Curbside Classic: 1986 Toyota Mark II Hardtop (X70) Grande Twin Cam 24 – Over On CC Street

I recently wrote a post about a certain tree-lined street, at the Meiji memorial garden, where classic cars tend to gather on weekends. Well, truth be told, that was just the most eye-popping example of a fairly widespread occurrence, which happens in big cities like Tokyo, Paris or London. I would term this the “CC street” phenomenon. Those are specific areas, within a large city, where CC owners tend to congregate. Today’s X70 Mark II hardtop was caught on such a street. As have several CCs before it.

This particular CC street doesn’t have a name: with the exception of major avenues, most streets in Tokyo don’t have names. Which makes finding your way around quite entertaining, and telling people how to go somewhere deeply frustrating. But such is the hand that is dealt.

Every one of those CC streets has its own fauna. The gingko tree street is where classic (and sometimes contemporary) foreign sports cars meet up, e.g. Alfas, Lambos, Lotuses… The Ginza and Harajuku areas attract all manner of folks who want to parade in luxury cars – mostly imports too. This Mark II, on the other hand, was on a street near Akihabara where a group of hipster-looking folks get together on Sundays.

I don’t speak the language or fit the profile, so these are just my very partial and completely external observations. This group seems to be focused almost exclusively on domestic cars, which means they are usually younger than the average classic car guy (they’re pretty much all guys, as far as I can tell).

Some have out-and-out drifter cars — Silvias, Fairlady Zs, RX-7s – others show up in old turbocharged kei cars decorated with manga, and yet others drive discretely modded classic saloons, such as Laurels, Legends or the lovely Mark II featured today. The few imported cars that seem to be acceptable are German saloons – I often see a slightly lowered W126 there, and I recently caught a very nice BMW E28.

It’s not a massively long street. It has no particular distinguishing features, save a small temple – and fortunately, our CC was parked right in front of it. If nothing else, that makes for a nice backdrop to this orange wedge. Or does it look a bit cheesy?

So what about this X70 Mark II hardtop, then? We’ve seen the wagon already – it was produced from 1984 to 1997, so there are a lot of them about. And we’ve had a look at the 1984-88 Cresta saloon, which is 95% identical to the Mark II. But we hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting the hardtop as yet, so here it is, in all is pillared glory.

The hardtop version was the glamorous one, of course. But the Mark II’s association with the Corona was still pretty fresh in the Japanese public’s mind – this was the first generation that completely eliminated all reference to the Corona after four generations. Still, the Mark II was not yet ready to graduate to a true full-sizer: the engines available on the X70 were all under the 2000cc red-line that the Japanese taxman devised to separate the truly big cars from the medium-sized ones.

In fact, most X70 Mark IIs were sold with a 4-cyl. under the hood – either a 1.8 or a 2-litre. And many of them, including base 1.8 litre saloons, Diesels and wagons, still kept the good old live axle rear end. However, X70 hardtops featured the trailing arm IRS already seen on the X60 hardtop and the high-trim versions, such as our CC, sported the same G-Series 6-cyl. used on “big car” Toyotas like the Crown and the Soarer.

Given the street where I found it, this car is pretty far from stock. That includes the interior, sorry to say. But at least we can see that this is a manual, to go with that twin cam 24-valve straight-6. Our Mark II Grande is like a 4-door Supra – or at least if would be if it were turbocharged.

As it is, our Mark II Grande’s 6-cyl. ought to have 160hp to send to those rear wheels, which is quite sufficient. But that’s in stock form, and there’s no telling what is in there right now. Odds are it’s the original engine (I think you have to re-register the car if you put a bigger engine in it, and this car still has its original license plate), but there are plenty of ways to improve an old Toyota six’s output, especially given the crowd we’re talking about.

Despite the slightly ridiculous arabesque-heavy trim emblem, this Mark II isn’t suffering from delusions of Grande. It’s just as cool as it thinks it is. And orange. Irresistibly orange.

And a bit of a scenic backdrop doesn’t hurt.


Related posts:


Curbside Classic: 1997 Toyota Mark II (X70) Van – The Emperor’s Old Clothes, by T87

Curbside Classic: 1987 Toyota Cresta GT Twin Turbo (GX71) – The Faux Hardtop That’s Hard To Top, by T87