Toyota Crown 1990 – Japan’s Pinnacle Executive Sedan Arrives
While automakers today stagger high technology rollout between model lines or premium divisions, in 1989 Toyota rather remarkably inaugurated an extensive mechanical and electronic suite update for its flagship full-size Crown luxury sedan entering a sixth generation. This thorough evolution modernized the brand’s pinnacle vehicle handily against rival introductions from Nissan and Honda to open the new decade.
We revisit this advanced yet often overlooked fifth generation Crown (S130) debuting in 1990, and explore novel features that maintained its exclusive prestige ferrying diplomats, government elite, and executives throughout Japan while finally matching European luxury sedan standards.
Legacy Toyota Crown 1990 Powering An Automotive Institution
First emerging in 1955, Toyota’s top-shelf Crown family car range represented aspirations for a growing post-war middle class. As Japan’s automotive excellence improved during the 1960s, Toyota strategically leveraged its largest sedan to incorporate successful technologies tested in export models before trickling down mainstream.
This approach positioned Crown consistently at Japan’s executive forefront bridging the gap separating modest econoboxes from unattainable foreign makes catering specifically to wealthy clientele or government official use.
By the late 1980s and the start of Japan’s speculative
bubble zenith, official state car duty, and rising Yen strength afforded Toyota engineers unusual flexibility in developing the debut 1990 S130 fifth generation Crown. They ambitiously benchmarked rival Mercedes-Benz S-Class stretching beyond familiar large sedan conventions to welcome the coming decade.
Enter The Toyota Crown 1990 Ultimate V8 Executive Express
While earlier Crowns relied almost exclusively on inline-6 power, Toyota’s new flagship incorporated two distinct bespoke V8 powerplants aimed squarely at matching German luxury expectations. The base 4 liters 1UZ-FE quad cam 32 valve unit generated nearly 250 horsepower, while a hand-assembled 4.5 liter 2UZ-FE range-topping variant pushed horsepower above 280. These buttery smooth and powerful V8s arrived years prior to equivalent Lexus divisions, instantly elevating Crown away from commercial taxi applications.
Some government official variants accessed even a twin-turbocharger suped-up 2UZ-FE boasting over 300 horsepower – essentially creating a muscle car sleeper sedan capable of secret supra nationalism escaping unwelcome advanced notice. Distinct wider fender lines accommodated larger 18-inch wheel options underneath for improved stability. While export sales languished, for domestic royalty and high society, this S130 Crown stood proudly at Japan’s apex serving elite power circles exclusively for years defining early 1990s ambition.
Pioneering Next Generation Electronic Advancements
Just as significant as the Crown transformation came underneath sheet metal too. While the curvy exterior adopted a six-light greenhouse layout mirroring German contemporaries to shake boxy 1980s design limitations, Toyota loaded S130 examples with bleeding-edge tech making Lexus debuts years later seem dated comparatively upon launch.
A specialized electronic modular air suspension enabled variable ride height control – rare in this pre-internet era pointing towards semi-autonomous mobility. Inside the lavish four-passenger cabin, Toyota installed a microwave vehicle navigation module with a pop-up color CRT display – predating GPS-guided standardization common in economy cars today nearly 30 years on.
Voice commands, integrated TV reception, power everything, triple-zone climate control, and safety enhancements cemented the 1990 Toyota Crown’s premier position leading Japan’s prestigious sedan hierarchy for the remainder of a prosperous economic decade.
Toyota’s gambles in rolling out multiple unprecedented technologies paired luxury styling with over-engineered V8 engines for the 1989 Crown redesign proved clairvoyant cementing strong sales until 1997 before Japan’s economy spiraled downwards. But for one glorious moment, this S130 series shined brightly leading the industry at home towards a promising high times before fading slowly into obscurity.
It carried flag planting Toyota’s automotive might at the highest level surprising given the conservative positions associated with loyal brand devotees today. Crown represents marque one uniquely Japanese still echoing aspirations matching peers internationallybut staying confidently independent road less traveled trusting in local excellence above global conformity.