By on March 6, 2013

Jonny writes:

Hey sanjeev, i’m looking for some advice on what i should do here. The car: 1987 Toyota Cressida, 170,000kms (i live in vancouver, BC), usual mid-eighties toyota rust, other than needing brakes it seems to run great. i paid exactly $0.00 for the car.

a friend’s parents moved away and just wanted to get rid of it. so they gave it to me. thankfully, i work at a dealer service department so any minor repairs and maintenance will be fairly cheap. low miles, RWD, inline-6, loaded with sweet eighties luxury options…. it seems too awesome NOT to drive!
what should i do?
– sell it?
– keep it and drive it?
– send it to a denver self-service yard for Murilee to photograph at a later date?

any tips/experience you can share with a car like this would be greatly appreciated
thanks a lot.

Sanjeev answers:

Much like you not knowing my name, I (Sanjeev) know nothing about your personal situation.  Maybe you could use the extra $300-400 (US) in scrap value for something else in your life.

Nobody needs a free Cressida, per se.

That said, I am super jealous and you need to keep it. Cressidas are just that cool: I suggest you mortgage your future and do a 2JZ-swap.  Or even better, this:

Oh yes, LS1-FTW!  Sajeev hasn’t said that in a long time, so Sanjeev’s gotta take up the slack. You know what to do, so you better do it.

LS1-FTW: do it, to it.


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31 Comments on “Piston Slap: FREE Cressida, Sanjeev!...”

  • avatar

    The second column says 2M’13 as in two months 2013 ….

    Baojun had 8,017 in February 2012, but none in January, launch in Feb

  • avatar

    I hate it when people don’t capitalize names.

    Signed, skink.

  • avatar

    How did he make it sound like a little four banger with a fart can???
    (At 1:57).. Or was that another car passing by? Nice set up though.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah that was somebody else. Two comments on the LS Cressida. Why a sucker single exhaust? And if I spent that kind of coin, I’d paint the damn thing. The Rat Rod look on the roof is unappealing.

  • avatar

    That’s how I got my last Toyota too! Needed brake lines, so it made it to the danio donation bin. $30 in lines and fittings and I was on my way to 30+mpg in rolling woman repellant. Interestingly I sold it to a 17 year old girl. She had her priorities in order.

    Anyway, seems like a great way to get some cheap kilometers out of a car. If all it takes is brake lines to get it on the road, that’s about the lowest price of entry you can get. Drive that beast.

    Also, LS1FTMFW!!1!!

  • avatar

    Wow, if you have to ask the question, please sell the car to someone who appreciates it.

    I’ve owned a run down ’88 Cressida for about 4 years. It’s had a very hard life before I bought it. Sold it last year for parts. I really regret that decision and wish I would’ve kept it for one more season. Such an awesome car…

  • avatar

    Keep it and have fun. This is the car that convinced Toyota that a crazy idea like Lexus just might work.

  • avatar

    Best Case Scenario,
    Keep it, run it into the ground, don’t invest any more than $2500 (TOTAL, ever!). Then trade it in during a “Push it in” sales event and get $2K towards a new car.

    Worst Case Scenario,
    Keep it, run it into the ground, don’t invest any more than $2500 (TOTAL, ever!). Then do the swap. All else fails, tade it in during a “Push it in” sales event and get $2K towards a new car.

  • avatar

    Hey SAJEEV, I’m very sorry about the name thing. People spell my name “Johnny” all the time. And I hate it!
    I ended up selling the car about 6 months ago to a co-worker’s son who needed his first car.
    But dude, I miss that digital dash

    • 0 avatar

      Sajeev, you really gotta get more current on these things if you want our advice to matter.

      • 0 avatar

        He does say to ask for a speedy reply if you need it. I was in no hurry at the time. And he probably gets quite a few inquiries. Besides, I was just stoked to share Cressida news with people that would appreciate it.

      • 0 avatar

        I can’t. The only way to be current would be to quit my day job and post these articles several times a day…spamming TTAC with this.

        This isn’t, this is TTAC.

        • 0 avatar

          I get that you are flooded with them, which is cool, but really it becomes pointless when they are not current. Kinda disappointing when we all get excited about answering stuff only to find out it was worthless!

          How about you just choose 1 a day that will get posted and stop posting old outdated ones? Not EVERY radio show caller gets on the radio either, you screen the good ones. Maybe you can email quick responses to the rest of the submissions, or just a disclaimer that a reply is not guaranteed.

          • 0 avatar

            Good points. Now, I do email quick responses to many folks if their letter is worth it and the answer is doable on my side. And I do screen out ones that don’t make the cut: for example, I get too many “ATF fluid” questions, which has been beaten to death here.

            But that disclaimer is a good idea.

            And I will mix in newer questions, another good idea that I never considered. Duh.

            Just be nice to me and these conditions when I come begging for more questions again.

    • 0 avatar

      No worries, Jonny…it’s become my second name now. And it’s a good comedic schtick.

  • avatar

    Drive it stock for a while saving a little for the swap, then do the swap mid-summer/late summer 2013.

