Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Toyota Cressida is now at its moment of peak junkyard availability, with most examples finally getting to the point at which repairs just aren’t justified by the car’s value. The Cressida was an extremely well-built car by 1980s standards, and a pretty good car even through our jaded 21st-century eyes (which view vehicles that get scrapped before 200,000 miles as suspiciously crappy and/or abused). We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in the Junkyard Find Series so far, but today’s Cressida is the first wagon.

This one had 234,392 miles on the clock when it finally took that last tow-truck ride.

I shot this in Northern California in January, and this temporary registration expired in August. That means the car was probably still legal when it got towed away for parking tickets and its fines not paid (most likely) or sold for scrap.

No rust. None at all. Fans of old Japanese cars in rusty areas, you’d better come west and rescue some stuff like this.

The same DOHC 5M-GE engine that Supras got. In fact, the whole car is full of Supra drivetrain and suspension hardware.

Worth restoring or converting into a drift car? Not in California!

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.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
2 of 143 comments
  • Threeer Threeer on Mar 13, 2014

    I still see a fair number of Cressidas running around here in Riyadh...not that I'm in a position to buy one, though. I always thought that the Cressida with a 6 cylinder made for a decent family hauler, along with the fact that they seemed to be built to last two forevers.

  • AllThumbs AllThumbs on Mar 14, 2014

    Maybe I just had a bad one, but the only Cressida I ever had was a '90 or so work car I had from '92-'95 and I was singularly unimpressed. I'm a guy who has always had at least one Toyota among my cars since 1984 (I also had a South African van/truck Toyota called the Venture as my personal car at the time I had the Cressida), and that Cressida was my least favorite of them all. It worked fine and was comfy and all that, but it seemed way too ponderous for a Toyota, even though I get it that they were shooting for luxury. In fact-- and this is coming from a guy who LOVES Toyotas-- it suddenly reminds me of the 1991 Dodge Diplomat I currently own.

  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...