In-Motion Classic: Toyota Crown Royal Extra Estate – Wrong White Whale


We all have a white whale. An obsession, what makes us go where we would not and ask questions we shouldn’t, what gives life its zest (and its disappointments). My number one automotive white whale, as you might have guessed, is a certain Czechoslovak streamliner.

* sigh *

* sigh *


Fat chance of finding that here in Myanmar. But we migrants are nothing if not adaptable, so I recalibrated my personal Melville-O-meter towards the kind of cars that one might actually encounter here. (I will also digress briefly and readily admit that I never read Moby Dick. If you did, you’re a better person for it. End of digression.)

Yes, “Kujira” conveniently happens means whale in Japanese. We all knew that.

Yes, “Kujira” is Japanese for “whale.” We all knew that.


Albino cetaceans can constitute a group of more than one. That’s where Ahab got it wrong – he was only looking for a single white whale. That way madness lies. So I have a white whale Mazda (the Mk 1 Cosmo), a white whale Nissan coupé (’70s Silvia) and sedan (’65-’72 President), and so on. I have several for Toyota, given their pretty diverse range.  The S 60 / 70 “Kujira” Crown – preferably in estate garb – is my white whale Toyota Crown. Alas, these Kujira Crowns are nowhere to be seen here, though I did see one or two in Bangkok a few years ago. The many Crowns that can be found in Rangoon are all saloons and the oldest ones I have seen are early ‘80s.

But wait – what’s that just ahead?


Thar she blows! Kujira desu! Well no, not quite. But it’s still uncommon, even in the JDM fun-park that is Burma. It seemed to be a 9th generation S 140 Crown (1991-1995). I didn’t manage to take a photo of the front, but I did see that it looked like this.


It looks a bit weird to me – like the front was designed about ten years after the rear. The coolest thing by far: the double rear wipers. Does any other car have these?


A “Royal Extra” (with cheese?) indeed.



I did find a Toyota I had been on the lookout for this week (not a Crown), but I need to get better pictures and do a spot of on-line research… So sayonara for now.