Junkyard Gem: 1991 Toyota Cressida

Junkyard Gem: 1991 Toyota Cressida

Toyota’s first major sales success in North America was the Corona, which went on sale here in the 1966 model year and proved to be a lot of car for the money (my first car was a 1969 Corona sedan, which I bought for $50.14 years old, so I admit to a touch of corona bias here). Toyota sold cars pretty well here during the 1970s and 1980s, but never really raked in the big yen from the American luxury-sedan segment until the introduction of the Lexus LS 400 for the 1990 model year. Prior to this, Toyota Motor Sales USA tried to induce Americans to buy the upgraded Crown and Corona Mark II, without notable success. Finally, the 1978 Toyopet Corona Mark II with the Cressida badge appeared here, and Some Americans felt inclined to buy this big, six-cylinder-powered luxury machine. Sales of the Cressida never really took off here, but Americans could buy Cressidas until 1992. 1990s Cressidas are almost impossible to find in car cemeteries today, but I did find one in Sparks, Nevada a few months ago.

The LS 400 was a masterpiece of engineering with its brand-new V8 engine and all the other innovations, and it scared the daylights out of the big European car companies. This made the Cressida a bit small and old-fashioned, so it’s unsurprising that Toyota put it on sale here for the 1990-1992 model years.

Under the skin, Cressida was always a close relative of the Supra of the same year. This meant that its suspension and powertrain were generally identical to the Supra hardware of the same period (as the rear-wheel-drive Datsun 810/Nissan Maxima shared engineering DNA with the Z-car).

This car featured a 7M-GE straight-six engine rated at 190 horsepower and 185 pound-feet (the Supra version got a bit more power).

While the 1991 Mark II could be bought with a five-speed manual transmission in Japan, American Cressida buyers had to pick up a four-speed Aisin automatic.

These cars were very well put together, although it only covered 172,794 miles before the end.

In 1991, the Lexus LS 400’s MSRP was $36,955 (about $81,490 in 2022 dollars), undercutting the Mercedes-Benz S-Class by a disappointing amount, but causing problems for Toyota salesmen, who were charging $22,198 ( $48,945 today). A new Cressida.

The Cressida that year was pretty cool and very well built, but the new Lexus looked like more car per dollar at the time.

Toyota continues to install combination CD/cassette players in Lexuses well into our current century. Naturally, this Cressida has that rig.

I think this is the first Ouija board I’ve found in a junkyard cart.

Sadly, we never got the supercharged version here and neither did we get the Cressida Grande.

Most trouble free car sold in America!

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