Junkyard Find: 1989 Toyota Cressida
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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