Well, this was a first. Finding a 45-year-old car just sitting on someone’s front porch (if you can call it that) is one thing, but this one was more gaping than usual. There was nobody around, so either the owner just left it like that to air it out, or they were in the middle of detailing it and went back inside to recharge their mini vacuum cleaner or something. Either way, an open goal for CC!
Many of you know this third generation of Mark II (1976-80) as the Cressida, as that’s how they were exported to Europe and North America. On the JDM, they were marketed as the Toyopet Corona Mark II or, from this generation on, as the Toyota Chaser. They dropped both the Toyopet name and the Corona badge for subsequent generations.
One key difference with the export cars is that the fat rubber bumpers seen on Cressidas were only optional on certain late-model X30/40 Mark IIs – and fortunately, this one doesn’t have them. Helps with the look of this car a lot, though the Japanese nickname for these is still “Pig eyes,” for some reason.
I don’t know how many flavors the Cressida had in global markets, but the late ‘70s JDM Mark II was a good illustration of the rampant trim level mania spreading across many Japanese carmakers at the time – and Toyota especially. Our feature car is a GL 2000 – i.e. relatively low in the pecking order.
The bottom rung was populated by these, which made do with the 1.8 litre 4-cyl. and not too many creature comforts. This being the later model brochure (1978-80), it seems column shifters were no longer on offer – on saloons, at least.
This is more or less where our CC is at, though there are some differences between what the brochure’s GL and reality. These have a 2-litre 4-cyl., mated to either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed auto. Suspension-wise, these and lower-end cars have a multilink and coil-sprung live rear axle.
This is the swankier end of the range, with 2.0 and 2.6 litre 6-cyl. motors and all the gingerbread and gadgetry one could possibly wish for in a JDM executive sedan. These have disc brakes on all wheels and semi-trailing arm IRS, to boot – so it’s not just all sizzle.
Not shown in this brochure (because they had their own distinct one) were the Diesel variants. Also, one should multiply this impressive trim count by three, as the Mark II existed in saloon, hardtop coupé and wagon form. The wagons were fitted with a leaf-sprung live axle, so three suspension setups were also available, depending on body style and trim level, on these Toyotas.
I’m not sure where this leaves our CC, as it seems to have higher trim bits, such as these full-size wheel covers, on a lower trim car. But perhaps that’s a factor of the extensive options list these came with.
Of course, given the wide open nature of this particular Mark II, for once even yours truly couldn’t screw up the interior shot. This was the easiest non-convertible dash photo I’ve ever taken! Interesting to see the blank-out plugs on the right of the steering wheel – this is pretty far from a fully-optioned car.
This type of plastic protections for classic car door cards is seen on occasion in this country. It’s a great idea to help with preserving these sometimes fragile (and quite often impossible to source replacements for) bits of cabin trim, particularly if you have kids back there.
This generation of Mark II has a strong following, but they are routinely turned into ridiculously modded, lowered and garishly-painted driftmobiles, especially the coupés. Very nice to see that some are being religiously preserved for posterity. And kept open for business.
CC Outtake: 1976 Toyota Cressida – Juvenile Sophistication, by Perry Shoar