1990 Toyota Cressida

I don’t know why I’m lost in the late ’80s/early 90s, but here is a gorgeous dented Toyota Cressida in one of my favorite parking places in the city.


A 1990 Cressida is a car that even I will often walk past without much thought. It’s not a very amazing vehicle.

It is at least rear-wheel drive, which allows for dreams of sideways screeching smoking driving. I don’t think anyone will have to look out of a side window, mid-drift, to see in the direction the car is moving. Allow me to illustrate:

not going to happen

So this car probably won’t be anything more than a dull old Toyota, but it still looked gorgeous in the evening light up Lafayette St.

A lot of sources refer to the Cressida as a four-door Supra, the top-of-the-range sports car in the Toyota lineup. Thinking of things the other way around (i.e. the Supra as a two-door Cressida) and neither one sounds very interesting. What the four-door Supra distinction signifies is a predilection to swapping parts from one to the other to up the performance.







I just love the staid, conservative lines and the mulberry paint. Very businesslike, which would be fun to live with if you’re not actually a businessperson.

It’s cars like these that I really miss when they’re not around. A little interesting and a joy to photograph, this Cressida makes up a small piece of the vast automotive network of parked cars acting like image and thought vortices for my brain and camera.

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7 Responses to 1990 Toyota Cressida

  1. Ben Orlove says:

    wonderful drawing. I like your musings, the bit about mulberry especially.
    And I’m noticing the details in the background of different photographs–the billboard, the traffic light, the man in the blue shirt–each of which is located in a way to emphasize some detail of the car. If the background details were just placed randomly, then somehow your photographs wouldn’t convey as well that the car is an autonomous entity, an object that moves and that lasts a long time, and yet also a piece of a larger ever-changing environment. Is it intuition or careful thought that brings these details in such subtle balance with the car?

    • Raphael Orlove says:

      One of the reasons why I love this parking place is the backgrounds are always great. The signage on the mufflers/brakes/shocks garage, the various billboards, and the long, straight Lafayette give a lot of nice depth to the pictures. That and it’s on a busy street corner on a wide sidewalk, so there tend to be good pedestrians. I used to try and keep all people out of frame and I’d wait until the car was ‘alone’ on camera, but it’s much nicer to see other people looking at or not looking at the car. It’s all about balance, though – if there is too much about the car or too much about the town or too much about the experience of meeting the car, both in the pictures as well as in the writing, it all can get dull fast. Glad you liked the doodle!

  2. Hugo Reis says:

    Hi! Love your blog and I’m amazed with the attention you give to theorically dull cars.
    My father once a Cressida as a company car. It was a 1986 (previous model to this one) 2.0 DX which meant it ran on diesel. It was more elegant than this one, although with square lines. It was elegant and incredibly smooth and comfortable. Or maybe I remember it like that because my father’s previous company car was a Morris Ital with a A-series 1.5 diesel engine!!!

    Cheers from Portugal! I’ll be around. 😉

  3. Mr. Smee says:

    Just bought a 90 Cressi, what a fantastic car. This car has amazing charm, you can’t not like it. It has a lot of torque from the inline-6, so it always feels effortless when driving. The steering is light and smooth, and it’s full of delightful quirks like the two separate controls for tilt and telescopic.

  4. Nice find! Love these cars but then again I am a bit biased towards them 😉 lol

  5. Pingback: 1987 Toyota Cressida | Autofrei

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