrider; they wanted nothing to do with airbags. With all of that said and discussed, we picked up our Camry and got busy.
The car was shipped to Camino Real Collision Center in Pico Rivera, California, which would become the primary building location of the vehicle. The crew at Camino Real crew started off by stripping the car, before taking care of all of the modifications, which included extending and “suiciding” the doors of the one-time four-door sedan, and cutting the roof to mimic the look of a glass roof. The doors were extended approximately 4 inches and built from scratch.
Both the front and rear panels feature Pioneer door speakers and components that were installed by Jimmy Duran of Shot Callerz Customs in Bloomington, California. Once he completed the panels, Jimmy decided to begin on a custom center console. He began by creating cardboard templates, which allowed for quick changes if necessary. The console was to flow from the front of the vehicle up and over the back seat and end with a sharp point. Jimmy used small brackets and screws to attach the pieces and reinforced it all with fiberglass. Jimmy repeated the fiberglass reinforcement on the inside of the console. The console would be a complete piece; it was important that it would be able to stand its own weight.
An exciting part of the build was the iPod integration into the steering wheel. Jimmy had done monitors before, but he thought that an iPod would be cool. Thanks to Scosche and the wiring that they supplied, he was able to wire it to the Pioneer D3 so that it would act as a DVD player and CD changer all in one. It would also be able to operate from the steering wheel.
Moving on to the rear of the car, Jimmy and the crew wanted to add another pair of 61/2-inch speakers. The speaker subwoofer boxes needed to have enough air space, but still fit in the trunk along with the hydraulic setup, batteries, accumulators and three amplifiers. The trunk needed to start with a false floor. This would be the support for everything that was about to go in. Once they had the floor, they could measure for the sub boxes. They used 3/4-inch MDF wood to make two basic single boxes using their same framing and fiberglass techniques. Then they moved on to the amp rack in which the design called for the amps to layer down the back of the trunk. Once this was complete, it was covered with a fiberglass shell that would also be painted along with several interior pieces.
The car was equipped with a CCE Hydraulics setup that was installed by Ray Gonzalez of Laid Out Customs in Whittier, California. Ray had to work together with the Jimmy of Shot Callerz Customs to make sure that there was a happy medium between music and hydraulics, as there had to be enough room to house two CCE chrome Cyclone pumps and three Power Master 31-series batteries.
With much of the work being done at the same time, the car was ready for paint very quickly. The car’s body work was carried out at Camino Real Collision and gone through by Sorel Knobler. Once the car was sealed, it was taken to Steve Deman of Kolor Kings in Ontario, California, where they split the paint into two tones. The exterior was done using SEM Color Horizon finishes and sprayed using SATA’s latest spray guns. Once they were done with the paint, they had “OG Abel” come in and do some of his custom pearl murals, which were accented with striping and gold leafing by Steve Deman.
At this point, it was time to scramble as there were only a few days before the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the car was to make its debut. The build team called on California Upholstery in Bell Gardens, California, to take care of the seats, panels, headliner and amp rack. LRM Editor Joe Ray personally picked the colors to match the custom paint. The center console and other pieces were delivered to Kolor Kings where the “kings” did their thing. Once we got the parts back from paint, it was time for reassembly, which included a custom grille generously provided by E&G Classic Grilles. Among the last touches given to the car were a set of Coker 5.20 tires mounted on 14×7 wire wheels.
From start to finish, this entire project took a few months to do with the help of the right crew. It required a couple of long days and nights without sleep on their part, but the “Camryder” was completed in time to make its debut at the SEMA show this past November where Toyota was one of the main sponsors and wanted to make a big splash. We think that they succeeded.
CamryderOwner: Toyota Motor SalesVehicle: 2007 Toyota CamryCity/State: Los Angeles, CaliforniaEngine/Drivetrain: Stock 4-cylinder
Body/Paint: Camino Real Collision Center in Pico Rivera, California, took care of all of the modifications, which included extending and “suiciding” the doors of the one-time four-door sedan, and cutting the roof. The doors were extended approximately 4 inches and built from scratch. A custom grille was generously provided by E&G Classic Grilles. SEM Color Horizon custom finishes were used for the paint job and sprayed using SATA’s best spray guns by Steve Deman at Kolor Kings in Ontario, California. “OG Abel” added some of his custom pearl murals, which were accented with striping and gold leafing by Steve Deman.
Interior: The centerpiece of the modified interior is a custom center console constructed by Jimmy Duran at Shot Callerz Customs in Bloomington, California. Custom vinyl matching the exterior was used by Joe at California Auto Upholstery in Bell Gardens, California.
Sound System: Jimmy Duran of Shot Callerz Customs matched a Pioneer head unit with three Pioneer amplifiers, three pairs of 61/2-inch midrange speakers and two 12-inch subwoofers. An iPod was integrated into the steering wheel.
Setup: Ray Gonzalez of Laid Out Customs in Whittier, California, installed two CCE Cyclone pumps powered by three Power Master gel batteries.
Tires: 5.20 Coker Premium
Wheels: 14×7 100-spoke standard knockoff wires