CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (January-February 2022) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

The dead of winter is a great time for CC spotting in Tokyo. After close to a decade living in places like Bangkok, the cold (but usually above freezing) and dry climate makes for a very appealing proposition and makes one eager for a stroll. Kicking things off with Nissans – two of them together, in fact. This late ‘70s-‘80s Sunny B120 pickup shacked up with a circa 2000 Skyline GT-R R34, just to show that the term “two-door RWD Nissan” can be illustrated in very varied ways.

This later model Sunny is a gas station’s commercial conveyance. It is used to transport inflammable goods, as signified by the grille-mounted “Danger” sign. Those vehicles are almost invariably tired old pickups.

Not quite as old (or tired) as this Datsun 1500, though. We’ve seen it before, but it’s too nice to pass up.

Lots of Skylines, as per usual. We’ve also had the pleasure, but I kinda like this shot. You should have heard the ruckus that thing made peeling off.

Same with these 1985-89 R31s. Yes, that’s R31s plural…

It looks nearly identical, but I like this one better – those BBSs are more tasteful.

And here’s a late model R30 saloon. It can be tricky to tell the R30 and R31 apart, sometimes. They’re like volume 1 and volume 2 of the same album.

This R32, on the other hand, was a sad sight. Quite a few of this generation are rotting away like this – older cars are usually in better nick.

And finally (for the Skyline part of the tour), what seems to be a 1971-72 C10 GT-R Coupé – if genuine, a truly legendary car.

Not a Skyline, but a 1986-90 Langley. These reskinned N13 Pulsars were sold through the Prince network, so they received Skyline-esque styling.

I did a double take when I found this one, as it looked very similar to the C130 Laurel GTX I wrote up a few months ago, albeit in a different location.

But no, this is not the same car. Just the same model, body variant, trim, colour and lowered suspension, but different wheels. And this one has its original license plate, which the other one did not. Pity I found this one second, as it was a lot easier to photograph.

Keeping it classic with a Fairlady Z – a 1975 car, according to the license plate. This one was a bit too quick for me, but I also found a stationary one recently. To be posted sometime…

There were also a number of nice 1989-91 Paos sighted, one of which should be decent enough to eventually be made into a stand-alone post. Love these.

Paos are almost always pastel blue or light green. So seeing a beige one was actually surprising. I need to look into Pao colour schemes – or perhaps someone can enlighten us in the comments section?

Here we go again: obligatory Y30 Cedric / Gloria wagon moment. This one was a perfectly preserved specimen, photographed in front of the historic Tokyo Station.

This one seems to be a base model Cedric.

Even has a column shifter, which strangely enough is not super common on these. Door mirrors do make them far less cool, I must say.

This is the PU11 Maxima they had in Japan in the mid-‘80s – in its genuine hardtop glory. This one has the turbocharged 2-litre V6 good for 170hp. Nowadays, this nameplate is only used in foreign markets; it only lasted about a decade on the JDM.

These late-model (1989-92) F31 Leopards are quite chunky, but rather nice. I also found a pre-facelift car that will have to be written up sometime soon.

I was passing by a Nissan showroom on Ginza (Tokyo’s equivalent of 5th Avenue, Knightsbridge or the Champs-Élysées, great place for CC-spotting) and saw this. It’s the new Fairlady Z, out later this year as a 2023 model.

Very cool design, modern with a few well-executed retro accents. Heads will turn.

Onward to the Mitsubishis. This 1998 Lancer Evo V was a strange sight. Those tiny wheels look lost in that bloated body…

Not sure that anyone actually wants an E31 Eterna (1988-92), but if you had to, this ZR-4 would be the one to get: 240hp under the hood. Love the stick-figure-pissing-on-a-Mitsubishi-emblem sticker next to the rear wiper.

The third Proudia I’ve ever seen! Only 1300 of these were made, and they’re now over 20 years old, so well into banger territory for JDM luxobarges. But get this: lightening struck twice in February 2022…

I found this much more cooperative Proudia a few days later.

Now, this one is the real find of finds, as it’s an ultra-rare V8-powered model.

Just one wafer-thin kei, Monsieur. The only Daihatsu of the post: the very tiny 1992-98 Opti. Once probably common as dirt, now quite unusual, it’s yet another of those Unremarkable-but-rare ‘90s JDM contraptions.

