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Time Capsule: 1985 Toyota Cressida Station Wagon

For some of us, the 1980s seem like very recent history. However, when I look at vehicles like this 1985 Toyota Cressida Station Wagon and realize that it is thirty-seven years old, it makes me wonder where the time has gone. For a family wagon from that decade, it remains remarkably well preserved and would receive plenty of favorable comments for that reason. It needs a new home, so the seller has listed it here on eBay. The Cressida is located in Henderson, Nevada, and while spirited bidding has pushed the price to $2,125, that remains short of the reserve.

The seller purchased this car from an estate. Its previous owner had used the Wagon regularly, but it remained parked in his garage for a few years before he passed away. The seller was pleasantly surprised when they wheeled it into the light of day because they found it well preserved and completely original. I generally avoid terms like “time capsule” when assessing classics, but this Toyota deserves that badge. The Night Blue Metallic paint looks excellent, and the seller believes it is original. Metallic finishes from this era tend to develop issues as paint manufacturers grappled with new technologies. Clear coats can peel, while the color can become patchy and inconsistent. This Wagon has avoided most of those problems and is one of the better examples I’ve seen from this era. There is some patchiness on the color-coordinated bumper sections, but a good paint shop should have no trouble addressing that. Before finding its way to its current location, the Cressida spent its life in California. That makes its rust-free status no surprise. The panels are straight, while the trim and glass are above average. There appears to be a flaw on the tailgate trim, but it would take an in-person inspection to confirm this. Cosmetically, this Wagon has no immediate needs and should receive favorable comments wherever it goes.

One of Toyota’s greatest strengths has been its ability to produce great engines. The one lurking under the hood of the 1985 Cressida was no exception. The company chose the 2.8-liter DOHC 5M-GE motor producing an impressive 161hp. The rest of the drivetrain includes a four-speed automatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and brakes. While the combination didn’t place its performance in muscle car territory, the Cressida could still accelerate from 0-60mph in 11.5 seconds. After a few years in hibernation, the seller returned the Wagon to a running state. They see evidence that the car only covered 20,000 since the previous owner replaced the timing belt. They added new injectors, a fuel pump, plugs, and a distributor cap. The engine sounds quiet and healthy, although it does blow some smoke. They are unsure why, but if I were the winning bidder, I would probably let it accumulate a few miles to see if the situation settled. If not, I would investigate the problem further. It is worth noting that the tires are old, suggesting a complete mechanical inspection and replacement tires may be a wise move before the buyer attempts any long journeys.

When we turn our attention to the Cressida’s interior, we confront an aspect of this survivor containing the “wow” factor. The luxury leanings are apparent in the abundance of cloth upholstery, faux woodgrain, and comfort and convenience features. The seller believes the previous owner added slipcovers to the seats early in the Wagon’s life. When they removed these, they found the Gray cloth trim in as-new condition. There is no wear and no signs of stains or other problems. The dash and wheel are excellent, while the plastic has avoided the discoloring and crumbling that is common on many vehicles of this age. The rear cargo area has a few marks, but its overall condition suggests no abuse or mistreatment. For those who like their luxury touches, this Cressida has you covered. It features climate-control air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player with an integrated graphic equalizer that is a genuine 1980s touch.

A 1985 Toyota Cressida Station Wagon might not be every enthusiast’s idea of a classic, but this one is worthy of that title. When any vehicle survives for thirty-seven years with the level of preservation we see here, it is easy to see why its listing attracts so much attention. Most of these Wagons served reliably as comfortable family transport, and surviving examples tend to look tired and rough. Our feature Cressida has avoided that fate, and its needs seem pretty minor. People like what they see, which explains why it has received twenty-nine bids. It is unlikely to represent a mega-bucks investment for the successful bidder, and I suspect it is close to reaching its reserve. So, if you would like a practical station wagon with luxury touches, maybe bidding on this Toyota could be worth considering.


  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    These were nice cars, pre Lexus Toyota Luxury. I haven’t seen too many wagons and that dual rear wiper set up is a little wild. These always remind me of the Charles and Carol Stuart murder case in Boston when I was a kid. There was a dark blue Cressida plastered all over the News as it was the actual crime scene.

    Like 4
    • Kelly

      Wow! I can’t believe it, but I remember that also. I thought I was the only one!

      Like 2
      • Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

        Strange the things we remember. It was a horrific crime and she was killed in the Cressida.

        Like 1

    My brother had an “86 tan with woodgrain. The 6cyl was a stump puller, really we pulled a couple stumps with it. At the time it seemed OK but soon after the transmission failed. But that was a long time ago. sweet car though.

    Like 3
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      “but soon after the transmission failed”.

      Due to pulling stumps,I presume?

      Like 7
    • Lothar... of the Hill People

      I pulled some small stumps out with my trusty, rusty $465 1998 salvage-title Corolla… that car took a beating and always came back for more.

      My boss saw it in the parking lot one day and recommended I upgrade. I should have kept it and politely ignored him because he wasn’t my boss for much longer.

      The key to pulling stumps is momentum… less wear & tear on the transmission that way. It’s more exciting too!

