1986 Toyota Cressida MX73
Tom Blanche | Repco Support Office
I drive a 1986 Toyota Cressida MX73How long have you owned your Cressida?
I bought the car around two years ago as a stock, automatic daily driver with under 100,000kms having previously been owned by an older woman from Melbourne's South East.
Not a 1JZ. Most people drifting this chassis have 1J swapped them for more power, but I'm still running the factory 5MGE that came with the car. When I bought the car it had really bad valve stem seals, so first task was to pull the head off and throw a Permaseal Valve Regrind Gasket Set at the head, this kit was perfect because it replaced every old gasket in the head including inlet and exhaust manifold gaskets, cam cover seals, thermostat housing gaskets and the valve stem seals it desperately needed. In stock form, the double overhead cam 2.8 litre inline 6 actually makes the same power and slightly more torque than a Nissan SR20DE, with the chassis weighing around the same as a Nissan 180SX so it's plenty of pep. People underestimate the 5MGE because when mated with the factory 4 speed slush-box automatic, it ends up losing all of its power through the drivetrain making it gutless and slow. With a simple Toyota W-series 5 speed swap, this car now has enough torque and power to drift in 2nd and 3rd gear, but drifting it is definitely speed and momentum based.
As mentioned before, the biggest transformation I've made to the car is the manual swap. I used Toyota W-series gearbox from a friend's Celica that he totalled while drifting at Calder Park Raceway. The other parts needed for the manual conversion were a bit more challenging to find, though. A correct length drive shaft and the bellhousing to mate the W-series box to an M-series motor had to be taken from a manual MA61 Supra or a manual naturally aspirated MA70 Supra. I also upgraded to a Clutch Industries heavy duty clutch kit to put up with the abuse and originally had a modified clutch pedal from a Toyota Corolla, however this was giving me clutch engagement issues so I ended up tracking down a factory RHD clutch pedal which was only available in South Africa. The car is lowered on a set of basic coilovers, so long gone is the soft cushy ride that this 80's luxury land barge was known for, it’s now firm and has very little body roll in corners which makes it ideal on track. The car also has modified factory steering components to allow for more steering angle. The steering knuckles are shortened. The Lower Control Arms are extended and I've fitted some longer and thicker TRW tie rod ends from the newer JZX100 Chaser, all of these changes increased the travel in the steering rack which allows the wheels to turn more and drift with more angle. A lot of people get stuck into the habit of over-building their cars but I like to keep my car fairly standard for the most part which means there's less to go wrong at an event. It also means I can pour my money into more track days and seat time rather than changing my set-up every 5 minutes. The car has some smaller cosmetic and safety bits and pieces including a Nardi Classic steering wheel, Recaro LX driver's seat and a CAMS approved half cage. I also have a pretty hefty collection of 14 inch Japanese wheels. I'm definitely a bit of a hoarder when it comes to wheels, my SSR MK-2 pair always live on the front with Dunlop semi-slicks, however the rear of the car is rotated between my SSR Star Sharks, SSR MK-1s and Impul Hoshinos.Where do you work on your car?
All of my work on cars is done in driveways with a good trolley jack, sturdy jack stands and a few basic sets of hand tools including a Mechpro Blue 1/2in socket set, screw drivers, a torque wrench and a few power tools to help speed up the job. I'm usually working in my own driveway, but my mates and I love to help each other out and work on our cars together, so there's definitely been some late nights working at mate’s houses whether on my cars or their project cars. We all have similar interests in cars and we all have a Van, 4WD and somewhat passion project like the Cressida, so this weekend we could be working on our 4x4s and getting them ready for an adventure up in the bush and next weekend we could be fixing rust in my friend's Alfa.How does the car drive?
Surprisingly pretty good, especially seeing as I wasn't too hopeful for the factory engine, but having made the manual swap I'm impressed with the torque it has and how stiff the car feels. I’m having a lot of fun learning to drift in a fairly low-powered car and I'm told by friends with more extensively set up drift cars that you tend to get lazy and complaisant with too much power, you can rescue the car from mistakes you make, meaning you don't learn the correct car control needed to battle an under-powered car. For me it’s just awesome to have a car I can attend drift events in. I get to hang out with mates at the track, learn as I go and ultimately have heaps of fun. There are some instances where I wish I had a little bit more power to slide some larger and faster corners, so down the track I'd like to use some of the turbo pieces from a 7MGTE I have sitting in the garage. The head design for a 5M and 7M are similar enough that I'll be able to add some boost to the 5MGE with factory Toyota 7MGTE parts. And to my point earlier about keeping it simple, the car will run on a standalone ECU and probably just be on waste-gate pressure to have as little as possible going on meaning I can just keep driving.What oils do you use?
I'm pretty dedicated to using Castrol fluids. Their motorsport involvement throughout the years gives me that extra little bit of confidence. I use Castrol Edge 10W-30 in the engine and as well as Castrol gear oils and brake fluid. One sneaky little Repco ripper tip for the drifters reading this though, is the Nulon Smooth Shift Gearbox and Diff treatment. Drifting puts massive shock-loading on the whole driveline and you'll often hear about drifters blowing diffs and gearboxes. Every time I change my gearbox or diff fluid I add a squeeze of this stuff in there for extra peace of mind.
I also have a 1982 Volkswagen Transporter Campervan. This was my first car and will definitely be sticking around for some time. It's a factory camper conversion which means it has a pop up roof, fridge, stove, bed and even the kitchen sink. I love the simplicity of the air-cooled engine and I'm hopelessly attached to the memories I've made on trips with that car. The Cressida was purchased to replace the Volkswagen as a daily driver, which it did for some time, but as the modifications snowballed I eventually had to buy yet another daily. Currently I daily drive a 1991 Toyota 4Runner. Possibly the best $1000 I've ever spent, this Hi-Lux based SUV has taken me through some really tough 4x4 tracks in the Victorian High Country with just a set of MaxiTrac Nitro Shocks, lifted King Spring set and some basic mud terrain tyres, I also kitted it out with a GME antenna and Oricom in-car UHF system allowing me to keep in contact with my mates while out bush.
Thanks Tom, this is a really cool car, nice to see you putting effort into a classic car and completely changing the way the manufacture intended their comfy luxury vehicle to be. We dig it and this is exactly what we enjoy seeing. Car people showing off their passion for their project cars and adding their own style and aesthetic, whether it's a classic Holden, modern day Focus RS or low powered 3 cylinder Kei car, we all have our own taste and reasons for modifying our chosen vehicle and this Cressida is a perfect representation of that. Good luck with the drifting and we hope to hear more about this turbo conversion and how it performs on the track.