Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Cressida
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 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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