Found some postcards in a thrift shop. Of course I couldn’t help noticing that juicy Cedric in the corner.
Yep, it’s a Nissan 230 Cedric – this model in perhaps its finest form. I assumed it was a Taiwan-built YLN 802, but thanks to CCommenter HW I stand corrected . Behind, the even more delectable Alfetta GT – making this shot later than 1973. Not much later if you consider that blue suit flare. Behind them a T100-ish Corona and I’ll leave it to our extraordinarily deep knowledge pool here on CC with regards that bus and the barest edge of that truck..
The building is the Peak Tower opened in 1972. It was the work of Chung Wah Nan architects and sat in a dip in the ridgeline of the highest mountains over the harbour, located 396 meters above sea level. It featured a restaurant on the top floor and a cafe underneath, and was replaced by a completely new and ugly building in 1993. Shame.
Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminal with the grand view. Nice carpark. Both of them.
Harbour Tunnel – Hong Kong to Kowloon. Nice M-Bs.
I’m not sure I’d want to meet Juicy Cedric.
Juicy Cedric: a fun guy, but you wouldn’t let him babysit your kids.
The Peak Tower looks like it could have come out of Gerry Anderson’s ‘Thunderbirds’.
Smart (and then new) Duple Dominant coach coming over the railway bridge.
It’s astonishing that this building lasted on 21 years. Architectural fads go by pretty quickly worldwide, but I’m sure it’s magnified in Hong Kong, given real estate prices, etc. Too bad, because unique buildings like that add more character to an area than could ever be provided by the latest lifestyle center, or whatever replaced it.
Just looking at the Peak Tower postcard image, I never would have guessed that building was in Hong Kong!
I never heard of the Taiwanese Cedrics — I wonder how many of those are still around.
And finally, though I’m certainly no expert on Hong Kong, I’m guessing the Harbour Tunnel carries just a little bit more traffic on the average day now than what’s shown on the postcard.
I’ve long said that buildings go through a period where they’re too old to seem modern, but not old enough to seem historic. Looking at the peak tower today it seems cool because it’s an interesting piece of architecture from an earlier era, but I suspect people in 1993 just thought it was dated.
Edit: Come to think of it it’s the architectural version of what happens to old cars, when they hit the point where they’re not yet old enough to be considered classics, but are just old used cars.
Very true, but the speed in which it happened in this case is shocking. A 21-year lifespan for a fairly large (looks like maybe about 50,000 sq. ft.) building that was probably considered somewhat of a landmark when new.
Though in this case, the original design was rather faddish to begin with, and the space-age theme was likely past its Best-By date by 1972 when it opened. I’m sure those factors, and the hyper-growth of local real estate values there, accelerated its demise. But still, wow!
I was in HK in 2015 after my last visit in 1991. The “new” Peak Tower complex is an absolute monstrosity. As I left the tram, there was an ad for Bubba Gump’s. It’s sad to see overseas destinations turn into tacky facsimiles of Las Vegas.
The “new” Peak Tower is itself now 21 years old and is more an “amusement complex” than anything else.
That’s so-bad-it’s-good architecture.
I remember my Theater History prof saying that what is current (like Shakespeare in Elizabethan times) becomes “unfashionable” for a period of time and then comes back. In the US architecture from any previous period was generally considered unfashionable and whatever was current and modern was better. There was a large Victorian house near me in San Francisco that had been stuccoed over in around 1940, with a round streamline moderne window etc. Maybe someone has spent $100,000 turning it back into being Victorian by now. It wasn’t until around the 1960’s when enough people grew up and realized that art is art and we started getting historic preservation designations and tax breaks etc. In NYC the trashing of Penn Station put things in gear. Grand Central was almost lost on several occasions.
The topic here is, um, cars. They are so personal and we are children growing up in and around them and they symbolize freedom and being adult etc. And once they start just humming from place to place and driving themselves feelings might change also. But then there’s appreciation of 1950’s and 1960’s refrigerator design (at least by me) so you never know. Anything a human created, if they were trying to do something good, has some aesthetic/cultural value.
