The Truth About Cars » Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 09 Aug 2014 15:56:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find, Crabspirits Editions: Toyota Cressidas, Transformed By Michael Bay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-crabspirits-editions-toyota-cressidas-transformed-by-michael-bay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-crabspirits-editions-toyota-cressidas-transformed-by-michael-bay/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 11:55:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=782369 To preface, this intrusion into the thunder dome that is Murilee’s arena isn’t going to be a regular occurrence. If you’ve ever seen him once-over a suspect entrant at a Lemons race, you know he is master of his domain. I’m not just any geek off the street myself though when it comes to the […]

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To preface, this intrusion into the thunder dome that is Murilee’s arena isn’t going to be a regular occurrence. If you’ve ever seen him once-over a suspect entrant at a Lemons race, you know he is master of his domain. I’m not just any geek off the street myself though when it comes to the junkyard. I’ve seen my share of rare iron, intriguing clues of the final ride, and ill-advised repairs that command attention. However, there are special times when I walk through these hallowed grounds and see something that makes me come to a halt as quickly as an Iron Duke stripping it‘s plastic timing gear. This was such an occasion.

I drive own a Toyota Cressida. With architecture pulled from the Supra, an MX83 Cressida makes a brilliant enthusiast car,  after you ruin it  swap out the failure prone engine, the automatic transmission, the bouncy seats, the too-tall final drive, all of the luxury damped suspension, and graft on a more stylish front end off a Japanese market cousin that is appreciated by 1.3% of the population. This makes it the car of choice for like-minded individuals who don’t take cars or motor sports very seriously.  Since a running Cressida is a feat in itself, you  come to realize a few things when you join this exclusive fraternity. Along with the endless search for a rust-free and straight example, one of those things is the keen eye you develop for spotting what is, to most people, an ubiquitous-looking Japanese Buick LeSabre. That is why these Hong Kong taxi cabs caused quite a stir when they were spotted by a fellow Cressida enthusiast last fall outside of Chicago. They must be for some sort of movie (we are becoming used to stuff like that around here). What movie would that be? More importantly, would they be available for purchase later?

The answers to those questions respectively would turn out to be,  the fourth installment of the Transformers films, and sadly, no.

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This one had evidence to suggest it took one of it’s final drives to an ATM in Moreno Valley, CA. Judging by their condition, I would surmise all of them were trucked in from the Los Angeles area. The prop department put in a nice effort loosely disguising  the cars as  the Toyota Crown Comfort sibling commonly found overseas.

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In addition to the chrome vinyl “grille extension”, and blacked out trim, the sunroofs have been painstakingly deleted.

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I can’t read what this says, but the oddly familiar skyline leads me to believe that it could be some sort of easter egg made by the prop department.

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The 7M series engine’s propensity for spitting out head gaskets is legendary. Allegedly, this was due to a last minute design change from an asbestos gasket, combined with a fumble in the head bolt torque spec for the new one.  This lead to a painful ownership experience for many initial owners of Cressidas and Supras. The 7M faithful will tell you that the remedy is simple, and that it’s an outstanding engine. They are probably right. I wouldn’t know for sure. Mine was totally wrecked, never ran, and was promptly replaced with a 425hp turbocharged Nissan VG30.

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Almost an LS400. Almost. I must say that I’ve seen more tortilla-chip-crisp Toyota leather interiors covered with the beater hallmark ratty T-shirt than in GM cars. Sorry, but they just do it better.

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This next car, marked “Reel”, was super clean.

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I imagine this example will be stripped to the bone by the Chicago horde, who are not used to the luxuries of corrosion-free sheet metal.

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At 273k miles, it’s head gasket was surely blessed at one point.

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This pales in comparison to our next car…

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…with only 54k miles. That puts it right there at the point of the dreaded BHG. Paramount probably got themselves a great deal on this, probably not running, example. I thought the little sticker indicating overspeed at a scorching 55mph was a nice touch. I imagine it was applied last minute on this ‘89 as a result of some sort of mandate.

This car was, at one point, an exact twin to mine.

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It has been thoroughly destroyed.

