CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (January 2021) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

Hey, time for a recap again. Truth be told, I thought I would give this one a miss, as I spent about half the month at home in quarantine and winter temperatures have dampened my enthusiasm for the outdoors in general. On top of which, my smartphone tried to commit suicide by drowning. I rescued it, but it now the photos are coming out very weird due to condensation issues. Never mind, that was before last Sunday.

What happened last Sunday? I went to Ebisu, in the western part of the city. And though my area up north is pretty nice, Ebisu / Meguro is several notches nicer. In one Sunday afternoon, I bagged so many exceptional CCs it was unreal. And it meant I needed to share. The title pic is a great example: a sublime and svelte Honda S800 roadster next to an overweight-looking Aston. It was hard to keep up.

I also found a bunch of interesting cars is an industrial area north of where I live. Stuff like this modded 1990-98 Honda Today “Van.”  It’s not clear why, but these were made pretty much alongside the 2nd gen Today and actually was more popular than the model that was supposed to replace it. That’s what some in the French classic car world might all “pulling a (Citroen) Dyane”.

Speak of the devil, here’s a 2nd gen Today, made between 1993 and 1998. This one is a later model, and also slightly modded for a more aggressive look. There really aren’t too many kei cars from this era still around. They look much smaller than the 2-meter tall robot-faced cubes they make these days.

I’m not so well-versed in the realm of the two-wheelers, but this looked like a very old and lovely little Honda, so I snapped it up. Seems this might be a 1969-73 CB175.

This 1978 Isuzu 117 XC was a bit surplus to my requirements, as I have a better late-model 117 coupé in store already. But hey, it’s still a cool addition to any post. Nice interior, too.

We’ve met this one before – ‘twas on a rainy night, a few months ago. For about a year, I never saw this Bellett without its cover, but this month, it was bared and has stayed that way.

Oh and there was even a Mk1 VW Golf parked next to it, because why not. Pretty sure I’ve seen that Golf before too. It will be featured in tomorrow’s post regardless.

Not much in the way of Mitsuokas this month. Well, apart from that Orochi I posted yesterday and this 1st generation (2008-18) Himiko roadster that had a literal trunk on its rear end.

Let’s tackle the Toyota chapter – there are always a lot to go through, and this month was no different. This is the same Origin I posted about a few weeks ago, but seen in a different setting. Still a very cool car…

And here are a couple extra ones I saw in Ebisu last Sunday – on the same street, no less. These are rare. Not quite as rare as Flying Pugs, but still not an everyday sighting. Usually.

Other notable Ebisu highlights included this white VG40 Century, probably from the ‘80s. First time I’ve ever seen one in this colour. Black is really the only thing that works well on these.

Still caught in Ebisu: an E90 Sprinter Carib in absolutely pristine condition. (Sometimes, my camera does weird things to the colour these days. Occasionally, the results are actually pretty cool.)

This post would not be complete without an X70 Mark II wagon. This pre-1991 “LG Grande Edition” had a baby seat in the back and a big chrome rack on its roof. If only it had the fender mirrors, I would have declared it fit for T87.

Mark II saloons of the X80 generation (1988-95) and their Chaser / Cresta equivalents also remain fairly common on the streets of Tokyo. Almost invariably white, in perfect nick and probably owned by the same guy since it came off the showroom floor.

We’ve discussed Japanese license plates a few times. This is not just to show you a very nice and dignified late ‘90s Crown Majesta S150, but also what a Japanese diplomatic plate looks like: white on blue, five numbers plus one kanji (Chinese character), but that’s it.

Crown S130 wagons were also seen. Several, in fact. The problem is finding one that was not overly modified like this one. Not a fan of those wheels, for example. I’m going to have to start getting picky about these.

Now this one was more interesting. For one thing, it had the right wheelcovers. The tyres were a bit strange, but that’s not a big issue. The paint on the whole car would have been a more pressing problem, if I were the owner. That and getting a proper steering wheel instead of that toy-like utensil.

