We’re starting to enter a new age of Japanese car collecting in the US.
Just like the next guy, I love a good American muscle car, but that doesn’t mean classic Japanese cars aren’t cool as well. Interest in them is definitely on the rise in the United States, driven by a variety of factors. Seeing cars like the heavily Modified 1978 Toyota Cressida and 1972 Toyota Celica in the video below surely doesn’t hurt.
First off, Toyota Cressidas are pretty underrated cars. They don’t look like that much, not that they’re ugly, they just lack a sporty design. But you should know not to judge a car just by its body panels, because what’s under the sheet metal can count for so much more.
Knocked out of the North American market by the arrival and expansion of the Lexus brand, the Cressida was a true sleeper loved by those in the know back in the day. This 1978 has a 1JZ engine and the owner jokes it’s stock. Considering the car was pushing somewhere around 115-horsepower when new and is now producing an estimated 500-plus, this classic Toyota is pretty boosted thanks to the EMUSA GT3076 turbocharger bolted up. To handle that big power bump, the buy uses a Nissan 350Z’s transmission. Sweet SSR MK1 wheels add an interesting flair to this ride. The calling card of this car at night are the light-up Pioneer speakers in the rear deck.
Perhaps even more interesting is the 1972 Toyota Celica modified to be a dragster. That’s a rare thing, and it looks pretty sinister with the smooth-as-glass black paint next and minimalistic brightwork, but outward appearance doesn’t necessarily mean fast.
The Celica is packing a 2JZ block with a 1JZ head, a turbo, competition cams, performance intake, and more. According to the owner, using pump gas it’s pushing about 520-horsepower. It also has a severely modified interior, thanks to changes to the firewall to accommodate the new mechanicals. Also, this Celica is a true JDM hero with the steering wheel on the right.
While the rise of Japanese collector cars will probably never overtake the popularity of American muscle in this market, it’s nice to have some variety. Both these Toyotas are well-done and it will be great to see more builds like them.