Japanese Nostalgic Car — 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon

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Toyota Cressida Wagon I

Seattle to LA in a 1986 Toyota Wagon

August 20, 2007 by Benjamin Hsu

ike many nations feudal roots, Japan has a royal family. They mostly ceremonial functions and no powers of state, but these can still influence Japanese Case in point: though officially adopted the Gregorian in 1873, nostalgic car aficionados often denote a vehicle’s by its nengou . or Japanese era name on the reign of a particular ruler.

The Era lasted from December 25, to January 7, 1989, making our Toyota Cressida wagon a 61. But take a closer look at the growth during this era and find yourself eye to eye with the of the Japanese auto industry. the explosion in car use after the Great Earthquake destroyed Tokyo’s system, to the post-war government for tiny People’s Cars, to the of world

Seattle Public

class luxury vessels the banners of Lexus and Infiniti, the age witnessed it all.

While cars of the 1980s have yet to past the magic 25-year that gives them status by insurers and tailpipe many are already becoming difficult to find in decent We value these specimens as we any endangered species, and we weep forlorn kittens when unloved or discarded. After they’ll soon become and when they do we’d to see some of them still And, like fins in the they exude a style all own, one that can only be as 80s Japanese angular. That’s why like to honor them a new section called Showa . Fear not, intrepid for our main focus still with nostalgics, with a tiny fraction of JNC consigned to bubble economy barges.

said that, we couldn’t of a better way to break the champagne over the bow of our new subsection than a real life Showa in that time-honored rite of passage, the road trip.

We into possession of this S61 purely by dumb luck. A few ago, I lived in Seattle and an old school buddy of mine was for a used station wagon for his girlfriend. Like an owl on a caffeine my car-spotting eyes are always peeled, which is how I missile-locked the

VW-eating Fremont Troll

mint, 80,000-mile Cressy in a damp Grunge City lot one day. Ever the helpful — and because I was living on his — I left his number the wiper.

Knowing is half the and what you need to know is always leave a note. owners will ignore you bad date, but once in a blue they’ll call. Even if two years later.

Alas, car would have been the little old lady find, had the old lady not lent it to her grandson to use as a bus during the past two years, it accrued enough dings to a three-alarm fire and almost additional clicks. Still, it had no was straighter than Clint and my amigo’s woman had already attached to the ’98 Ford wagon they’d since so I was next in line. Righteous!

at around the same, Koji and Yamaguchi, the King and Queen of the Japanese car scene and founders of the [article ], invited us to the Toyota-sponsored at the Monterey Historics, as long as we up in a ‘Yota. If this wasn’t a from the ghost of Kiichiro himself commanding me to go on a pilgrimage, I know what is.

The donor

-2656: Days before out, some hoodlum the Cressida’s side window my friend’s downtown apartment. unable to find any replacements in the Seattle area, so I’m to slog through an east U-Pull-It.

Somehow, a giant of glass seems like that should be on the TSA prohibited list if they’re banning and wrenches, but I’m not about to it with the baggage flingers. I have one broken window. even my getting randomly for a secondary screening doesn’t its progress. After an agonizing at Memphis International Sauna, breathing fresh Pacific

Mile 0: Having sat through a ride downtown, I eat my first meal in nine hours, the city for a set of extended sockets and and unintentionally rip the moisture shield in 20 places before swapping out the

Coach class glass

By the I vacuum out enough fingertip- glass shards from the to recreate the Seattle Public I barely make it to my de rigeur sushi dinner at 100-year-old restaurant.

Mile 47: I’ve driven this route, or car, so I wake early to gas up, some water and oil, and the four tires plus When the pre-sunrise sky glows same pale-reddish color face exudes after a good punch, it reminds me of cram sessions during when I would have four years of progress for a 30 doze.

At least I have gigs of mp3s to keep me It’s funny how old technology useful again. With a $10 adapter, The Cressida’s resonant are channeling two solid days of via an iPod nano. Cassette 1, CD player: 0.

The Cressida still its stock stereo, a huge, affair with more and switches than a nuclear Being the vestige of bubble excess that it is, a mutant protrudes from the dash, right of the steering wheel, to the driver a completely redundant set of for volume, seek, and climate. you, Toyota, for saving my hand an eight-inch journey to the

Mile 105: Winlock, was only America’s second egg producing

World’s largest apparently

town, but that stop them from the world’s first largest Actually, it’s just a ellipsoid, about the size of a pegged on a ten-foot steel

Mile 168: Suddenly, an extra in the Everybody Hurts A stalled vehicle on the I-5 bridge the Washington- Oregon border has Portland’s rush hour to a dead stop. As we’re by an earthworm, I exit to find route, a stupid mistake wastes 90 minutes. However, the that I’m driving an boxy station wagon me from getting pulled by the unmarked third-gen Taurus sends me a quick strobe-flash

Mile 234: According to legend, at the end of WWII Art Lacey a surplus B-17 Flying home to Milwaukie, Oregon for use as a gas prop. Actually, he flew He crashed the first one landing he had no co-pilot to lower the landing Normally, the airfield doesn’t takeoff without one, but had brought a mannequin.

The second Lacey got lost in a snowstorm and his way home by flying

B-17 Fortress

only 1,000 above ground and following tracks. His co-pilot (live, time) sat in the bomber’s Plexiglas and yelled for Lacey to pull up a mountain approached. Upon he tried repeatedly to obtain a to transport the plane to its present With no success, Lacey hauled it himself, receiving a $10 en route for having too wide a

I hope to make it with one Cressida.

