This Junkyard Cressida Wagon has Petrified Woodgrain

So last weekend I partook in one of my favorite endeavors and prowled the local U-Pull lots. As usual, there was a butt-load of interesting iron on display, most in various stages of cannibalization, but the one that gave me the biggest frowny face for having discovered it there was this first generation Toyota Cressida wagon.
It just looked so dang sad.

Yeah, it’s not an uber exotic, nor particularly rare, but there was sometihng about it that called out to me, across row upon row of crumpled Kia and immolated Isuzu, I think it was the woodgrain. You know how they say they just don’t make ’em like that any more? Well, that’s totally the case here as the photo finish appliqué that is the field of faux forest bi-product is surrounded by a metal frame that’s also phoney baloney wood – held in place by a series of spring clips rather than the more modern convenience of glue.
The interior was surprisingly intact, and you have to admire the durability of those ’70s vinyl seats – testaments to petrochemical engineering overcoming lard-butts and who knows how many years of flatus. It was also surprisingly complete, although2 someone had already collected the center console as a trophy. Less surprising was finding the radio last set on AM.
The rest of the interior is also mostly plastic and the years and sun have not been kind to it, turning what was probably once a unified message of tan into a Rubic’s Cube of various shades of beige. The odd placement – to the left of the wheel – of the overdrive actuator is also perplexing.
The hoods are always raised on the cars at this lot – something to think about there on those long sleepless nights – and a glance under this one reveals a relatively new Fram air filter contrasting with the pine needles and spiderweb detritus of neglect. The end for this Cressida was slow, however one would hope however that it was not painful.
Cars don’t go to the pick a part to be reborn, they go there to die, and this Cressida, seemingly unloved in its last days here on Earth has had an ignominious end to a life probably full of taking kids to school, shopping for groceries, and being part of some family’s life. Somehow, it seems it should have reached a more noble destination than this.
Of course, I could be wrong – it is possible that this Toyota had been being used as a mobile meth lab and was impounded in a police raid after a sting brought down its owner. And if that’s the case, then I say good riddance.

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  1. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I too had a sad with my junkyard run yesterday afternoon. I saw, of all things, a mid 1960's Caddy Hearse sitting at the Clearwater, FL LKQ U pull it. It was rusty but it was still sad to see such a unique vehicle waiting to be recycled into cheap Chinese crap. I should remember to bring my digital camera with me when I go to the junkyards as I see a lot of interesting stuff whenever I go. (Other cool stuff that made me cry: 1993 or 1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R, a really nice W123 240D, 1968 Ford Galaxy, 3 cylinder Daihatsu Charade, and a nice 1997 Geo Metro that I pulled the A/C compressor from.)

  2. LTDScott Avatar

    Cars like that are actually becoming somewhat popular again with the Japanese nostalgic crowd. Unfortunately it appears this one was just too gar gone.

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    Did you snag the overdrive control?

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    I've always thought that the first-gen Cressida was a great car, despite the funky styling. I've wished before that I'd steered my mom toward buying a Cressida sedan in '78, instead of the craptastic Malibu Classic that she bought. Between the THM200 tranny, the axle shaft recall, the A/C system with the awful R-4 compressor, and the lackadaisical design and build quality, it was (and still is) a miserable car. The Cressida likely would have been bulletproof with only routine maintenance.

    1. captain pabst Avatar
      captain pabst

      hey i was born in a 78 malibu classic wagon. in 1983…..

  5. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Oddly, the overdrive control on my parts-runner Dakota is also on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. It's a button though.

  6. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    I love that Toyota saw fit to put the overdrive button in the same position that the domestics put the headlight controls back then. Exact same style switch, too. I'm sure that didn't confuse anybody.

  7. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Given the Lego-like parts interchangeability of late 70s through 80s Toyotas, there's likely a distressing quantity of turbo Supra parts that'd take all of a weekend to swap in.

    1. 7shades Avatar

      Seeing as this one sports the 5M (tractor) engine, the Supra 7MGTE would literally bolt in. And then promptly eat its head gasket.

  8. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    There's an excellent example of one of those on the road here in Savannah, GA, same color, woodgrain and all. I am beginning to think it is a genuine "only driven to church on Sunday" car, because that is the only time I see it, parked outside a Lutheran church on Sunday mornings.

  9. grinder_74 Avatar

    I was a 4 year old kid in Cupertino when a neighbor proudly bought one of these brand new and it was there I first heard the word "snazzy" as described by the owner. I'll probably never forget that odd memory

  10. dead_elvis Avatar

    It makes me only a little less sad that this has a slushbox. Very, very little.

  11. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

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    I dream of someday shipping a Cressida X30 coupe across the waters, and then swapping in the 230 HP 7M-GTE and 5-speed from an early '90s Supra.