[ originally published: October 28, 2013 | updated: April 21, 2018 ]
Dennis is back! Okay. He’s really working hard to get back in the GBXM saddle. You might say he works as many jobs as Craig Sanderson (see page 42, this issue), only they’re all nearly full-time! Despite renovating a house as old as the United States, working full-time at an Opel dealership, AND joining the Dutch National Guard, Dennis has burned a little more midnight oil this month.
What follows is his conversation with Jordan Robinson, a recent Information Systems graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University currently working in the parts department of the local Toyota dealership. Isn’t it cool how we’re all interviewing people on the far side of the planet?
[dd] What do you drive and what makes it so special?
[jr] My first car – and closest to my heart – is my 1988 Toyota MR2 Supercharged, which I daily drive and weekend autocross. My latest project is a 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon.
[dd] How did you come to own it, and why did you decide to buy this particular Cressida?
[jr] I’ve always loved Cressidas, especially the X7 generation. After finishing a fix-n-flip project 1990 Cressida earlier this summer, I saw the wagon on Craigslist and had to have it. I drove up to northern Virginia with my buddy’s trailer and scooped it up for $600 in a barely-running state.
. . .
[dd] What have you already done to the Cressida?
[jr] I pulled the engine (a first for me) and replaced every seal and gasket in the motor, as well as replacing the lifters and giving it an all around refresh. While the motor was out, I sourced a W58 5-speed transmission from a 1986.5 Supra and all the parts I would need to row my own gears, including a custom driveshaft from a local fab company. I also replaced every brake system component, every rear end oil seal, and rebuilt the front hubs. I also had to put in a cheap mechanical water temp gauge since my stock gauge doesn’t work.
[dd] What are your future plans for this machine?
[jr] I have a set of P-Type Celica-Supra wheels I’m refurbishing, so those will go on eventually. The car WILL be lowered as soon as I can save up for the parts I need. For the front I’m going to shorten the front struts to fit MR2 shock inserts, weld on Techno Toy Tuning (T3) coilovers with camber plates and roll center adjusters. For the rear, I plan on running Camaro shocks for their shorter stroke, cutting the springs (for now), and a custom T3 adjustable panhard rod.
I may end up rattle-canning the car, since the current paint is just in horrid condition, and I’ve also got grand plans for a custom exhaust running off of a RabidChimp header to open up that 5M growl. I seriously think that, with the right exhaust, the 5M-GE is one of the best sounding engines Toyota has ever made. It may not be a powerhouse, but man it can sound nice.
[dd] Share one of your favorite moments you’ve had with this car?
[jr] I really wanted to get it finished to bring to a local Monday night meet-up, so I had to do a ton of work really quickly to get it drivable for the first time. I just BARELY made it in time, and everything worked nearly-perfectly first time! I couldn’t believe it.
[dd] Are you a gearhead? What does that mean to you?
[jr] Absolutely. I live and breathe cars every day. I love reading about, driving, working on, talking about, pretty much anything to do with cars – especially old, obscure, Japanese stuff.
. . .
You can read the full interview with Jordan, where he gets into additional details of what he’s had to do to get this boxy roxy wagon ready for the road in issue 1.09 of Gearbox Magazine.