CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (December 2020) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

Welcome to part two – there will also be a part three this time, because I’ve been busy over Christmas. I’ve posted one of these weird Town Car stiff-wagons before (it’s a “first call” hearse, designed to move bodies to a funeral home), but this was a closer encounter. And as it took place in the late afternoon twilight, on a cold and cloudy day, quite an eerie one… A fitting end to a morbid year.

This month was under the sign of the GMT 600, somehow. There are always a few of these about, but December was thick with these big boys. Most were Chevrolets, but this GMC-branded and Transformers-badged one was too comical to pass up.

By contrast, some of the bowtie-badged ones were a bit worse for wear…

That includes this uncommon campervan conversion…

And this less than stellar Astro van (which is not a GMT 600 derivative, I realize.)

Continuing with the Chevy truck vibe: a curiously orange C/K (a..k.a GMT 400).

The second HHR I’ve seen here – in very good nick, too. It’s at least a decade old, but looks like it just left the showroom. “Rat Fink Fever” indeed…

I get that, for most of you, these big Fords are the definition of mundane, but it’s the first one I’ve seen in the metal. I haven’t been in the US in over a decade, do I haven’t been exposed to these. And boy are they ugly. So ugly I couldn’t even take a decently-focused photo of it.

Compare and contrast, if you will, with this classic Dodge Tradesman. I’ve caught this one on the go before, but happened upon its lair, where it was possible to photograph it more closely.

That interior is something else! Never seen an octagonal steering wheel before…

Keeping it in the Mopar family with this rather nice shot (If I may say so myself) of a Chrysler 300C wagon next to a Toyota Crown S170 and a Daihatsu Gino. In some ways, this is the most Japanese photograph you’ll see in this post.

To close the American section, here’s another mystery car. The license plate never lies. What are we thinking – Cadillac Eldorado? T-Bird? Continental?

Let’s move on to ze German stuff, ja? In a small alley, saw this Opel and went: “Huh… that’s just a 25-year-old Vectra.” Then I did a double take and thought: “Wait… A 25-year-old Vectra in a small Tokyo alleyway?” Opel, Vauxhall and Holden are definitely not the most commonly-seen GM marques over here.

Three noteworthy Benzes this month, starting with this late model R107 in US-spec. It’s crazy how the quads and the botox bumpers change this car’s character.

I’m starting to warm up to the R129. They’re not exactly rare yet, but have a definite 20th Century charm to them.

There are far fewer Brabus Benzes than AMGs (which are almost common in Tokyo); if genuine, this W124 wagon would be a rare bird even in Stuttgart.

I caught this one before, but it was at night. Then I saw it coming towards me one Sunday morning. Lovely sight either way, but the daytime photos were a lot easier to do.

Beetle-wise, I have encountered a few Mexican bugs of late. This white one was particularly nice; I like the lack of turn signals on the front wings. Makes for a neater front end, in my view.

But a Wolfsburg-made ’66 in green will always take the cake. Positively scrumptious.

Not sure why, but there were a lot of interesting Volvo 240 wagons about in late 2020 Tokyo. This one had an unusual gaze, which I had not seen before.

Another pristine blue beauty, but this time with chrome mirrors and the uber-cool JDM tiny-logo parking pole…

Finally, a later model in riveting red. The condition was so mint fresh I almost froze solid looking at it.

Again with the Citroën C6? Sabrebleu! (As no French person exclaimed since the Great War.) What’s the deal? I’m seeing more of these here than I ever did back in Europe.

For some reason, I caught most of the last decade’s Aston Martin line up this month. Starting with this Vantage convertible – a lovely red on red…

The rare Virage coupé, produced for only 18 months in 2011-12…

And the Rapide saloon – this is the second one I’ve caught, but this time, it wasn’t in motion. Awfully nice cars, those Astons. More subtle than Rollers, sexier than Jags and better looking than Bentleys.

In the realm of supercars though, few can rival the McLaren mystique. Not necessarily my cuppa, but you have to admit these are impressive machines.

Enough carbon fiber, LEDs and electronics – this is Curbside Classics, for crying out loud! According to the license plate, we have a 1966 BMC Mini Traveller before us, with actual bits of wood on the outside, if you please.

There’s probably just as much timber inside one of these old Rollers…

Or inside this absolutely immaculate Jaguar XJ40. Can’t remember the last time I saw one this nice.

Hello there, Miss Lotus. We’ve met before, haven’t we… Nice to see you out and about!

Some Italian dolce to finish on a sweet note? These Alfa GTV coupés may not be as charismatic as their RWD predecessors, but they still have that Alfa mystique. Only skin-deep? Yes, but it’s quite a skin.

The Fiat 500 is certainly no shrinking violet in the charisma department. I caught another one that had the double benefit of standing still and being a much rarer variant – I hope to be able to write that up as soon as.

See you tomorrow for part three – my New Year’s present to you.