Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Cressida

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

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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  • ARSAUTO ARSAUTO on Jul 15, 2013

    got an 84 Cressida for sale here. Not sure what to ask for it?? It runs and drives, but needs work. Any help?

  • Guy922 Guy922 on Mar 18, 2021

    Looking at the interior pics of this car, I can see many similarities in a lot of the textures of the leathers and vinyls they used and how similar it is in a way to the 2004 Avalon I drive now. The more things change the more they stay the same I guess.

  • The Oracle This thing got porky quick.
  • Kwi65728132 I'll grant that it's nicely kept but I'm not a fan of the bangle butt designs, and I know better than to buy a used BMW while living anywhere in the world other than in the fatherland where these are as common as any Honda or Toyota is anywhere else.
  • ChristianWimmer When these came out I thought they were hideous: now they’ve grown on me. This one looks pretty nice. Well-maintained, low mileage and some good-looking wheels that aren’t super fancy but not cheap-looking or boring either, they are just right.
  • Aja8888 Someday in the far away future, all cars will look the same, people will be the same color, dogs will be all mixed beyond recognition, and governments will own everything. That car looks like my son's Hyundai Tucson without badges.
  • Tassos Of course, what the hell did you expect? A SERIOUS, BEAUTIFUL car you can ACTUALLY USE AS YOUR DAILY DRIVER???............. NOOOOO, THIS IS TIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO HE FINDS SOME OBSOLETE POS WHICH IS 22 years old, .............AND HE PURPOSELY MISSES THE BEAUTIFUL MODEL, THE Classical Beauty E39 that ended in 2003. ...........So he uses his column as a WASTEBASKET once again, to throw the first year of BMWs BANGLED 5 series (as in the INFAMOUS CHRIS BANGLE WHO SCREWED UP THE DESIGN ROYALLY). ................................................ As Dr. Evil, Fake Doctor Jill Biden would scream at the top of her voice, so her senile idiot husband could hear her, "Good Job, (Tim)! You answered all the questions and ticked all the boxes!" ..... KEEP UP THE S---Y work, Tim!