Project

1997 Toyota RAV4: My first-ever car, and my plans for it

A roadmap to a better RAV4

Though young in Toyota years, my RAV4’s been through some things.

Thus, I have a roadmap for making this ride truly mine, and then some.

Already, I’ve had all three wipers replaced, plus a flex pipe. I also hooked my ride up with a pair of Virginia plates benefitting the National Air & Space Museum, featuring the very Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” that flew from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. to live in the Udvar-Hazy Center in one hour, four minutes and 20 seconds at a top speed of 2,124 mph.

Right now, I’ll be taking my ride for its annual inspection around mid-May, followed by either an AC charge or, if needed, a replacement.

Then, I’m taking it to Maaco to determine how much it’ll cost to repaint and repair the rust and dings on the body. If I can swing it, I’m planning to have the RAV4 painted in Moroccan Blue Pearl, a Bentley shade. The bumper and cladding will also get a new look, likely in bronze to complement the blue.

Finally, in the near term, the interior’s getting a professional detailing.

After that, the real fun begins, leading up to a 3S-GTE swap. My RAV4 needs more power than it has now, especially if I plan to take it to all sorts of outings beyond my Old Dominion home. My goal is to build the RAV4 as a highway bomber and desert runner, so I can have all the fun I can with this amazing little crossover.

And I hope to hold onto this ride for as long as we both shall live.

In closing

I’ve waited a long time for this moment to come.

Oh what a feeling to finally see this in my driveway every day.

Photos: Aubernon Highway/Cameron Aubernon

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