  • avatar

    You guys are all about LS-swapping everything.

    Have you ever done one? While awesome, they are not cheap.

    I was presented with the same scenario (but I paid just $800 for the dead car), and I ended up doing this…

    These older ones with the 5M are quite reliable and comfy couch cruisers. Leave it stock and daily drive it.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, several. Depends what you mean by cheap. Cheap in the sensor of sheer volume of dollars, no. Cheap in a sense of power per dollar, yes.

      The overall cost depends on the car it’s going into, and what you want to make or modify yourself rather than buy (if you even have that choice) or pay someone else to do.

      Just talking engines however, it’s hard to beat the value proposition of an LQ 6.0L with LS1 heads, and big cam. 4-450hp for ~$1000 without tearing it down for machine work. Complete 5.3L and 6.0L pullouts can be had for $500 around here. Yes, if you want all all aluminum, you will pay more.

  • avatar

    No whining here , good post .

    Free old cars were my bane when I ran my own shop ~ I’d overfix ’em up then resale ’em , never had a come back and usually made good $ on the bread & butter routine service over the next few years .

    Keep the good writing coming , be it new or old , whiners can hit the DELETE BUTTON .


  • avatar

    The thing’s got an inline 6, which is awesome. You don’t just swap that out with common as dirt SBC. Maybe a turbo kit, if you really need more power.

  • avatar

    Put the brake lines on, fix the rust(and keep it in check) and drive it. Free is free and that’s a rare car today (and getting more so). It won’t attract attention either, which is good or bad depending on your view.

  • avatar

    hey JONNY:

    You should keep the car if you want a money pit and you don’t need to rely on it for reliable daily commuting.

    A lot of people will swear by bulletproof mid-80’s Toyotas, but when it comes to your A-to-B daily grind you could do FAR better. Free quickly turns into an investment in the hundreds or thousands depending on the condition, but any 25+ year old car is going to need SOME love. Better to follow Sajeev’s advice and plan on spending the money the right way once than band-aids on the various problems you will no doubt encounter as you start to drive it.

    This is where my opinion diverges from Sajeev’s idea. LSx swaps are a common suggestion from onlookers but while it looks great on paper, there areplenty of unforeseen headaches for the person actually doign the work. There’s a lot more knowledge and support available for the X-Chassis than ever before, in fact the video posted of Brandon’s car (Daft innovations) above showcases his LS swap kit into an x8 Cressida. He can get you set up for the earlier models too, but don’t expect it to be a straightforward or budget-minded swap.

    The better bang-for-the buck option if performance is your goal is turbo JZ, NA-T 2jz or 1UZ. You’d be spending about half of what you’d be out on an LSx setup just to have the engine in the car and running for the most expensive of those options, which leaves you with a lot of wiggle room where your budget for additional go-fast parts is concerned.

    If you just want a cool-looking and reliable/efficient cruiser, I humbly suggest looking into a 2JZGE from a Lexus GS300 or IS300. You won’t have to deal with converting the pan/sump from a Supra or SC motor, if you get an older non-vvti engine you don’t have to worry about as much when it comes to wiring, you’ll have moderate power increase at your disposal and slightly better fuel economy to boot. You can keep it auto or use the opportunity to go w58, this chassis came with an optional manual transmission so all the parts are available (and some are interchangeable with other Toyo cars to make it easier to find them).

    While the 5M isn’t the ticking time bomb the 7M usually is, you can always do better with a fresh start.

  • avatar

    Love my 90 Cressida, hate that I spent $3,000 on the cylinder head. But, you don’t have a 7m-ge in yours, lucky you. Drive it and enjoy until it dies. Or sell it to some dorifto kid for a bunch of money. Either way enjoy as much as you can without spending too much.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Do you ever grow tired of getting called “Sanjeev”, Mister Mehta? lol

  • avatar

    I want one of these badly but have never been in a position to pull the trigger when a nice one pops up.

  • avatar

    Does it smoke? The inline six on those are notorious for burning piston rings and valve stem seals…. If not, it would keep as a great beater.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Keep it. If the transmission goes do a 5 speed conversion. A turbo/intercooler add on would be swell and turn it into a sleeper.

  • avatar


    You should be more careful how you spell people’s names. As you must know from living there, Canadians are a very sensitive people. If you offend them, they will suddenly become very, very polite. This is not good. They will start calling you “Sir” and asking you if you would “mind” leaving.

    The problem is compounded by the fact that Canadian names tend to the exotic. For example, they have men up there named “Michelle.” Not kidding. You would think a guy named Michelle would be a snotty little coward, like a typical Frenchman, but it is not the case. A Canadian Michelle is the meanest, toughest son of a [email protected] you have ever met. Just when you think you can say absolutely anything you want to a Canadian and get away with it, some dude with a girl name starts stomping the crap out of you.

    In short, Canada is an exotic and dangerous land of mystery and I would not recommend it to the casual visitor. It is amazing that you can survive up there at all. Kudos Joney.

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