CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (January-February 2024) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

Here we go again for another round of the odds and sods of the Tokyo CCs. I know I hesitated to give this regular series a miss last time, but there are just too many to keep them all to myself. We’ll begin proceedings with Mitsubishi and a gem of a Jeep 4-door Wagon parked in front of the Sakura tram depot – the last remaining old-style tram line in town.

I’ve gone by this car many, many times, but it was always under a tarp. I wondered what it was, but given the outline of the fender mirrors, I had an inkling it was an oldie. Turns out it’s a first generation (1978-83) Mirage 1600 GT in need of a little mechanical TLC.

You might remember these as the 6th gen (1987-92) Galant Sigma, but in Japan the hatchbacks were known as the Eterna.

For all you kei van connoisseurs out there, feast your eyes on a 4th gen (1985-91) Minicab Super DX with a 550cc 3-cyl. and 4WD.

Damned if this isn’t yet ANOTHER Flying Pug! I’ve written about these a couple of times, and I thought I was done. I mean, they’re so rare (139 units made!). This is the sixth one that crossed my path in five years. That’s some kind of Twilight Zone plot right there.

Even a rallye star like this 1996-98 Lancer Evo IV can be left out to rot. What a world.

The Daihatsu contingent is usually pretty thin (if it’s there at all) in these posts, but not this time. We’ll start with this cute little Opti Classic (1996-98), grinning from fender to fender.

Another abandoned car, but this time it’s a 1995-98 Daihatsu Mira Moderno. These could be had with a 3-cyl. or a 4-cyl. – both just under 660cc. This one had the triple.

Most Daihatsus are kei-sized, but not all of them. Check out this time-warp 1989-94 Charade 4-door saloon – or the “Social,” as they were marketed on the JDM. Thirty years and not a scratch!

Charade number two, a 4th gen coupé (1993-98) was also a sight for sore eyes. This De Tomaso-badged version was the sporty one, with a turbocharged 1.6 litre OHC 4-cyl. good for 125hp.

Just one Isuzu to report, but it’s this post’s Piazza de resistance. Har har har.

I’m not having much luck finding Mazdas, for some reason. In lieu of which, here’s a couple of their sub-marques from the ‘90s, starting with this 1991-98 Autozam Scrum kei van (actually a rebadged Suzuki Carry).

Kind of scruffy around the edges, but this is the first Ɛ̃fini-badged MPV I’ve caught. It has the facelifted front end, which would make it a 1995-97 model. These oversized (for Japan) RWD minivans were not hugely popular here.

We move from the obscure to the top dog – Toyota. We’ve seen this lovely Mark II before, but it was in the process of being cleaned. Well, it’s sure spotless now.

Can’t have one of these posts without an X70 Mark II wagon, can we? Superb deep green and grey two-tone combination on this one.

Two-tone also, but boy are these so-called Classics ugly. Only 100 were made though, so at least one doesn’t have to endure their presence all that often.

Pristine 30-year-old Corollas are not a common thing either. Worth a snap, I should think.

Funny how that Renoca nose completely transforms the oh-so-dull Probox’s character. Mind you, those wheels and the dark blue respray also play their part.

We’ve had a look at the 2nd generation Corona Exiv, but never the first (1989-93). Here is what those look like – quite attractive, especially compared to the very vanilla Corona T170 it’s based on.

Someday, I hope I’ll find the time to write up one of these final generation (1996-2001) X100 Crestas. There’s just a long list of more interesting subjects in my files…

Only a couple of Crowns worth reporting this time, both of the S130 variety. First, the svelte shape of the early model hardtop saloon (1987-91).

And a far more formal (yet younger, 1991-95) pillared saloon, probably very well-optioned, given that it has a larger engine – probably the 2.5 litre straight-6.

White is not a very common colour for G50 Centurys. Makes a nice change from the usual black. This is an earlier car, made sometime between 1997 and 2005.

Careful, that gen 1 (1980-85) Soarer is red hot!

Another classic ‘80s Toyota coupé falls victim to the dreaded silly wheels disease. Please donate generously so that, one day, we can overcome this terrible affliction.

Fine-looking machines, these A70 Supras. Well, usually. This one needs a little TLC. Then again, don’t we all?

Always an amazing sight, these little Sports 800s. But even more arresting is the sound that emanates from them – with that air-cooled flat-twin, it’s like an angry Japanese hornet buzzing by.

On the other hand, 2000GTs sound like miniature Ferraris. Which they sort of are.

I was in Bangkok over the holidays, so there will be a few Thai finds in this T87 Singles Outtakes edition as well. As far as Japanese marques are concerned, only this gen 2 (1972-78) HiLux, still hard at work as a minibus, will hail from the Siamese capital. But there will be more in tomorrow’s foreign car post.

Quite a few Mitsuokas on the menu for this post, starting with the ever-unnerving 4th generation (2010-14) Galue, based on the Nissan Fuga (a.k.a Infiniti M).

Compared to its descendants, the 1st gen Galue (1996-2001) is almost tame. Emphasis on the word “almost.”

It may be a lowly Toyota Fielder wagon to begin with, but once Mitsuoka are done with practicing their art, you get a brand new Ryugi limo. Or a hearse, I’m not 100% sure – Mitsuoka have a thriving side business as a hearse maker, whether with their own marque of cars or other makers’ stuff.

Though I’ve seen a few about, this is one of the few Mitsuokas I’ve not had the occasion to document in detail. It’s a 2000-02 Yuga, a London taxi pastiche based on the Nissan Cube.

Suzuki Cappucinos are just irresistible, especially in this condition and colour. Just needs a little cinnamon on top.

Probably the oldest Carry I’ve ever come across: a 7th generation (1979-85) pickup, so from the 550cc era. These still had two-stroke engines, too.

