The Chaser was first produced in July 1977 with chassis codes X30, X31, X40 and X41. They were powered by the 4 cylinder 1.8L 3T-U, 4 cylinder 2.0L 18R-U and 6 cylinder 2.0L M-U/M-EU engines - all single cam engines tuned for economy rather than performance. All models were listed as typical of larger Toyota sedans.
Production swapped to the X51 and X61 Chaser in 1980 with the addition of the 6 cylinder 2.0L 1G-EU (single cam) and 1G-GE (twincam) engines.
The boxy but elegant shaped X70 was launched in 1984.
In 1989, the X81 series of Chasers were introduced to the Japanese market. The following models were offered: XL, XG, Raffine, SXL, Avante, Avante Twin Cam 24, GT Twin Turbo and Avante G, with the GT Twin Turbo model the most powerful variant, powered by the 1G-GTE engine putting out 210PS (207hp/154kW) at 6200 rpm. The Avante G model was the highest special edition model in terms of equipment. In August 1989, 2 more models were added to the Avante lineup: the Avante G-L, an even more luxurious model of the Avante G (which was already highly equipped for a car of the time), and the new Avante G, with a 3.0L normally-aspirated 7M-GE engine replacing the 2.0L supercharged 1G-GZE from the previous model.
In August 1990, there were major revisions to the entire Chaser lineup and some of the models received entirely new engines. The top-range models, Avante G and GT Twin Turbo, received the new 1JZ engine, the same type that powers the flagship model JZA70 Supra, although the 3.0L Avante G remained part of the line. The Avante G 2.5 received a normally-aspirated 1JZ-GE engine with a maximum 180PS (178hp/132kW) at 6000 rpm, while the GT Twin Turbo received the powerful turbocharged 1JZ-GTE twin turbo engine capable of 280PS (276hp/206kW) at 6200 rpm, the maximum horsepower allowed under Japanese regulations. These 2 models were only available in 4-speed automatic transmission.