Japanese riding royalty

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An Anzahl Mica maroon paint job and dedication to keeping the outside period correct makes this Crown a must-see from any angle.

As Toyota executive saloons go, the Crown line represents the pinnacle of the Toyota passenger car lineup.

The car is publicly declared as the official land transport of the Diet (Japan’s legislative branch) and Japan’s Judicial and Executive branches. As such, the line makes it the choice for owners to be seen, be talked about and experience power (plus the privileges that go along with it).

This was NOT the reason why Jojo Coloma acquired and fully restored a 1980 Toyota Crown Deluxe from a Philippine distillery’s corporate headquarters not too long ago. “I got it on 3 May 2012. It caught (my eye, wherein) I knew I can build and restore it again to its classic look for my passion for four-door full size saloons. It challenged me to bring up the original look, since I wanted to bring back memories of wanting a Japanese full size sedan when I was young. Considering that the Crown (was) Japan’s answer to (American luxury automaker) Cadillac, the luxury ride factor was there,” Coloma said.

The car runs the gamut of parts — original equipment and aftermarket (see Modifications) — purchased, imported, traded or acquired just to make the Crown a daily driver yet car show-ready. Coloma maintained that he had to upgrade certain areas in order to make the Crown liveable even during the hot summer months, or to alleviate boredom on long trips. “I changed the original Toyota-sourced unit to a Pioneer DEH-P5850 MPH radio that can also play MP3, as the former wasn’t working properly. I want to be entertained or relaxed when it comes to long driving in the Crown. Plus I installed 3M Crystalline tint for all windows to add protection from the heat. I emphasized road worthiness all the time and it shows in my Crown because I bring it everywhere and anytime I want, especially when it comes to long trips,” the Toyota Auto Club of the Philippines (TACP) member added.

The car has seen the entire gamut of the Luzon part of the archipelago, usually being driven up north (as far up as Pagudpud and Baguio), in the belly of Luzon (usually Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan) and as down south as Quezon. “Some (passers-by) take pictures, give thumbs up, asking where did I get parts, how long it took me to restore (the Crown), asked if it’s for sale and (quizzed) for some tips regarding restoration. Most of my friends are old car fanatics, so when they saw it, (their remembrance of) old times went back. Some give thumbs up, when they see it running on the street.”

Ridiculously high compression, matching bore and stroke and a single overhead cam can easily move nearly three tons of Toyota Crown unsprung weight.
Its details were kept mostly stock, save for the in-car entertainment’s head unit.

It also helps that a bulletproof Toyota 2L 2.4-liter straight four diesel resides under the Anzahl Mica maroon hood. The first Toyota diesel powerplant to use a rubber timing belt and a single overhead camshaft setup, the beefy internals combined with frequent tender loving care from Coloma rarely gave the TACP member problems. It may not be as peppy as the 2L-TE (a turbodiesel and electronic fuel injection upgrade of the 2L, original equipment on the 1980-1984 Toyota Mark II/Chaser/Cresta executive sedan), but it does manage to help the Crown ferry Coloma and his family around the country.

But what makes the car a rarity is the unique key-and-ignition system. The latter is remarkedly similar to the turnkey systems on Chevrolet’s full size sport utility vehicles, in which the correct key slots into a billet or chromed steel receptacle resembling a crab’s pincers. On the other hand, the unique key has a distinguishing “cross” mark that Coloma wondered about its meaning until he had a chance encounter with Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMPC) executives at a private function for TMPC and TACP members alike.

A cross mark on the key is a reminder that this particular unit was owned by the Japanese imperial household.

“Multiple TMPC executives — and they were Japanese, mind you — examined the car from roof to tires and even saw the key to the car. They told me that the ‘cross’ mark is the trademark ‘seal’ that allows Toyota to produce autos for the Imperial family and Imperial household agency, the equivalent of Britain’s royal warrant of appointment.”
For reference, the United Kingdom’s royal warrant of appointment or RWA allows select certain purveyors of goods (usually tradesmen) to make items and/or conduct services for the British royal family — further enhancing the prestige (and possibly the street cred) of the RWA holder. Although abolished in the 1990s, the Japanese equivalent of the RWA is limited to one purveyor per type of item — including Kikkoman for soy sauce, Nissin for food and Toyota for motor vehicles.

Given this Toyota Crown’s involvement with the Japanese Imperial family — and the fact that the car was meant as a land shuttle for the rich and powerful — it may be safe to say that Jojo Coloma had a brush with royalty.

1980 Toyota Crown Deluxe  (LS110) Modifications

Under the hood: Toyota original equipment/OE 2L 2.4 inline four SOHC diesel (84 hp / 165 NM, 92 mm bore x 92 mm stroke, 22.2:1 compression ratio), Toyota OE power assisted hydraulic steering (rack-and-pinion, bolted on for steering ease), Toyota OE five-speed manual transmission, Toyota OE single plate clutch with diaphragm spring, Toyota OE intake manifold, Toyota OE air filter, Nissin two-barrel single carburetor, Toyota OE exhaust manifold, Toyota OE spark plugs and spark plug wires, Toyota OE fuse box, Toyota OE airconditioning system, Toyota OE cooling system, Toyota OE engine mounts.
Stiff stuff: Toyota OE Cruven shocks, Toyota OE struts, Toyota OE springs, Toyota OE lower arms, Toyota OE trailing arms, Toyota OE suspension and steering bushings
Stoppers: Toyota OE front disc brakes, Toyota OE rear drum brakes (with hydraulic booster), Toyota OE brake pads, Toyota OE brake drums

Round things: Toyota OE 14-inch steel rims (with Toyota OE hubcaps), Torque 195/70 HR 14 tires

Inside: Toyota OE ivory beige dashboard, 3M Crystalline clear tint (for all windshields and glass), original Toyota crown matting, original Toyota AM/FM radio, Pioneer DEH-P5850 MPH radio (located at upper middle dashboard area), original Toyota Crown Deluxe steering wheel, original Toyota power door locks (with switch power assist), original Toyota switch selector for side mirrors, Toyota OE glovebox lamp, original Toyota tool box keeper, Toyota OE door courtesy lights (for rear occupants, left and right), Toyota OE child lock protector, original Toyota ivory beige fabric seats, original Toyota Crown brochure

Outside: Anzahl Mica Maroon (with car show-level clear top coat), Solex door locks, original Toyota side mirrors, Toyota OE power-assisted retractable/extendable antenna, Toyota OE emblems

Props to: Jacquilyn Ubaldo-Coloma, Celica Motors, NGK, Toyota Quezon Avenue, Meguiar’s Philippines, Rey’s Electrical, Anzahl paint, Bosch, Denso, 3M Philippines, Toyota Club of the Philippines, the Coloma family and the Ubaldo family.

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