Dealer Outtakes: The Curious Cars Of Motorman Imports

I was strolling the forecourt of Motorman Imports the other day, checking out some V36 Skylines (Infiniti G37s), when I started chatting with the salesman. Some of you may remember that, way back in 2016, this was where I photographed and shared with you a Japanese reikyusha funeral car based on a Toyota LandCruiser. I mentioned that to the friendly young salesman and he beckoned me to the giant shed where more curiosities awaited.

Apparently that reikyusha took a long time to sell. That’s understandable, given the niche audience in Australia for ornate Japanese funeral cars. Well, this hearse is going to take just as long to sell.

Aussie readers will recognize this hearse is based on an AU-series Ford Falcon wagon. For context, this is what one of those looks like.

For more context, this is what a typical Australian hearse looks like. It seems American hearses tend to conceal the contents of the cargo bay while Aussie and British hearses have large windows.

This? It’s not like any hearse I’ve ever seen. It’s somewhat normal-looking for the side – more like a stretch limousine than anything – but the rear is bizarre. Not much room for anyone to clamber in there so you’d hope the coffin slid out with ease.

It gets weirder. Moving around to the front, we find…. A Rolls-Royce frontend. Oh, hearse manufacturer, you’re not fooling anyone.

Here’s a closer look at the frontend. Not a total hack job but very incongruous.

The wheels also don’t match. Couldn’t they have swiped some from a Fairlane or LTD?

The shed was full of the bizarre and the exotic and, as I had a lunch engagement, I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to truly capture it. You’ll notice a Morgan in the background of some of these photos, plus an Aston Martin DB7 that won’t move under its own power. In the foreground is a Nissan March (Micra) convertible.

Here’s another March convertible. Looks a bit different, doesn’t it? That’s because this is Mitsuoka’s version, called the Viewt, which was designed to resemble the 1963 Jaguar Mark II. Mitsuoka, of course, is a boutique purveyor of Japanese cars given retro redesigns. It’s rather amusing to see a couple of these Viewts parked next to a Daimler DS420, a car from the era and class of which they’re trying to emulate.

The salesman advised me the glut of Marches and Viewts in the shed was because they were recently included under the Australian Government’s Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles Scheme (SEVS). All cars made under 1989 must meet two out of four SEVS criteria to be eligible for import to Australia and they must then be complied to meet safety and emissions standards. Anything prior to ’89 can be imported without modification.

Finally, we have two London taxis imported from Japan. As with a lot of the cars at this JDM dealer, the mileage on these is quite low with only 15-20,000 miles on the odometer of each – certainly much lower than an actual cab in London. These were used as wedding cars back in Japan; the black one has a 2.7 Nissan diesel, the white one a 2.2 gas engine from a Land Rover.

The owner of Motorman Imports certainly has a sense of humor and loves to acquire left-field vehicles, even if there’s little chance they’ll sell. I’ll have to make the trip again some time to see what else has wound up in the shed.

Related Reading:

Curbside Classic: The Japanese Retro Trial (2nd Witness) – Mitsuoka Viewt K12

Curbside Classic: 1998-2002 Ford AU Falcon – Proven Mechanicals, Avant-Garde Styling