By on June 10, 2015

40 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida.
27 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled Volkswagens. Sometimes you’ll see old Detroit cars in California with rusted-out trunk floors (from rainwater leaking in during the winter) or rust beneath vinyl tops, but that’s about as bad as it gets… unless you live within a few blocks of the ocean. In that situation, you get salt spray kicked up by big waves, plus the constant damp and fog that neighborhoods right on the ocean get. The damage tends to start on top and work its way down. Eventually, a good-running Toyota becomes more of a rusty cheese grater and must be scrapped.

15 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This Cressida has San Francisco N Zone residential parking permits stretching from 1994 through a couple months ago. The Richmond District gets plenty of salt and chilly fog, being one of those SF neighborhoods with summer high temperatures in the 40s.

01 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner of this car experimented with several types of rust-covering fillers. This appears to be Sculpey and Rustoleum.

29 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I got so obsessed with documenting the rust “repairs” that I neglected to shoot the interior of this car. The icky Children’s Interactive Expo T-shirt as a seat cover is the only interior shot I took.

21 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The 5M engine might still be a runner. Only one way to find out!

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40 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Cressida Wagon, Salty Pacific Ocean Spray Edition...”


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    There are people around here who go to the local community college and they are required to put parking pass decals on their cars. Why some people choose to show a retrospective of their parking career sprawling across their rear bumper or window like badges of honor is beyond me. It’s one thing to be too indifferent to remove the old sticker, but what is stopping you from putting the new one on top of the old one? Are you that proud to have gone to NOVA community college for 5 years? No disrespect, kudos for sticking it out and getting an education, I’m just actually curious.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      “Hey, a lotta guys take seven years to finish college.”

      “Yeah. They’re called doctors.”

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Around here, it’s popular to cover license plates with yearly renewal stickers *despite* explicit instructions to display the sticker in a single location applying this year’s sticker on top of last year’s. Some people are bozos, wuddayagunnado?

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I think it’s that they think they’ll tear the sticker and make a mess trying to peel it off, so they don’t even bother trying. That or they don’t understand that stickers work both ways (you can stick them on AND you can peel them off!! Science!!).

        @cwallace- nice reference! :)

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        I’m one of the people too lazy to pull them off. On one of our cars, I still run the same plates that were on my first car 26 years ago. The sticker stack is starting to look like a Jenga tower. After a certain amount of stickers, it kinda becomes a novelty that encourages you to keep going.

      • 0 avatar

        Here in Oregon, people don’t seem to grasp that the sticker on the left is for the month and the one on the right is for the year. The month sticker even has it spelled out next to the giant number in the middle. I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve seen lately with plates that expire in 15-13 (two year registration here). I thought the problem was people confusing new year stickers for month stickers and it would solve itself once we passed 2012. Oh how wrong I was….

        I even once saw a guy who took both pairs of stickers (for front and rear plates) and stuck both pairs to the rear plate, the second set above the bottom where it clearly says ‘MONTH STICKER’ and ‘YEAR STICKER’ when the plates are new.

    • 0 avatar

      In San Francisco, the city requires that you get a (costly) parking permit to park on the street in a lot of neighborhoods. Because old-timers (i.e., those who have lived in SF for more than a couple of years) feel superior to those lamer n00bs who just moved in, a lot of people make sure you can see every single one of their past parking permits, as a way of showing that they belong and those fucking newcomers don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        I figured it was a badge of honor (or 20) for some, possibly crazy, folks.

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        Incidentally, Richmond District doesn’t require any permits at all. I live there. And you’re absolutely right about air cooled VWs. My Bug is bubbling up everywhere. Even places that I fixed and sprayed down with anti-rust stuff.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I’ll take San Francisco ocean-air rust over Eastern Canada road-salt rust any day.

    Up here there is no such thing as a 32-year-old Toyota, or a rusty roof for that matter. We retire our cars in half that amount of time due to rotted-out subframes, rockers, fenders, strut towers, fuel lines, etc. Meanwhile the upper 90% of the body still looks great… we probably have the best-looking junkyards around.

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      Are you from cny too?

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I can attest to that. As part of the transition from hexavalent (good for 1,000 hours ASTM salt spray) to trivalent chrome anti-corrosion finishing, we sent some body hardware samples to Halifax for fleet testing. After just one winter, they were totally flashed to red rust (hematite), in a few spots to black rust (wustite) and some samples were totally inoperable.

      To get back to the 1,000 hour corrosion resistance, we had to apply e-coat over the trivalent chrome. As an aside, we had an endless parade of vendors trying to sell us the latest miracle anti-corrosion finish, none of them worked, ever. Some corroded to the point of perforation, and these were often 3mm (1/8″) thick. I got no satisfaction from handing the samples back and watching the sales rep’s face drop in disbelief.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      I’m from Ontario, but the Maritimes (ie: Halifax) are probably the toughest area of all for rust. They get all the road salt plus milder winters plus ocean air.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I remember the sea-air salt attacking the trim around the windows on my fresh new ’75 Scirroco after only two days of parking on the pier at NAS North Island. Spotted it up pretty fast. I started parking somewhat further away behind some warehouses after that revelation.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Listening to Buffett channel on XM and suddenly it’s my lost shaker of salt, salt, salt!

    Great coincidence for reading this one.

    30+ years of good service…that’s true value in my book.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Toyota Cressida with Sea Salt.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Today’s Rare Ebay Find, slightly newer than this, and in much better condition.

