Flow Toyota

North Carolina Dealership Refurbishes Customer’s 1994 Camry
by Kristen Orsborn
May/June 2018
Flow Toyota
Ready to Roll
Lionel Withers drives his refurbished 1994 Camry off the lot.
A lot has changed since 1994. Back then, a dozen eggs cost about 86 cents. A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline set you back just over a buck. Bill Clinton was president of the United States. And Lionel Withers had just bought a brand new 1994 Camry. 

While the cost of eggs and gas has changed – and so has the president – Withers is still driving that Camry more than 20 years later. He affectionately calls it “Bessie.” But with 500,000 miles on the odometer, Bessie needed a little work.


A Part of the Family
The Withers family poses with their beloved 1994 Camry. 

Withers recently brought the car to Flow Toyota of Statesville for a tune-up, like he has for decades. That’s when the dealership’s dedicated team members decided to do something special.

The team completely refurbished the Camry – replacing almost everything but the vehicle’s shell. Flow Toyota collaborated with local partners to make Bessie like new again.

“We are honored to help Mr. Withers, who has been a loyal Flow Toyota customer since the very beginning, visiting us regularly for all of his prescribed service and maintenance needs,” says Todd Harkins, the dealership’s general manager. “Our team really enjoyed refurbishing his vehicle. Working with our suppliers and friends throughout the region to do something like this was a fun challenge, and we hope that Mr. Withers will be able to drive his ‘new’ ride for another 500,000 miles.”

The Flow Toyota team discovered there was a lot of interest in the project on social media, too. The dealership documented the Camry’s transformation on Facebook Live throughout different phases of the redesign process. The dealership loaned Withers a Sienna XLE to use in the meantime.

“I don’t have the adjective to describe it,” Withers told the Statesville Record & Landmark. “I bought the car in ’94 brand spanking new, right here. I’m just so excited and tickled. It’s a great blessing.”
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