      Like 2
  3. Howard A Member

    If the Datsun/Toyota small pickup kicked us Yanks in the “truck” nads, it was these cars that kicked us in the “car” nads. Toyota was no longer this spindly POS that will never get anywhere, and into a viable family cruiser. Nothing we had could compete, and many a GM/Ford owner crossed the line into Toyota country, and usually, never went back. Great when new, I worry about vintage Asian cars like this, that may or may not have parts for, with electrical issues and transmissions sideline many. The 30 bids and a paltry $2500 indicates, not all vintage Asian cars are destined to be classics. Just a beater that will most assuredly strand the new owner. AAA is a must,,,

    Like 1
    • Brad460 Member

      I think ford competed quite nicely with the taurus and sable wagons. They sold way way more of them than toyota sold cressida. As a Toyota and honda owner as well as numerous domestic vehicles the Toyota running gear is very good, but sheet metal stamping, fabrics, and plastics were vastly inferior to the domestics.

      The plastics on my 80s hondas are extremely fragile. Same with seat upholstery and obviously they had severe rust issues back then.

  4. alphasud Member

    Toyota carried over the dual rear wiper design to the Camry wagons. There are styling and design elements that are triggers for me. The Nissan Juke and the dual rear wiper on a Camry wagon are 2 of several I find revolting. The Cressida wagon however seems to work better with the sharp creases and the more traditional box styling. I do like the inline 6 engine rear drive configuration. Would be fun to make a Supra turbo wagon. It would be a real sleeper.

    Like 3
  5. Rich

    Nice car, but that shifter?? Yuck!

    Like 2
  6. Big C

    Ah, the 80’s Asian cars. As sexy as a potato. Luckily, Ford came out with the Taurus and they were able to steal the styling.

    Like 4
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      “Luckily, Ford came out with the Taurus”
      Pretty sure this is the only time I have ever seen that statement.

      Like 13
      • Big C

        Check the sales statistics from back then. You’ll understand.

        Like 1
    • mick

      rofl, lmao!!!

  7. Mikefromthehammer

    Current bid = $2,600 with no mention of a reserve.

    Like 2
  8. Jim Trook

    Some of the 5MGE engines had problems with camshaft & rocker wear, but not sure when that was solved. I am not at all sure this would be the best of their engines to turbocharge either. However, after some years of experience with these, I have to say they were a pretty good, overall pleasant vehicle.

    Like 1
  9. JC

    Cars got 235k on it. Fools and their money are soon parted.

    Like 2
    • Pete

      I sold a 1997 Toyota T-100 with 345,000 miles quickly for $4,800 last year. I am still mad at myself for selling it. Best vehicle I ever owned.

  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I remember when the Toyota Cressida was on the market.

  11. Lothar... of the Hill People

    This thing takes premium gas according to the government. It’s not going to be a money saver when it comes to gas.

    I bet it feels solid going down the road. It seems like this was Toyota’s answer to the Mercedes Benz wagons that were popular way back when.

    Like 2
  12. FenderUnbender

    Even if I was very interested in this Toyota, the mad mouse motorized seatbelts make this a huge NO!

    Like 2

    The Cressidas were great drivers. Excellent engine.

  14. Jasper

    Nice wagon. Had an ‘86 and it was comfortable, competent and had plenty of room for hauling.

    Hope this one doesn’t end up slammed with diagonal window stickers and a straight pipe. JDM prerequisites for the junkyard.

    I’d bet a bunch of these, still in nice shape, were victims of Cash For Clunkers.

    Like 2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. I love JDM Japanese cars, but I’ve always preferred original, unmodified cars. Unless the modifications are made for safety reasons, I see no reason why any modifications need to be made.

  15. Pete

    I bought an 86 Cressida, Had 58 K on the clock in 1995. I thought I got a deal. In actuallity it had over 200K miles. They rolled it back with a drill motor. So I didn’t change the timing belt on the right interval. Left me broke down in Maggie Valley. If this one had the correct periodic maintenance it would serve you well for another 100K miles perhaps more. It was a very comfortable car.

    • Mikefromthehammer

      If my internet sleuthing is correct at least it isn’t an interference engine so it didn’t bend any pistons on valves. All you would have had to do was replace the timing belt.

  16. george mattar

    More reliable at 37 years young than any new GM vehicle. So it smokes. Why take out a mortgage on a pile of American made crap? Stupid people do stupid things. I see it every day at the American car dealership I work at. The other day, a woman signed on for a $985 month payment for 84 months. Duh.

  17. Slingshot

    Liked them back in the day but held off buying one as the dealer ( mistakenly) told me the would be introducing a three rear wiper model later in the year- my loss….

  18. Phil c

    I had a 1985 Nissan Stanza wagon, it was of similar quality to this Cressida wagon. I loved it. I hope the new owner will enjoy it for decades to come.

  19. Car Nut Tacoma

    If I could find a decent well-maintained driver, I’d buy a 1985 Toyota Cressida. A sedan is nice, but I’ve always preferred station wagons. To be able to carry people is something I like, but I also appreciate the cargo space of a wagon. The only thing I’d change out would be the stupid automatic shoulder harnesses that came with the car. I’ve always preferred to be able to fasten my own seat belts when I get in the car and fire it up.

    Like 1

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