Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Cressida

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.








Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Ion Ion on Oct 29, 2011

    I want a clock like that. Is it 2 1/16"? I'm also curious as to what other vehicles you have clocks from, it would make an interesting article.

    • Murilee Martin Murilee Martin on Oct 30, 2011

      There will be an article in the future, based on the giant car-clock project I've had in the works for a few years. Mostly I have analog clocks, but I really like the early digital ones like this Cressida's.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Oct 29, 2011

    These 4M 6bangers were quite nice in the 1st gen Supra which was more of a luxury/sport coupe compared to later generations.

  • Ronin Let's see the actuals first, then we can decide using science.What has been the effect of auto pollution levels since the 70s when pollution control devices were first introduced? Since the 80s when they were increased?How much has auto pollution specifically been reduced since the introduction of hybrid vehicles? Of e-vehicles?We should well be able to measure the benefits by now, by category of engine. We shouldn't have to continue to just guess the benefits. And if we can't specifically and in detail measure the benefits by now, it should make a rational person wonder if there really are any real world benefits.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Simply put, I like it.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Ah GM, never stop being you. GM is working hard to make FIAT look good.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Top Gear of the 2000's was a fresh concept and very well done. Sadly to say there isn't a TV show concept that doesn't eventually exhaust fresh ideas and, as a result, begins to rehash and wear out once were fresh ideas. The show eventually becomes a pale imitation of itself, then begins to embarrass itself, it will get to a point where it jumps the shark. Top Gear began to get stale, the Clarkson, Hammond and May left and the formula failed - surprise! the presenters were part of the magic. Fast forward many years and Grand Tower is trying hard to be Top Gear but it's all very obviously scripted (it always was by felt spontaneous in its original form), Clarkson, Hammond and May are much older, tired and have become caricatures of themselves. Guys, just stop. You should have stopped 10 years ago. Now you're just screwing with your reputations and legacies.
  • FreedMike Kudos to Toyota for making a legitimately slick looking piece (particularly in metallic cherry red). But PHEVs seem like a very narrow niche to me. Yes, the concept is cool - if you play your cards right you never have to fill up with gas, and the gas engine means you don't have to worry about charging facilities - but the operative words are "if you play your cards right." And PHEVs have all the drawbacks of EVs - spotty charging availability, decreased range in cold conditions, and higher price. Personally, I'd opt for a non plug-in Prius and use the plug-in money to upgrade the trim level. It's slower, but even the base Prius performs roughly on par with a Corolla or Civic, so it's not a dog anymore. But who buys a Prius to go fast in the first place? If I wanted to "go gas free," I'd just buy a BEV. YMMV, of course.
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