It’s not just your Uncle Bob’s Corvette that gains value from some obscure, one-of-however-many factory option—vehicles only just starting to qualify as classic cars, like first-gen Toyota RAV4s, benefit too. Like almost any idiosyncratic vehicle built in the 1990s, this early crossover is starting to collect a following, one that might go ape when it finds out a West Coast RAV4 collector is liquidating their stash of prime-condition crossovers.
Posted to Craigslist from outside Portland, Oregon is an ad for a trio of “the rarest RAV4s on earth!” One of the listed Toyotas is anything but, though seeing as it’s a low-spec example, the other two stand out for some unusual roof options.
The first, a 1998 two-door, features a factory convertible top that allegedly went over with customers about as well as the Scion xB pickup: Poorly. Like said Scion, the soft-top Rav4 is said to have lasted just two years before discontinuation, and the same is said for its Imperial Jade Mica paint, another supposed two-year special. Though there’s nothing mechanically special about front-wheel drive, an automatic transmission and over 170,000 miles on the clock, the asking price is a whopping $6,500, and believe it or not, it’s not even the most expensive RAV4 in their listing. That honor goes to the red example, which they describe as the “pinnacle of collectibles.”
Like the green RAV4, this one is a factory two-door, though instead of a convertible top, it has an option stranger still: Twin removable sunroof panels. Though apparently not all that rare in some markets, the option clearly wasn’t a top seller here in the United States or else Toyota would’ve kept it for subsequent generations of RAV4. This vehicle also happens to be the seller’s only all-wheel-drive model, one with a locking center differential and a five-speed manual transmission—one geared so short that its usability on American Interstates is questionable.
At $10,000, it’s not cheap, especially when you consider the 200,000 miles on its odometer. Still, it’s got extensive service records and likely has plenty of life left in it. Let’s just hope those flames are easy to remove…
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