Thirty years after Toyota first arrived stateside, the idea of a premium Japanese luxury car was still inconceivable to most Americans. The car was certainly worth $40,000, but no one in America was willing to shell out that kind of coin for a lowly Toyota. So the Big T conjured up a separate brand altogether and Lexus was born.
Two decades later, the idea of a Japanese luxury car doesn’t seem so odd to us any more. Toyota has consistently proven it can build flagship sedans as good as any European automaker’s. But there’s still one last hurdle to jump: the notion of a Japanese classic. If a ’59 Chevy Impala can be considered a classic, then why not a ’79 Toyota Cressida? Hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2029.