By on September 7, 2012

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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25 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1987 Toyota Cressida...”

  • avatar

    SLPDTOW on the back.. Maybe it was towed and the owner abandoned it?

  • avatar

    At 143K on the clock, probably wasn’t kept up mechanically with its last owner, and something major blew.

    The car itself doesn’t look too bad condition wise otherwise for a 20 or so YO car.

    • 0 avatar

      Guessing the car blew up on the freeway, and the owner abandoned it there. San Lorenzo PD had it towed away; when no-one claimed it, the towing company sold it for scrap.

  • avatar

    You’re going to see more of these X7 cressidas still alive these days with the 5MGE than the newer X8’s with the nervous 7MGE. These were far more reliable. My guess is that this example was impounded and it’s owner didn’t care enough to get it back.

  • avatar

    I remember riding around in 1980’s Toyota’s with the overdrive button on the shifter thinking that was so cool. Buttons are cool to a kid. My imagination had me thinking it was something really cool. Growing up to realize they didn’t do $hit was such a letdown.

  • avatar

    The rules for naming stuff in aus seems to be drop the syllables to one and add a vowel, normally an o. Service station = servo etc. Cressidas or cressies are still common in the continent rust forgot. My old neighbour has 2.

  • avatar

    Looks like somebody has a Cressida fetish. That’s cool though, they were nice cars.

  • avatar

    80s to early 90s Toyotas were like Japanese Legos.

    Like, you could probably swap 80% of this car into a same-age pickup without having to fabricate any adapters. All with 12, 14 and 17mm wrenches.

  • avatar

    Tanner Tagalong, the Cressida owner:

    “I brought and paid $900 this car expecting it to be reliable ‘cus its a Toyota! But nope! Every week that turn had to go into the mechanics place! Wheel bearing this and broken that! Gas mileage stank too!

    Well, with no AC and a broken transmission I’ve had enough! I threw that sum%%%% in the scrapyard for good! Heck if I could sell this thing, my highest offer was 300 bucks!”

    Not the original owner, but perhaps what the ownership experience was like.

  • avatar

    My now deceased elderly next-door neighbour had one of these when I was little, his wife had an Avalon and he refused to drive anything but his Cressida. Usually when he drove said Cressida it ended up going through our mailbox or roadside drainage ditch. His oldest son got it and gave it to his oldest son. I wish I could have gotten that car.

  • avatar

    A friend had a Cressida of about this vintage. He had inherited it from his father and loved the car. He asked me one day if I knew why the dash warning lights would be on. He said he had been driving it four or five days and the lights just stayed on after he started the car and it steered really hard. I told him I’d be glad to look at it. When he popped the hood I looked in and saw the harmonic balancer laying down under the bottom of the radiator with the belts all atangle. The crankshaft had broken off. I turned to him and said, “How emotionally attached are you to this car?” He asked why i was asking. When I showed him the situation he said, “Do you think I can drive it for another couple weeks?” I allowed as how I doubted it.

  • avatar

    I sure could get some parts from this engine for my own.

  • avatar

    I have a 1990 and I feel like I need to treat the 7MGE as though it’s made of glass. But, such a lovely car to drive at a slightly brisk pace. There’s just enough torque to keep up with traffic, the greenhouse is huge in comparison to today’s tanks and it weighs less than most modern compacts.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    If I remember correctly, and in this case I do, the Corolla GT-S was available in 1987, its last year before going FWD. Had a 1985 myself, exactly like the one in the CC. Plenty of fun to be had there. Oddly enough, I traded that in on a 1987 FX16 GT-S, though with an automatic (yes, with the pushbutton O/D). It was a slug until it hit 4800, then it even became fun. Awesome cars from Toyota during those years.

  • avatar

    Never have seen one with a small-block Chevy engines implanted within.

  • avatar

    Never have seen one with a small-block Chevy engine implanted within.

  • avatar

    It’s pronounced “CRESS-ida” in the US, and “CRESSeeda” in AUS. Canada I’ve heard it go both ways. I pronounce it the US way.

  • avatar

    I’ve an 87 Cressida with 80k miles with leather and in awesome condition. I’ve had it for years – it’s extremely reliable, the driver’s seat is great therapy for an ailing back, the wonderful scent of quality leather greets me when I open the door, the performance is even adequate today and it is a great long distance ride. While it does not garnish compliments such as my MKII Supra or RA29 Celica, people often ask me about the year of the car. Sure, the tufted leather seats with buttons reminds me of a grandmother’s sofa or car but I love her just the same. I can’t imagine ever parting with this car for which only superlatives come to mind.

  • avatar

    The reason you don’t see many of these in the junkyards is because few were sold. These were outrageously priced when new. Combine that with blue hairs buying them and being driven 2k miles per year and you have a reason for their “durability” – they weren’t really treated like a regular car.

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