Before Lexus, there was Cressida. The top-of-the-line Toyota from its 1980s glory days was a tech-laden luxo-barge with rear-wheel-drive and an M-series straight-six that will outlast the cockroaches. Obscure enough to have a cult following but cheap enough to be snapped up by any kid with an after-school job, the result is a perfect storm in which cars that have been preserved for decades are immediately slammed and literally driven into the ground. We hope that’s not the fate for this 29,890-mile 1986 Toyota Cressida currently offered for sale in Wilmington, Delaware.
The X70 Cressida, built from 1985-88, is another one of those below-radar Japanese cars that went completely unnoticed for decades. It wasn’t hailed as anything special in its day, but its boxy looks have aged well, possibly better than many of its contemporaries. Most owners were sensible middle-agers who wanted something as luxurious as a BMW 5-series but none of the status. As such, Cressidas were kept well and are now reaching the market as these folks retire from driving altogether 30 years later.
However, the Cressida is also a poster child for the burgeoning stateside bosozoku scene. Sold as the Mark II, Cresta and Chaser in Japan, it’s a popular platform for the ultra-low, brightly colored sleds. And because most zokusha platforms weren’t sold in the US, the Cressida has become the go-to source for Americans wishing to emulate the Japanese lowriders.
Full disclosure: I have a 1986 Cressida wagon, and I am completely guilty of buying it from a lovely old lady, lowering it, and driving it all over southern California (and beyond). No matter how careful I am, harsh sun, poor parkers, and ridiculous amounts of SoCal road debris have exacted a toll. Nothing I’ve done to it is irreversible, and someday when it is no longer the primary car used to haul everything for JNC, I hope to restore it like Ludacris’ Ac.
Having said that, this sedan is very similar to what I would’ve ordered at a Toyota dealership in 1986 had I been old enough. Jade Gray on Black is a rare color scheme, the only two-tone offered on the pre-facelift 1985-86 models (and a $170 option according to the sticker). It also has a sunroof ($715) and a monument to 80s techno fanciness, a digital dash ($260). Even the rare Jade Gray interior is the proper deep-button velour, which I prefer to easily crackable leather. The only thing I would’ve forgone is the automatic transmission.
The seller says this is a one-owner car, always garaged and Sunday driven. It comes with the original sticker, and aside from a couple of tiny dings the body appears to be immaculate.
We hope it finds a good home. The current state of world Cressida supply is probably similar to that of an AE86 circa 2005. People are having fun drifting and dropping them, but in a few years the reserve will be dried up and clean ones like this will spike in value. As of this writing, the price is up to $3,181 with 11 bids and 4 days left. See the eBay auction here.
Thanks to Martin K. for the tip!