CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (April-May 2021) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

Remember the post I wrote about a Bristol 406? Well, this Silver Dawn was sitting next to it. Quite a sight, these were the first all-steel factory-bodied Rolls-Royces. I hope to be able to document this one more thoroughly someday like I did the 406, but this particular part of town has already yielded several exceptional finds anyway (including last Monday’s Benz 500 E, for instance.)

The same street, a few meters away, usually has another Roller. That time, it was this RHD Silver Spirit, but the cars can be covered, so I keep going back there and finding new big British beauts and hope I can snap a couple photos. On sunny days, luck can be on my side.

This other Spirit is closer to what one would expect to find, actually. The two-number (on the top line) license plate tells us that this car got into the country back in the ‘90s at the latest, and it’s LHD, like all high-end foreign cars ought to be. Yes, even British ones.

We’re on a Rolls, so let’s Royce on. Now, I’m kind of allergic to these tank-like 21st Century R-Rs, but this one was quite a sight. That matte caramel colour was certainly unexpected, but the killer detail, which is kind of hard to make out here, was the crystal Spirit of Ecstasy. Because having a metal hood ornament is beyond common, daaahling.

In a completely different part of town, I found this… er… rather challenged Range Rover.

It’s a puzzle, this one. The wheels and mirrors both seem new and wrong, among many odd details.

And in yet another area (a very chic one, obviously), this unusual Bentley wafted by. They say the customer is always right, but sometimes “they” can be very, very wrong.

We’ve seen this Morgan before, but I ran into it again and couldn’t resist…

This Austin Mini Traveller was pretty scruffy, for a Tokyo car.

Who doesn’t love a Morris Minor? First one I’ve seen in this country. Lovely, jubbly and oh-so-bubbly.

My pick of the Brits in this edition will be, uncharacteristically, a Triumph. It’s not a marque that’s usually on my radar, but I’m partial to Heralds. Loads of character, thanks in no small part to Michelotti.

Not too many interesting French cars in Tokyo, unfortunately. But every once in a blue moon, one thinks: “Hold on, that’s a twenty-something year old Peugeot 406 wagon, and the world at large needs to know about it.” The exact thought process is murky, but here we are.

Doesn’t happen too often though. They can be sneaky – I almost didn’t pick up on the incongruity of this late ‘90s Renault Twingo’s presence here, as it seemed to perfectly blend into the local scene.

Older Xantias are a different matter. This one has aftermarket wheels and is otherwise pretty straight, but that fading paintjob says a lot about the legendary build quality of ‘90s Citroëns.

Not sure why this sucker was parked with its suspension set up high like that. Maybe to ensure its sewer pipe-like exhaust stays clear of the ground. At least the interior matches the exterior…

This is only the second 2CV I’ve seen in Tokyo! The place is crawling with Minis, Fiat 500s, Beetles and Renault 4s, but somehow the tin snail is not as iconic here as it is in certain European cities. C’est la vie.

I’m starting to see these more of these new Alpine A110s…

It’s a very nice shape, for a modern car. It even works in white, which is not always the case. A rare recent win from Renault.

By contrast, the Chevy SSR was seen as a bit of a dud for GM, despite being just as retro as the Alpine. Maybe the concept didn’t make sense. Or nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

In a similar vein, though this one actually sold pretty well, a PT convertible seen in Okinawa.

If you couldn’t tell already, the US-made vehicles seen during this spring of 2021 were, by and (extra-) large, pretty weird. I mean, even in their country of origin, how often do you see a pair of identical 25-year-old Cadillac sedans side by side? I had the Twilight Zone guitar riff in my head as I photographed this, I can tell you.

Next to that gruesome twosome, there was a fine-looking 1958 Eldorado Seville. Sadly, there was no way to go closer for a more detailed observation…

The Buick of the (bi-) month was this somewhat modded circa 1976 Regal Landau coupé. And again, it was unfortunately only visible in this rear three-quarter view. Not exactly weird, but somewhat unexpected.

This K5 Blazer was even more accessorized, almost a movie set vehicle. I saw the guy driving it, and he was definitely not some sort of ex-Marine, though looks can be deceiving… Not sure about the model year either, but that’s doubtless going to be debated in the comments.

I’ve caught these weird locally-made Lincoln “stiff wagons” a few times now, but they never fail to impress me whenever I see one. These are apparently used to move bodies to funeral homes, so they’re not exactly hearses, but definitely not ambulances either.

Speaking of the recently deceased, here’s a mid-naughties Saab 9-3 cabriolet, a rare sight in these parts. These earlier ones were made by Magna-Steyr in Austria.

So from Swedish-occupied Austria, let us move south to bellissima Italia and start, in good alphabetical logic, with Alfa Romeo. I’d not seen a first-series (1998-2003) 166 in ages, and it’s not graced these pages with its presence all that much, it seems. A shame, as this is the last of the big 6-cyl. Alfa berlinas, a long tradition of flawed gems.