    A very limited production 1989 Dakota Shelby! Signed by Carrol steering wheel!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/381287775430?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Item location:
      Woodhaven, New York, United States”

      Curious there are no shots of the undercarriage…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yeah, you thinking it’s a different kind of salty under there? Lol.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m starting to think Ebay is a great automotive dumping ground for things not worth buying.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Ebay is a great way to reach buyers who think those types of cars are worth buying. Selling rare, weird or undesirable stuff locally can be a real crap shoot, but there’s always some nutcase on the internet who will want it. That’s how I sold a manual transmission Dodge Shadow convertible for actual money.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That thing is extra rare, and will be worth something someday as an oddity, even if it needs rust repair!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Whats the adage, a fool and his money are soon parted?

          • 0 avatar

            @danio – that’s how I ended up buying a LaForza.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            eBay has worked well for me in the past. When my Isuzu Trooper’s manual transmission started failing, I listed it and it was purchased by a guy who already had the exact same truck, but was so rusted that he was afraid to drive it any longer (mine was 100% rust-free and in good shape excluding the trans issue). eBay allowed me to find the one guy in the country that needed/wanted what I had and was willing to pay me a fair price for it. I listed it on craigslist for over a month with very little interest, aside from people trying to trade me a beater Cutlass Ciera or some other pile of rolling scrap metal.

            BTW, I considered fixing the Trooper because I really liked it, but even getting the transmission out was going to be a huge problem, as the cross member under it was welded in place instead of bolted. Since I dont have a shop, much less a vehicle lift, I decided to sell it and move on after some quick fixes didnt work (changing the oil, yes motor oil was required in the transmission, and adjusting the clutch cable, neither of which helped in the slightest).

            Also, evidently my Trooper had a one-year-only version of the trans (with a one-year-only engine), so finding a used unit wouldve been like trying to find an Acura Integra owned by someone under 30 without being “slammed” with a fart can muffler.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Being a fan of RWD early imports, as well as Inline 6 engines, youd think Id like the Cressida. I dont. Ive always found it hidiously ugly. Give me an early Datsun 810 anyday.

    Ocean spray can be a bitch. I mistakenly stored my 92 Tempo LX V-6 on Camano Island (Washington state) on a friend’s property (quite close to the beach). I came back to find lots of rust, usually in places where the water settled. I hate that I had to get rid of that car, I loved it. It was unique and had always been exceptionally reliable for me.

    The only reason Im not even more upset by it is that I managed to find my current 1995 Taurus shortly thereafter, it having my favorite engine, the best possible transaxle, being the last year of my favorite bodystyle, and having some decent options including buckets-and-console (floor shift) helps a lot. Its not nearly as fast as the Tempo was, but it makes up for it by having overdrive, a roomier interior (that is not porno red!), being more stable in heavy rain, and having no motorized passive seat belts.

  • avatar

    My SIL had an A2 Jetta, which lived near the ocean (Cape Cod). It was clean but for tha aluminium under hood in an anodized freak out. Car ran well till she traded it, so while under hood looked like crap, it didn’t bother the car.

    Here in NY, our guys salt before it snows, during, and after. I rinse the cars off whenever it gets over 35 degrees, not sure if it helps or hurts, but at some point this winter my black car was white.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Rinsing a salt-encrusted car could do more harm than good, by wetting everything without removing it. You need to power-wash it, particularly inside the wheel wells and undercarriage where most of the damage occurs.

      Annual oil sprays are probably the most effective (if messy) way to delay rust. Or you could just buy a Volvo, BMW or Audi, which seem naturally resistant.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    My parents were over last night, and my dad was bragging about the 10 years worth of Hamilton County Park stickers on the windshield of his little SUV…triangular stickers lined up along the driver’s side edge of the windshield…some people also make circles of the stickers, since they are shaped like pie-shaped wedges. Thrifty Cincinnati West-Side Germans like to show off how old their cars are…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      LOL!

      I almost mentioned the park triangle-circle stickers on here the other day, but I figured nobody would care or know what I was talking about! I think I prefer them in a circle rather than lined up, it looks like a little multicolored pie.

      And now, I know exactly what your father sounds like, accent-wise, just from that bit of information.

      He would say the word plaza, as “plaeh-zeh.”

      “I went with Kaeethey to the plaeh-zeh, but they didn’t haev what we wanted.”

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Yup, that pretty much covers it…they are old school enough to say “please” instead of “excuse me” and some other Cincinnati colloquialisms. At least they don’t pronounce “cash” as “caish” like my grandparents did…or call the couch the davenport, or have dinner at noon, and supper at 6. Lots of West Siders, and Northern Kentuckians also seem to end every sentence with “and that”. I have no clue what it even means, but I have noticed lots of older folks saying that. Funny how quickly language changes. I blame national media exposure for the destruction of local accents…everyone sounds like TV anchors now. If I could get my kids to stop using the word LIKE multiple times in each sentence, I would be tickled.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I kinda think it’s just getting further away from the “original” generations of that part of town, with their undoubtedly terrible mixed English, since they were just off the boat! I have been around long enough to notice whether people are native Cincinnatians by how they speak now.

      I’ll have to listen for “and that.” I haven’t noticed that before. I notice “and them” at the end of sentences when referring to even just one or two specific people.

      Other things:
      “Ideal” for idea.
      “Show” used for TV shows and/or movies. It’s all just “show.”

      I’m from the Indiana side, so I don’t have any of this, and I’m very careful not to pick it up. People never can tell where I’m from, and I wanna keep it that way.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        The “and that” comes out more like “an at”…used to know a guy, now deceased, who ended every sentence with “and everything else on that”. Now if I can get out of town visitors to eat goetta for breakfast, and Skyline or Gold Star chili for lunch, and a Frisch’s Big Boy for dinner, we’re all set.


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