Any car from the 1950’s is seen today as an interesting period piece of commercial art. I think a 1961 Lincoln is still one of the peaks of automotive design, inside and out. Somehow I’m not sure that my Forester will be valued a bunch of decades in the future.
I used to think typical British cars from the 30’s or 50’s were just kind of mostly ugly and outdated for their period. Then I was watching a Foyle’s War and some prewar Woolsley or something changed my mind. Endearingly frumpy and also beautifully done in its own way!
“I think a 1961 Lincoln is still one of the peaks of automotive design, inside and out.”
“Somehow I’m not sure that my Forester will be valued a bunch of decades in the future.”
How I picture a Welcome to Hong Kong postcard from back in the day:
That is so surreal.
The Cedric is probably a diesel being a cab quite a few washed up here as ex taxis.
Thanks for the pics, Don. Brings back many childhood memories. RE: the Cedric Taxi: I don’t think any Taiwanese examples went to Hong Kong. Typically Cedric taxis are either Japanese built models supplied new to Hong Kong or used JDM models. I remember taking many trips in these wonderful machines.
Thanks for the clarification HW; I assumed the YLN cars made their way to the mainland as well as the HK and Macau outposts. Text amended.
Back then I don’t think anyone would have wanted to buy the Taiwanese version of a Japanese car, since the Japanese built ones would be pretty affordable already. Not only that, Yue Loong (YLN) probably won’t be too interested to build RHD cars for HK, Macau or other small RHD markets. IIRC they didn’t do much exporting until the 80s. Also, I don’t think mainland China would be too keen to allow anything come in from Taiwan back in the 70s…
The bus (air conditioned coach! Haha) is Japanese, common brands being UD (Nissan Diesel), Fuso (Mitsubishi) or Hino. I think this one is a Fuso but my memory’s a bit hazy.
Lovely picture of the Cross Harbour Tunnel too. Notice the extreme lack of traffic! It opened in 1972. By the 80s it was/is basically a constant traffic jam.
The double decker bus is a Daimler Fleetline. It was the first successful rear engined double decker in HK. Hong Kong versions were typically 33 feet long with extra seating vs UK counterparts by virtue of 3+2 (3 seats on one side of the aisle, 2 on the other) seating at each row rather than 2+2. They were nicknamed Jumbo due to the high passenger capacity.
A juicy Cedric diesel? More like a Stupendously Smelly and Slothfully Slow Cedric Sedan, (all pronounced ofcourse with an old man’s whistly “s’s”).
Ah, Cedric. ‘Twill always be one of the great silly names in cardom. Satirist Barry Humphries (Dame Edna to most) missed a trick when that car was released here, because his best character of all, whistling “s” old man Sandy Stone, would have been just in the age bracket to buy one. And only a very, very dull old bag of suburban cliches like Sandy could have bought one and not found the Soviet-looking barge comical in 1964.
Sandy, and perhaps our Don, if there in the day. He does love a good Cedric, does Don, which sounds like rude graffiti, but he knows what I mean. Also, by this model, they had wisely dropped the Cedric title, and anyway, as the Datsun 240 with the Z’s petrol six, it is reasonable to like it because they’re nice.
Further, I spy a Morris 1100 in the last shot, and I’d far rather be getting to where I wanted to go (possibly with airconditioning) in the Cedric than stopped overheating on a Hydrolastic lean in the tropical heat somewhere where I didn’t.
And now, just the idea of a “postcard” has become the stuff of quaint nostalgia. And let me guess, the other side contained a note from someone named Matilda saying something like “Having a marvelous time in Hong Kong, wish you were here!”
Obverse side unused. Will be sending this to a friend who has similar taste in architecture.
Wonderful find, Don! And blue-suited man gives off an extremely Pink-Floydian vibe from “Wish You Were Here” which couldn’t be more appropriate for a postcard image…
Old postcards are always fun period pieces, and the CC-worthy assemblage of vehicles is the icing on the cake here. Add buildings, fashion, and a somewhat exotic locale and it all comes together.
hehehe nailed it
These are great pictures, and I love that architecture. Great post!