I wrote up a white 1750 GTV a few weeks ago, and boom, I find another one prowling the streets. This has been happening far too much, lately. It’s not CC-hunting any more, it’s bloody Noah’s Ark.

Case in point: this is not the first Autobianchi A112 Abarth I’ve caught in Tokyo. Slight difference: this one is not a ‘70s rally car, it’s a mini-GTI of the ‘80s. It’s also a final (7th) series A112, made between 1984 and 1986, when the Autobianchi marque was on the way out.

I’ve photographed a few modern Ferraris, but decided to eliminate anything too recent from this post – I might do a stand-alone about a 21st Century Ferrari sometime. Just one exception with this decade-old black California, because I actually think this is one of the more attractive recent Ferraris and it’s not one I encounter very often. Front V8-engined, 7-speed transaxle, convertible tin-top, quite restrained PF styling – lots to like.

This F355 GTS, on the other hand, is definitely old enough to make the cut. I caught these Ferraris (and quite a few other cars in this post besides) in Ginza, Tokyo’s equivalent of Knightsbridge, the Champs-Elysées or Fifth Avenue, hence the Chanel and Cartier stores. Great place to watch the jet-set go by in their exotic wheels.

The real meat of the Italian automotive scene has to be the Fiat 500. I caught these two blue ones on the same day…

Weeks later, I found these two literally on the same street and minutes apart. Nice photobomb by the W124 wagon as a bonus!

I know I said I’d tone it down with the Pandas, but this one was so easy to photograph and so pristine, I just couldn’t help myself.

It’s an automatic, too! And it even looks like it has A/C. All with a mere 1.1 litre Fiat engine? The mind truly boggles. OK, so now I’ll lay off the Pandas. Promised.

Any Lancia is CC-fodder by default, but in finding this Musa, I managed to unearth perhaps the least interesting pre-Chrysler Lancia ever. That toothy grille and those rear lights mark it as a second series, so any MY between 2008 and 2012. Yawn.

What is the deal with all the Delta Integrales? I’ve caught quite a few in Japan by now, including a couple of immobile ones that I hope to write up for your reading pleasure in due course.

Still cannot resist this generation of Quattroportes… And there are a few on the streets here, too, so every once in a while, I just have to scratch that itch.

Tuk-tuks that look like this are necessarily made in Bangkok. I’ve encountered the odd one in Tokyo, but I found this large cache of Siamese three-wheelers in Okinawa, where the local weather seems to agree with them a lot more.

Let’s end on a symphonic note – the German cars, starting with the VWs. Nice old Typ 2 Transporter, meticulously patina-fied (patinated?), though I’d rather see it riding at stock height. If the license plate is anything to go by, this should be a ’58.

The universe saw fit to send forth many, many Squarebacks my way, these past few weeks. This one only appeared fleetingly, so it belongs here. But the others will have to have their own post – coming soon.

Why did I take a picture of this perfectly unremarkable Beetle? There was just something archetypal about it. It was relatively unmolested, had this non-too-common blue hue, tongue-in-cheek license plate, and was perfectly framed in that doorway… Do I need a reason for everything?

By contrast, this Golf cabriolet was so extensively over-customized, it needed to be documented just to be believed. The number of mods is pretty crazy, but the one I had never seen up to now (on a Golf, at least) was the LEDs replacing the headlamps.

Someday, I’ll find a very nice W126 and really go to town on it. This one wasn’t it. But there are plenty still about, so that will happen someday. Patience, T87, patience…

I’ve already caught this beauty a couple times, including when parked next to its Beetle alter ego. Seeing it sitting in the sun, absolutely gleaming and shiny like the world’s most perfect adult toy, forced me to take a few photos of it again. Probably my favourite M-B four-door ever.

What’s that red shape coming down the road? Hmm… best get the old smartphone ready, you never know!

Red is such a cliché for these late-model 356s, but at least, it helps for in-motion CC-spotting.

And to play us out, two fine examples of the BMW kind, starting with this E24 M6. At least, that what it looks like to my untrained eye…

But the real Bavarian star of this little compilation has to be this exceedingly rare (and supremely beautiful) 1967-68 BMW 1600 GT. Designed by Frua and launched in 1964 by Glas as the 1300 GT, this was one of the legacy cars that got a BMW roundel when they bought Glas in late 1966.

BMW just put their New Klasse’s 1.6 under the hood and installed the IRS in the back, grafted a double kidney grille out front and their trademark round taillights on the rear and that was that. Just 1259 of these were made in 14 months of production and, in the realm of 4-cyl. BMWs, this is pretty much as wonderful as it gets.

And that’s it for this edition of the Singles Outtakes. See you in August for the next one!