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The drive train was removed, and the bottom fitted with this steel blast plate, which is apparently very effective at coaxing a Cressida into the air.

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To say you have parts on your project off of a car that was destroyed by a Decepticon is sort of cool (to this Gen-X’er anyway), so I wanted something, anything of value off of this guy. I managed to wrench some A-pillar trim that I needed free of the mangled windshield, but that was pretty much it. I was especially depressed that the tail lights specific to the early models were not spared.

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It has those automatic mouse track seatbelts, pioneered by the Cressida, that you know and love. To be honest, this setup has never really bothered me. I even find it’s servo action, blaring klaxon, and emergency “ejection” handles sort of charming in a geeky way.

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This MX83 of the typical fender-rolled, “stanced-out” variety makes four, and the most I’ve seen in one place.

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The junkyard, certainly more than meets the eye. (Groan)

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-toyota-cressida-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-toyota-cressida-wagon/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770506 The Toyota Cressida is now at its moment of peak junkyard availability, with most examples finally getting to the point at which repairs just aren’t justified by the car’s value. The Cressida was an extremely well-built car by 1980s standards, and a pretty good car even through our jaded 21st-century eyes (which view vehicles that […]

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20 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Toyota Cressida is now at its moment of peak junkyard availability, with most examples finally getting to the point at which repairs just aren’t justified by the car’s value. The Cressida was an extremely well-built car by 1980s standards, and a pretty good car even through our jaded 21st-century eyes (which view vehicles that get scrapped before 200,000 miles as suspiciously crappy and/or abused). We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in the Junkyard Find Series so far, but today’s Cressida is the first wagon.
07 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one had 234,392 miles on the clock when it finally took that last tow-truck ride.
17 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI shot this in Northern California in January, and this temporary registration expired in August. That means the car was probably still legal when it got towed away for parking tickets and its fines not paid (most likely) or sold for scrap.
08 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo rust. None at all. Fans of old Japanese cars in rusty areas, you’d better come west and rescue some stuff like this.
12 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe same DOHC 5M-GE engine that Supras got. In fact, the whole car is full of Supra drivetrain and suspension hardware.
01 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWorth restoring or converting into a drift car? Not in California!

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Piston Slap: FREE Cressida, Sanjeev! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-free-cressida-sanjeev/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-free-cressida-sanjeev/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 12:36:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479850 Jonny writes: Hey sanjeev, i’m looking for some advice on what i should do here. The car: 1987 Toyota Cressida, 170,000kms (i live in vancouver, BC), usual mid-eighties toyota rust, other than needing brakes it seems to run great. i paid exactly $0.00 for the car. a friend’s parents moved away and just wanted to […]

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Jonny writes:

Hey sanjeev, i’m looking for some advice on what i should do here. The car: 1987 Toyota Cressida, 170,000kms (i live in vancouver, BC), usual mid-eighties toyota rust, other than needing brakes it seems to run great. i paid exactly $0.00 for the car.

a friend’s parents moved away and just wanted to get rid of it. so they gave it to me. thankfully, i work at a dealer service department so any minor repairs and maintenance will be fairly cheap. low miles, RWD, inline-6, loaded with sweet eighties luxury options…. it seems too awesome NOT to drive!
what should i do?
- sell it?
- keep it and drive it?
- send it to a denver self-service yard for Murilee to photograph at a later date?

any tips/experience you can share with a car like this would be greatly appreciated
thanks a lot.

Sanjeev answers:

Much like you not knowing my name, I (Sanjeev) know nothing about your personal situation.  Maybe you could use the extra $300-400 (US) in scrap value for something else in your life.

Nobody needs a free Cressida, per se.

That said, I am super jealous and you need to keep it. Cressidas are just that cool: I suggest you mortgage your future and do a 2JZ-swap.  Or even better, this:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Oh yes, LS1-FTW!  Sajeev hasn’t said that in a long time, so Sanjeev’s gotta take up the slack. You know what to do, so you better do it.