Mile 418: coast states are so small you can two or three of them simply by down. I thought the massive covered by our western provinces bore me to sleep, but I-5 in southern weaves through the Cascade and it’s fun to stuff the Cressida the bends, even if the slow automatic downshifts like contemplating a chess move.

Pass, but not Grant’s


With the vast expanses of extending to the rearmost corners of the I have no problem changing to pass lumbering RVs and semis. sedans received an independent suspension midway through the generation but the wagons soldiered on a live-axle set up. On sharper curves, the rolls so far towards the outside that the Cressy must from an exterior perspec- a peeing dog.

Mile I find Weed. In the shadow of Mt. where a Datsun roadster takes place each Weed is a small town Weed Like to Welcome that appears right as you getting nervous about gas. I’m used to the Jersey Turnpike, so when nothing but sand for miles, the needle points low, and a warns, Rest Area Exit. 52 Miles to Next Area, I take the ramp.

View of Mt. Shasta from CA

Turns out, in Cali, a table and an outhouse qualifies as a area. No Burger King, no of urinals, no gas station. But then, a few nail-biting miles later, Why California felt the need to me there’d be 52 miles to the next bench, I will never

Toyota Cressida Wagon I

Mile 762: The Cressida’s air conditioning unit is limited to one setting these days: hot air I keep my mind off the slow I’m undergoing by keeping up traffic through the Sacramento Mad Max landscape. But whether at idle or clawing up the powerband towards its max, the 2.8 liter inline-six and its overhead cams just hum as smooth and quiet as beach

Mile 887: I find After barely speaking to soul during my 13 hour the first person I meet in San asks me if I want to buy some To be fair, I was on Haight Street. I consider re-enacting one of Bullitt famous jumps over the steep hills, but

Golden Bridge, San Francisco

the Cressida’s is so cushy I probably wouldn’t a thing.

Mile 953: I arrive at my friend’s place in San Whizzing down US 101 at night, Silicon Valley’s office and their illuminated corporate is like running through City after hours a flashlight. If you’re reading article, you’re using made here.

Mile The thousand-mile drive has dislodged a amount of additional broken Damn punks. I re-vacuum crevice and cavity and set out to amass a arsenal of car care products. all, the Cressy’s going to be within spitting distance of and Ferraris at Monterey. Wash, wax on, wax off. Puttin’ on the ritz!

over the car, I come to face with its straight-edged aesthetic. Of all the 80s Japanese sleds this motif, few have ruler-drawn contours than a Between the grille, dashboard, guards, chrome strips and the car has more horizontal lines a grade school penmanship It’s a rolling Tetris a bento box on wheels, designed to a dense metropolis criss-crossed by and elevated highways.

Rural Monterey

Mile Pulling into Laguna by the Andretti hairpin, the Cressida is Toyota royalty — the gathering of 2000GTs ever outside of Japan. I park by a crew of Scions in the corral.

In its the Cressida — along the mechanically identical Mark II, and Chaser in Japan — the luxury end of the Toyota lineup, so it doesn’t feel too outclassed the Lexuses. By spec, it played in the league as 5-series BMWs and 5000s but its Toyota badge it to relative obscurity. It’s no Lexus debuted three later.

Click here for our report on the Monterey Historics. In it simply amazed. Unfortunately, the classic car weekend morphs into milking machines, rates designed for Bentley That’s why I’m heading to San Jose to crash for free.

1169: Gases congeal stars. Supernovas cast remnants across the cosmos. spin. A Cressida’s odometer 100,000 miles.

Mile Many people head from the Historics after but the wagon and I are back at Laguna for one reason: to see seven million worth of Toyotas pour a three-story twist of racetrack known as the corkscrew. And I did. And it was

And they all roll over

1373: Leaving Monterey in the puts the bentowagon on southbound 101 what photographers call the hour, when the impending bathes the entire landscape in orange light. Map printouts me across CA-46 to get back on and despite constant blasts at tilt to pass motorhomes the lines go from solid to the wagon still averages 26 per gallon.

Mile 1494: The glow emitted by the instrument of a Showa Era sled should be the color allowed on dashboard No oranges, no retina-searing reds, greenish white luminosity and all is with the world. All, for the nasal assault emanating the San Joaquin Valley’s acres of

The Tejon Pass, a steep, ascent, has semis wheezing on the but poses no problems for the Cressida, as as I exercise my gas foot. Upon the top, the river of taillights its way down the Grapevine stretch of I-5 a lava flow heading Santa Clarita, and onto LA.

1602: The Cressida naps in the City of Angels. The only hiccup encountered was a heavily Grand Cherokee facing the direction in the middle of the freeway, eight miles from my The utter lack of traffic the accident and smell of freshly rubber meant the wayward had missed me by about a minute.

I in genuine awe of how quickly a 21-year-old brick can, just by some dead plants, colossal distances that have taken months to less than a hundred ago. And I didn’t even to eat anyone in the neighboring conestoga The Cressida hauled, but even four cylinder sedans it with ease, especially on the parts, proving just how far has come in two decades.

Showa open road

The day after the Emperor died, his son took the and the Heisei Era commenced. Already, we can see that might yield classics — the 90s sports car the hybrid age, and whatever that lies beyond gen cells and self-piloting pods. But your robot caretaker where it all began, you can tell him it in the Showa Era.

Toyota Cressida Wagon I
Toyota Cressida Wagon I
Toyota Cressida Wagon I


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