The Toyota Crown Wagon features the legendary 1JZ-GTE engine and still, not many know about this awesome piece of machinery. Only two estate models were ever fitted with a JZ-engine, and this is one of them.
The Toyota Crown has been around ever since the 1950s. Only sold on the Japanese domestic market (JDM) the Crown competed against other domestic brands such as Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Honda. The Crown is often considered a midsize luxury vehicle and acted as a middle child to Toyota’s high-end luxury vehicles like the Century, or the Lexus brand. Although the Sedan variant of the Crown made up the majority of sales, a wagon variant was almost always available.
The Toyota Crown wagon (S170) was available for purchase for the first time in December 1999 and was in production until 2007. The Crown Estate had two different drivetrain options, AWD and RWD layout, and was fitted with a variety of different Inline-6 engine choices. Displacement varied between 2.0-3.0L and power between 133hp to 280hp in the most powerful engine choice (1JZ-GTE). Only a 4-speed and 5-speed automatic transmission was available.
Historically the Crown had almost always been available as a wagon/estate. But as Toyota saw falling sales for the wagon/estate it was decided that the S170 generation would be the last Crown to be featuring a wagon. Only about 5,000 estate models were manufactured by Toyota.
The S170 wagon was not really that successful. Most Japanese Businessmen/women had a tendency to purchase sedans. Which meant about 70% of all sales were sedans. But as the years have gone by, the popularity of the wagons increased and became really popular 10-15 years ago. As of today, the Crown Wagon is slowly disappearing from the roads. And while the Toyota Crown sedan is still in production today, the wagon was buried with the S170 generation, and to this day has yet to return.
It is quite easy to tell that the S170 Crown Wagon drew inspiration from the Mercedes C43 AMG wagon. Its flat face, big headlights, and distinguished grill all look very similar to the two brands. The chassis design looks very much the same with the long bonnet to fit the larger engine, as well as a straight and square-looking body shape. The C43 AMG arguably has some sleeker lines and does look a little bit “smoother” than the Crown Wagon.
All in all the S170 Crown Estate is a good-looking car. It was not designed to be obnoxious or sporty. The design inspires a presence of luxury and importance. The Crown was driven by lawyers, bankers, and brokers. And thus, giving the incent that the Crown was driven by people of significance. While that is no longer the case for the S170, it still gives off the sensation of a road presence. Especially for people who know what is beneath the bonnet.
The Toyota Crown came with a large inventory of different engine choices, most being 4/6-cylinder engines. And while it has had over a dozen different engine choices over its lifespan, there is one particular engine that we’re interested in. The 2.5L 1JZ-GTE Inline-6. Sadly, this engine version was only manufactured up until 2004, even though production continued until 2007.
The JZ-engine series debuted in 1990. The two variants the 1JZ and 2JZ were very similar, with the exception that the 2JZ had a 3.0L displacement compared to the 1JZ 2.5L. These engines were extremely durable and well built, and even with stock internals could hold power up to 600hp. The 2JZ was launched by Toyota as a way to directly compete with Nissan’s hugely successful engine the RB26DETT.
There are different variations of the JZ-series, but the one we’re interested in is the GTE version. The G in “GTE” stands for performance wide-angle DOHC (dual overhead cam), T stands for turbocharged, and E stands for electronically fuel injected.
As you now understand, the Toyota Crown wagon S170 received the 1JZ-GTE variant. Meaning the 2.5L Inline-6 produced an advertised 280hp at 6,200 RPM. Compared to the 2JZ-GTE which produced 280hp at 5,600 RPM since it had a larger displacement it produced peak power earlier in the rev range. Both the 1JZ and 2JZ likely produced well over 300hp in stock form but were advertised as 280hp according to the Gentlemen’s Agreement.
The S170 Crown wagon actually did receive two 2JZ variants, the 2JZ-FSE, and 2JZ-GE but these variants were not turbocharged and thus not as in-demand– unfortunately, the 2JZ-GTE was not available for the Toyota Crown.
There are many things that are desirable with the S170 estate, a JDM rear-wheel-drive 4-door wagon is not something you come across every day. But the real reason people would want to own the Toyota Crown Wagon is purely based on the engine. Aside from the Toyota Mark II Blit, the Toyota Crown is the only estate car that received the JZ engine, let alone the GTE version. And to be frank, the Toyota Crown wagon is a lot better looking than the Mark II Blit.
The 1JZ-GTE brings so much potential to the table. Sure, the S170 might be limited to its automatic transmission, but there are plenty of aftermarket brands providing automatic to manual transmission kits.
A Toyota Crown 1JZ Wagon with a manual swap is sure to turn some eyes. Not only will it be extremely rare, but it will also be an exceptional daily. The Crown itself is a very comfortable place to be and with just a simple tune you’ll easily have a super reliable AND comfortable 400-500 hp daily.
The 1JZ Toyota Crown Estate is a gem that should be treasured. 2 Years from now the 1999 Toyota Crown wagon will have surpassed the 25-year-old import law, and thus being allowed to be imported to the U.S.
The supply is already low, and even less so for the top-of-the-line 1JZ-GTE version. If this is a car you’d be looking to import, advice is to be quick on your toes once the import law passes, as we believe prices will sky-rocket just a few years after the S170 Crown has been allowed to be imported into the U.S.
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