LS1-FTW: do it, to it.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-cressida/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469207 I always notice the Cressida when I see an example in a wrecking yard, and the last two years have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of Toyota’s pre-Lexus rear-drive luxury sedan going to The Crusher. I suppose that means that the balance between real-world value and cost to fix mechanical problems has finally […]

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I always notice the Cressida when I see an example in a wrecking yard, and the last two years have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of Toyota’s pre-Lexus rear-drive luxury sedan going to The Crusher. I suppose that means that the balance between real-world value and cost to fix mechanical problems has finally tilted against the Cressida. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’84, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in the Junkyard Find Series so far, and now we’re going to go all Malaise Era with today’s ’82.
I found this car, in subdued Ignore Me Red, languishing in a Northern California self-service yard back in September.
Only 123,760 miles on the clock, which implies either long-term storage or a driving-to-church-on-Sundays-only long-term owner.
Toyota really needs to bring back emblems like this one.
The 5M-E L6 engine for 1982 made a respectable-for-its-day 116 horsepower. Yes, golf carts have more than that nowadays. What of it?

By 1990, just about every car had some form of electronic fuel injection. In 1982, however, EFI was still fairly exotic.
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Junkyard Find: 1987 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1987-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1987-toyota-cressida/#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2012 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=459261 How long does the typical Toyota Cressida last? Based on my recent surge in wrecking-yard Cressida sightings (this ’92, this ’84, this ’89, and this ’80) after decades of the Cressida being a once-every-six-months junkyard catch, I’m going to say that your typical Cressida lasts about 25 years, give or take a half-decade. Part of […]

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How long does the typical Toyota Cressida last? Based on my recent surge in wrecking-yard Cressida sightings (this ’92, this ’84, this ’89, and this ’80) after decades of the Cressida being a once-every-six-months junkyard catch, I’m going to say that your typical Cressida lasts about 25 years, give or take a half-decade. Part of this longevity is due to the fact that few Cressidas are driven by leadfooted hoons (and those few have all had manual-trans swaps done by drifter types) and part is due to Toyota’s frighteningly good engineering and build quality during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Here’s a California Cressida that just made it to the quarter-century mark before its last owner gave up on it.
These cars weren’t exactly exciting to drive— for that, your best Toyota choice in 1987 was the manic little Corolla GT-S FX16— but they were very competent.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the labeling on controls of 1980s Toyotas; it’s clear that engineers and not focus groups made the call on, say, the font for this MIRROR HEATER button.
For how many years did Toyota go with the overdrive-button-on-shifter-handle/ECT-button-on-console setup? Many.

Is it pronounced “CRESS-ida” or, as in this Australian-market ad, “Cress-EE-da?”

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1992-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1992-toyota-cressida/#comments Sun, 02 Sep 2012 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458610 Everyone knows about the Cressidas of the 1980s, but we often forget that Toyota sold Cressidas in North America through the 1992 model year. That means that the Lexus LS400 and Toyota Cressida were available at the same time for three model years, giving Toyota shoppers the choice of two different rear-drive luxury sedans. I […]

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Everyone knows about the Cressidas of the 1980s, but we often forget that Toyota sold Cressidas in North America through the 1992 model year. That means that the Lexus LS400 and Toyota Cressida were available at the same time for three model years, giving Toyota shoppers the choice of two different rear-drive luxury sedans. I can’t recall ever seeing a ’92 Cressida prior to this one, so here’s a super-rare Junkyard Find from Denver.
I was at the junkyard on this trip to pull the digital cluster out of the ’84 Cressida, which meant I didn’t have a proper camera on me. The affirmations painted on this car’s steering wheel, however, show up just fine on a cellphone camera’s image.
The V8 in the LS was quieter and more powerful than the L6 in the Cressida, but the 7M was still a reasonably luxurious engine.
83,000 miles? How is that even possible for an early-90s Toyota?
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Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-cressida/#comments Fri, 31 Aug 2012 12:50:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458374 We’ve seen a totally Malaise-y early Cressida and a didn’t-know-they-built-them-so-recently Cressida in this series, but I’ve been scouring the self-serve yards for an example of the mid-80s rear-drive Toyota luxury sedans. Finally, here’s an ’84, complete with all manner of high-tech (for the time) features. It’s very angular, in the manner of just about all […]