The interior was rather strange. There is about zero chance that this was the original upholstery. Nobody would have ordered a 4-speed manual Crown wagon with leather, which would only be an option on the higher-end Royal Saloon trim in any case. The result is odd, but to each his own.

Can’t let a month pass by without a nice old Land Cruiser, can we?

Compared to the rest of the world, there are relatively few Toyotas named Camry here. Not sure why, but one reason might be that half of the old Camry models were also sold as Vistas. That was the case for this late ‘90s Camry V40, a model which I understand was not sold in places such as North America, where the “wide” Camry took over. I might try and throw some Lumière on the subject at some point, but not today.

Final Toyota for this month, this mid-‘70s Celica GT Liftback was modified beyond salvation, sorry to say. These are so beautiful in stock form, but in this colour and with these flared wings… ugh!

Only one Mitsubishi worth our while in January, but it’s a pretty unique one. I’m really no expert on these, but it looks like a 1998 Lancer Evo V. Given what’s written on the windows, there should be a couple Finns out front, too. I prefer having those in the rear, but hey, it’s not my car.

Only one Mazda was sighted too, but boy what a Mazda! This Series 1 (1977-79) Cosmo AP Landau is of course a rotary-powered (I asked the owner, who spoke a few words of English) and it’s a manual. But as it’s lacking license plates, I gather it’s not exactly a runner. Ah well…

The lone Daihatsu will be (drum roll please) an Atrai Classic that wants to look like a Daimler bus. Funnily enough, I already wrote one of those up a couple years ago, when I encountered one in Thailand. Predictably, this one is in better shape.

We’ve now reached the part of the grand tour dedicated to Nissan. I found a very nice S13 Silvia last year and have yet to write it up. Here’s a less remarkable one (but still presentable) in the meantime.

Skipping the unloved S14, we go to the S15 Silvia directly. The last of the line, but one of the nicest Japanese coupés of the late ‘90s. This one sported a particularly twee kind of personalized license plate that I hadn’t seen before. Very odd, very Japanese.

I recently wrote up a white Cedric Y32 Brougham, so here’s a black Gloria Y32 Grand Turismo, unfortunately coated in dust. The dark paint and the quad lamps really change the car’s character though.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Rasheen. I see them on occasion, they’re not quite as rare as I thought they were initially. Still a weird-looking car, but in a good way.

Somebody loved this Stanza T12, a quintessence of the late ‘80s (and not in a good way) in refrigerator white, so much so that they decided to make it their accessorized and slightly modded pride and joy.

Two noteworthy Skylines this month. Age before beauty, we start with an early ‘80s R30 saloon, all edges and flats, but dressed like an RS coupé. Not sure anyone would be convinced by this – high performance and four-doors were often seen together in many iterations of the Skyline, but I seem to recall that the R30 was not one of them. (I may well be wrong, of course – someone will know, I’m sure.)

Some folks call the R34 (1998-2001) the last true Skyline, and I think they might have a point. It’s the last one to feature a straight-6 and the last one made prior to the Ghosn era, when Nissan was administered various admixtures of Renault, Mitsubishi and Samsung, as well as a healthy dose of economic realism. The Skyline name was too glorious to just chuck away, but the content certainly changed beyond recognition. Seems I’m going to have to do a post on these too, someday…

Before we move to the final car, just a funny photo of a genuine home-made woodie. And stick an extra roof on there, too. You never know.

So our dessert of the month will be a succulent little Suzuki Fronte GX Coupé, a kei car made between 1971 and 1976 whose distinctive body was penned by Giugiaro. The two-stroke 356cc triple, now water-cooled, produced 34-35hp. Despite said engine being in the tail, the Fronte Coupé’s grille was no dummy, as the radiator was placed in front, which also helped weight distribution.

How’s this for a parting shot. A rare ‘70s Suzuki photobombed on both sides by a Lambo (one of five I saw that afternoon) and, on the right towards Ebisu station, a gen-you-wine ’32 Ford “Deuce Coupe” hot rod, which will be posted sometime, just as soon as I can get to it.

See you tomorrow for the foreign stuff.