Motorbikes (particularly modern ones) aren’t my usual wheelhouse, but add an extra wheel and a slipper-shaped side-car, and it’s a totally different ball game.

While we’re on the subject, I did find this little scooter just this week. If the Interwebs are to be trusted, this is an early ‘60s Fuji Rabbit Superflow 125 Model S-301, made by the same factory in Gunma prefecture that produced Subarus.

A few Hondas for your consideration. We’ve seen this one before – the very same one, in fact. It’s an acquired taste, to be sure. I think I’ve acquired it.

Well, I’ll be a dromedary! Someone seems to feel that a later gen 1 (1985-93) Honda Today would make for a good contender for a trophy of some sort. Certainly made me light up when I saw it.

Here’s what one of those would have looked like before it took up tobacco advertising.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 1989-95 Inspire was the executive Honda “hardtop” saloon. Pretty good-looking alternative to your Nissan Laurel or Toyota Mark II.

Can’t get enough of this shape. I believe this is an S600 roadster (1964-66), but it could be the S500 just as well – hard to tell those two apart. Soon to be featured on CC, mark my words!

The camber on those rear wheels is a little alarming. But then, most things about the Subaru 360 are.

Every time I see one of these SVXs, which is far from often, I cannot help staring. What a shape.

To be fair, late ‘90s WRXs are a dime a dozen, in these parts. I’d be far more interested in an earlier Impreza in Plain Jane trim – never seen one yet. But it’s still quite the twofer, making a fitting transition to the Nissan portion of this post.

The Z31 Fairlady (1983-89) was of more interest to yours truly. For whatever reason, there aren’t too many left around, compared to other Z cars.

Case in point: the iconic S30 type (1969-78) is a mainstay of these posts. And it will keep on being on in the present post.

Some of them have had a little work done, obviously.

Make that a lot of work done! Reminds me of someone who had way too much plastic surgery…

Thankfully, the Nissan showroom at Ginza will provide a mothballed 1970 example, straight out of their museum collection.

A true beauty, this one. This particular Nissan showroom, which we’ve visited before, is now firmly on my radar and has already yielded some choice finds. More to come from this location in this post, as well as in future stand-alone ones.

To close the Fairlady chapter, here’s a lovely late ‘60s 2-litre ragtop.

This D21 “Hardbody” must have led a charmed life. Just as straight and clean as it was when it rolled off the production line 30-odd years ago.

We’ve had a look at the R’nessa a while back. Here’s its Prince Store brother, the also-oddly-named Bassara (1999-2003) – another strange Nissan minivan that went nowhere. If you ever wondered why Nissan almost went belly up back then…

Overseas, these were known as the 200SX or 240SX. Over here, they were just 180SX due to having the 1.8 litre turbo. Cleanest one I’ve seen in a while – these are commonly modded and maimed to the nth degree.

Kinda like this poor C33 Laurel. Avert your eyes, Scott!

That’s better. I mean, it’s a C34 Laurel, so it’s objectively somewhat worse than the C33, but at least it’s not scraping the pavement.

The yellowing headlights and wheels accentuate the blandness of this car, which is quite a feat.

On the Cedric/Gloria front, a couple of interesting 330 models (1975-79) were deemed worthy of your consideration. This hardtop was pretty far gone, with its butt sticking out and moon discs on the front…

On the other end of the scale, an appropriately conservative black pillared saloon (which we’ve seen before) wafted by. Glorious Gloria indeed.

The evergreen and unavoidable Y30 wagon, ladies and genitals. You knew it was coming, and it never fails to appear in these posts.

It was a freezing morning when I happened upon this cool cat. Not exactly a snow Leopard, though. Maybe a frost Leopard?

Back to the Nissan showroom for a couple of very unusual cars, starting with this Roox …er… instrument? Its actual name is “Roox Suite Concept” and it was shown at the 2023 Tokyo Motor Show (though I don’t recall seeing it there, it must have been lost in the ocean of oddities exhibited at that event.)

I’d like to think that the rear seat there actually doubles as a toilet. Forget the Roland at the back, Nissan. You need a partnership with Toto for the ultimate in automotive restroom technology. And make a big push for 2024. Fortunately, mere meters from that wheeled atrocity was a remarkable machine that deserved more attention. See below.

Now we’re talking. Meet the 1967 Nissan R380 A-II, the last iteration of the Prince R380 – arguably the first true Japanese prototype racer. It has a 220hp 2-litre 6-cyl. (derived from the Skyline S54 engine) placed amidships.

This particular car was modified by Nissan in 1967 to set a number of speed records, so it was not raced as such. Note the Skyline taillamps…

Speaking of which, we have a few of those to see us out. A rather forlorn R33 saloon (1993-98), for starters.

Glad to see that there is at least one R31 hardtop (1985-89) still sporting stock wheels.

And there’s a Prince S54 Skyline GT (1964-68) to tie the whole post together. Might be my favourite of the lot, though the Toyota 2000GT and the Honda S600 would also have my vote.

Wait, weren’t we done? With cars, yes. But there were a few other vehicles that warranted a quick snap or two. Bear this one in mind, as we’ll see its inspiration tomorrow. As to the marque, I haven’t got the foggiest – Hino, Isuzu, Nissan?

If memory serves, this thing was built for Tobu Railways in 1954 and remained in service for 20 years. But the real show-stopper was the machine that was on the other end…

How’s this for a Googie choo-choo? Meet the Tobu 1720, in service from 1960 to 1991 as the “Deluxe Romance Car.” These electric-powered six-car multiple unit sets were fully air-conditioned and included two buffet cars and a saloon/lounge area with swivel seats and a jukebox. Romance? Well, depending on what record you picked…


That’s it for the JDM – see you tomorrow for the imports!