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We’ve seen a totally Malaise-y early Cressida and a didn’t-know-they-built-them-so-recently Cressida in this series, but I’ve been scouring the self-serve yards for an example of the mid-80s rear-drive Toyota luxury sedans. Finally, here’s an ’84, complete with all manner of high-tech (for the time) features.
It’s very angular, in the manner of just about all Toyotas of the era, and looks so Japanese that you’d never mistake it for, say, a Cadillac or BMW.
The 156-horse 5M-GE DOHC six was the same engine that the Supra got. In fact, the Cressida and Supra of this era were very similar under the skin. 156 horsepower sounds weak now, but this was a pretty good number for 1984.
Toyota wasn’t about to let Mitsubishi and Nissan steal the future with the 300ZX’s and Cordia’s digital instrument clusters, and so the Cressida came up with this Toyota-fied (i.e., more conservative) “Electronic Display” for the Cressida.
Check out this flip-top “Trip Computer” in the center console!
And the analog climate-control system, which no doubt controls a complex system of vacuum-operated flapper valves.
I had forgotten the type of car that donated the power-antenna switch for the Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox, but now the mystery is solved!
The Lexus LS, which showed up a half-dozen years after this car (and overlapped with the later Cressida for its first couple of years), made the ’84 Cressida seem fairly crude. But still, this was a classy ride for the first year after the Malaise Era.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1989-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1989-toyota-cressida/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2011 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416129 You rarely see first-gen Cressidas, such as the junked ’80 I found last week these days; it seems that the third-gen (84-88) models make up the bulk of survivor Cressidas in North America. Fourth-gen examples— like this one I spotted in a Los Angeles self-service yard— are about as common as Crowns. Toyota’s reputation for […]

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You rarely see first-gen Cressidas, such as the junked ’80 I found last week these days; it seems that the third-gen (84-88) models make up the bulk of survivor Cressidas in North America. Fourth-gen examples— like this one I spotted in a Los Angeles self-service yard— are about as common as Crowns.
Toyota’s reputation for reliability wasn’t all that strong when the first-gen Cressidas hit the highway (we often forget that Malaise Era Toyotas were actually quite flaky by modern standards, though they held together somewhat better than most of the Detroit and European competition back then), but that had all changed by the time today’s Junkyard Find rolled out of the showroom. Why, then, did Cressida sales fall apart by the early 90s? Blame Lexus!
Potent and smooth as the 7M-GE was, this car was really a Supra under the skin and luxury-car shoppers— who had come to associate the Toyota name with downscale Corollas and Celicas— knew it. Meanwhile, the second-gen Camry was cheaper, roomier, and less thirsty. Sandwiched in the ever-narrowing space between the LS400 and Camry, the Cressida was gone by the 1992 model year.
Leather! Luxury! I’m going to keep my eyes open for these things on the street.
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Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1980-toyota-cressida/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1980-toyota-cressida/#comments Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:30:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=415972 The Cressida was never a big seller in North America, and the second- and third-generation versions make up most of the examples you’ll see these days. First-gen ones like this ’80 I spotted in an Oakland self-service yard on Monday are just about nonexistent… and the number of survivors is about to be reduced by […]

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The Cressida was never a big seller in North America, and the second- and third-generation versions make up most of the examples you’ll see these days. First-gen ones like this ’80 I spotted in an Oakland self-service yard on Monday are just about nonexistent… and the number of survivors is about to be reduced by one.
Rear-wheel-drive, big 4M engine, and fuel injection made the early Cressida a good driver, but the styling was inscrutably Japanese and Detroit sold bigger cars for much less.
This one is pretty well trashed. The 5-digit odometer shows 54,000 miles, but I’ll bet it’s been turned over at least twice.
I just love the non-focus-grouped look of the controls in pre-1990 Japanese cars. Some engineer probably designed this one during his lunch break.
I had no choice but to buy this Jeco digital clock for my collection of car clocks (now up to 40+ units). I haven’t tested it yet, but it should work.
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