The Yodamobile is the proudest Star Wars-related possession of DCSWCC President and Director, Martin. Thus far, the longest-living and most famous incarnation has been a 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid model in factory color Jasper Mica, sporting Virginia license plate TOY YODA and adorned with Yoda stickers and collectibles of all shapes and sizes in the front, back, and side windows. However, the car has evolved much over the years, and for as evident as its punny license plate is, the car’s final form was all but predictable.
History of the Yodamobile
Martin’s first Star Wars car was a 1989 silver Camry. At first, the only thing special about it was the license plate, which cycled over several Star Wars phrases and puns before finally settling on the archetypal Yoda declaration “TRY NOT”. Over time, he began adding Star Wars collectibles in the back window, most notably a vintage Kenner Yoda hand puppet, a custom “Star Wars collector” ball cap, and a window decal reading “Dagobah Jedi Academy” made by a friend who worked at the Huffy bicycle factory. Almost as a premonition of its future fame, this car was seen briefly on a Fox 5 (DC) local news story about Star Wars collectibles on January 11, 1997.
In the summer of 2000, it was time for a new car, and Martin opted for another used Camry. He found a sleek, lightly-used 1997 model in the factory color Frosted Iris Metallic (light blue). While the now-world-famous license plate “TOY YODA” is an obvious play on the car’s make and the objects in the back window, it is actually a 3-way pun: when it comes to Star Wars toys, Martin is as knowledgeable as Yoda — he is “the toy Yoda”! After years of monitoring the Virginia DMV website, at some point in the mid-2000s the plate became available, and Martin seized the opportunity. He continued filling the windows and bumper with collectibles, carefully curating a themed display of Yoda products, until the dashboard was fit to bursting. In 2009, he painted the car Gecko Green, a standard color used by Volkswagen on their 2005-2011 Beetles, completing the final step of its transformation into the well-loved and oft-photographed Yodamobile.
But the ’97 Camry did not last forever. It was pure luck that a green Camry popped up in northern Virginia just as he started his search for a replacement in early 2012. Martin purchased the iconic 2009 Camry Hybrid in February of that year, and the rest is history.
The car has been a curiosity and conversation starter in the northern Virginia area (Washington DC suburbs) for many years. Exhibit A, these Internet posts over the years:
If you’ve seen other images of the Yodamobile floating around out there on the Internet that are not included here, or if your family or friend ever sent you a “hey look at this car” text, please let us know!