Hondas were relatively plentiful, but in the case of this 1993-97 5th-gen Accord wagon, also somewhat in need of a wash. Happens to the best of us.

A yellow Beat is like a kei-sized ray of sunshine. Not exactly light-speed fast, but definitely leaves one beaming.

No idea why this violently pink City cabriolet, which was being serviced at a neighbourhood auto shop, sports a Dutch oval sticker.

It’s hard to let a red NSX burble by without a glance and a couple of quick snaps.

Not too many Mazdas, but at least this one was a novelty: a 1988-91 Persona. This is a reskinned and high-trimmed Capella / 626 hardtop saloon. Pity as no way to access the rest of the car to document it more thoroughly.

We’ve seen this trike in the previous edition of the T87 Singles Outtakes, but I could only get a front shot that time. Here it is in its full glorious profile.

And here it is with its little companion, a Subaru 360 that has seen better days.

Speaking of which, here’s one of those caught on the go. The loud buzz and the smell of the two-stroke were just as arresting as the visuals, I can tell you.

Compared to the Daihatsu Opti discussed above, the Subaru Vivio is still a fairly habitual sight. This is the rarer T-Top targa variant though, made by Takada between 1994 and 1998.

I really like the look of this Vivio. It’s like they channeled the business coupes of the ‘30s / ‘40s.

Can’t delay it much longer: we must address the Mitsuoka situation. The Viewt of the month, as per usual, in the present case a newer K13.

This Ryugi wagon prowling the side streets of Ginza is a bit more interesting, surely. If they made a Japanese version of the Addams Family, I’d like to think they would be driving something like this…

Well, actually, a good old Toyota Mark II wagon would also do the job perfectly well.

So we’ve reached Toyota territory. And speaking of working vehicles, here are a couple of present-day S220 Crown commercial cars (the 15th generation – quite an achievement in itself!) for two different kinds of clients: taxicab for working stiffs and hearse for no-longer-working ones.

Let’s ease back into the 20th Century (and the land of the living) with this AE92 Levin GT-Z, circa 1990-92.

Back in the early ‘90s, the global Camry and the JDM Camry/Vista started to diverge quite starkly. This is a 1994-98 Camry V40 “Lumière” (WTF?). Not too many of these left prowling the streets, compared to contemporary Windoms, Mark IIs or Coronas.

By way of illustration, here’s a Mark II (X100) saloon of that era (1996-2000), sporting a traditional Japanese new year decoration. Yes, some folks still do that. Quaint.

Someone is restomodding their X40 Mark II Coupé. Metallic mauve or matte black? The suspense is untenable.

Still plenty of these X80 Mark IIs around. Probably the best-proportioned Japanese saloon of the late ’80s.

The Z20 Soarer was the direct rival of the Nissan Leopard seen near the top of this post. Those Soarers sold like hotcakes, while the Leopard was a dud. Life is unfair.

Had I not found and posted a silver one last year, this red Sera would have made for a very suitable CC feature.

As it is though, it’ll just have to be tucked in this omnibus of outtakes, because Seras are ice-cool and red ones with matching hubcaps look bloody great. Or just bloody.

Shades of the early ‘90s again with this chauffeured VG40 Century. The plates are as old as the car, and the chauffeur didn’t look too recent, either.

Final Toyo of the post: another S800 caught on the road – this one with its original ‘60s license plates. These make a terrific noise, reminding the Frog in me of the Panhard flat-twin. And they’re downright gorgeous, to boot.

Final car of the post: an Autozam AZ-1. These are kei legends in their own right as well, being radically styled, mid-engined and gullwing-doored, if that’s a term. Too many eyes on this one, so only managed a few pics. Like the S800, I’m hoping to find one someday that’s more cooperative and write it up properly.

This time, we’ll end things on two wheels. This thing is a complete mystery to me. Looks ancient, at least bits of it do. I really know next to nothing about classic bikes, so perhaps someone out there will be able to tell us what we’re looking at here.

And finally final, this lowered and customized Honda Fusion was quite a sight. Was about two feet tall – for those who value looks and a massive sound system over safety and comfort.

See you tomorrow for the imports!