1987 Toyota Cressida Wagon

The Cressida was sort of a preview of Lexus from Toyota before they launched that luxury division. It was their top-of-the-line sedan, with rear-wheel drive, 6-cylinder power and abundant comfort and convenience features. It was never followed up with a successor in North America, partly because the Lexus LS400 debuted and took the torch as Toyota's flagship presence.

Outside North America, the Cressida was simply known as the Mark II. This generation debuted in 1984 and lasted until 1988.

Styling is classic early 80s rising sun, all hard angles, rectangular shapes and large safety regulation bumpers. This kind of pure functionalism was abandoned during the second half of the decade when design departments discovered sex appeal and started pioneering sleek, round jellybean shapes that Japanese cars would become synonymous with for the rest of the 90s. But I don't mind this early sparse look at all, for one thing it saves exterior space and usually adds interior room. Also look at how big those windows are! You can actually see out.

The same philosophy goes for the interior, which will be familiar to anyone who remembers a Camry from the era. Other than the steering wheel, most surfaces seem to have held up extremely well. The well-bolstered cloth seats look super comfortable, too.

Underneath the hood is a 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. This gave the Cressida an advantage over a mostly underpowered field of competitors back in the day and will still be appreciated now, especially if you're hauling cargo.

Speaking of cargo, this is the rare wagon version of the Cressida. Apparently they were only here for only a handful of years and I can't imagine they were a big seller. Someone who would spring for an import sedan wouldn't want the look and stigma associated with wagons in America. But for real auto enthusiasts wagons are usually a delight, adding a bunch more space and use to vehicle without crimping style or adding too much weight. I also love the double wipers on the rear window.

The seller of the car purchased it from San Francisco before shipping it to Hawaii where it resides now. They say it has over 200k miles, but has been well maintained and is entirely original except for new replacement parts. I believe it. The Cressida is from Toyota's glory days as masters of relatively inexpensive, simple and insanely reliable cars. This could see another 200k with more love and care.

Available here on craigslist for $4,500.

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