car news Fun

Spotted: a 1980 Toyota Crown

December 1, 2023

The spotted specimen

There is almost always something interesting to spot in Amsterdam North’s business district. The other day we even came across a car there that we have rarely seen driving around in the Netherlands: a Toyota Crown. The spotted example, to be exact, appears to be a 1980 Crown 2800 Super Saloon Automatic. The car is original Dutch and is one of the last Crowns still officially delivered in the Netherlands. Except for some minor details, it also looks very nice.

The Toyota Crown at a glance

The Toyota Crown is a model line that began in 1955 and is still running today. This makes it the oldest type name of the brand still in use. The Crown has always been positioned in the upper middle class. Somewhat depending on the model generation, the Crown sits cautiously against the luxury segment and was “the top model in the regular Toyota lineup. Only the exclusive Toyota Century had to – and must – be tolerated above sight. Every model generation of the Crown has come as a sedan, but there have been other body styles, from coupes to station wagons.

Sixth-generation Toyota Crown

The Toyota Crown we encountered is one of the sixth model generation. It was available in four body styles. There were two sedan versions, a five-door station wagon and a two-door coupe. Yes, two sedan versions. In addition to the regular sedan, which we spotted, you also had the so-called “hardtop sedan. Like the coupe, it had a slightly smoother design and – above all – doors without window pillars and only half a B-pillar. With all the windows open, this created a large opening, just like a convertible with a hardtop. Hence the name.

The sixth-generation Toyota Crown was available with 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter six-in-line (with or without turbocharger and even factory LPG versions), a 2.6-liter six-in-line, a 2.8-liter six-in-line and 2.2- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder diesel engines. So a pretty wide range of engines. There were also all kinds of transmissions. Manual with three to five gears or a three- or four-speed automatic.

As a (near) top-of-the-line model, the Toyota Crown also had rich equipment. Those who enthusiastically checked items on the options list had a car that could compete with models from the luxury segment. The options list included things like cruise control, but also included a power adjustable driver’s seat, automatic climate control with separate controls in the rear and even a small refrigerator for the rear passengers.

The Toyota Crown in the Netherlands

Starting with the third generation, the Toyota Crown was also delivered in Europe – including the Netherlands. Often with a more limited range, though. For example, this sixth model generation came only as a “regular” sedan and station wagon and in only two trim levels. Only the 2.8 Super Saloon we spotted and the 2.2 Diesel were in the Dutch price list.

Certainly for a non-German car, the Toyota Crown sold quite well in Europe, but in the early 1980s an unfavorable exchange rate with the Japanese yen caused the car’s price to rise rapidly. This, of course, did not help sales. As an indication, this sixth model generation had a starting price of about 16,000 euros in 1980, while the seventh generation, which came on the market as early as 1983, had to cost just 27,000 euros. Consequently, the seventh-generation Toyota Crown sold very little here and was the last Crown to officially come to Europe.

At present, there are exactly twenty Toyota Crowns of the spotted model generation still on Dutch registration plates, of which just under half are original Dutch. Of all Crown model generations in total, 170 are registered in the Netherlands, again just under half of which are original Dutch.

The current Toyota Crown

However, globally and certainly in Asia, the Toyota Crown is still one of the most important models for the brand. Coincidentally, Toyota introduced a brand new model generation this year, the sixteenth already. Toyota does tackle some things a little differently. After the Crown was delivered only as a sedan since 2003, there are now several body styles again. These are positioned as more or less independent models. The Crown family, like Land Rover has a Range Rover family, just to make a comparison.

The new Toyota Crown family consists of a Crown Sedan, the Crown Crossover (a kind of tall liftback), the Crown Sport (sporty-lined compact SUV model) and the Crown Estate (a more practical SUV model). The Crown Sedan is especially interesting in that it is technically related to the Toyota Mirai. So in addition to a gasoline-powered hybrid version, the Crown Sedan also comes with hydrogen-electric propulsion!