CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (January-February 2024) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

As per usual, there were more foreign cars than domestic ones sighted over the past couple of months. And it’s all going to be in one biiiig post, just to keep things together. We’ll kick off with the American metal and the number one marque that I see around here – Chevy. Lots of those ‘80s El Caminos about.

And when I say “a lot of ‘80s El Caminos,” I mean a lot…

The tonneau cover variant was even present for the occasion.

This Conquista was probably the best-looking of the bunch. There was some sort of prewar Ford-based custom in the background there as well – alas, impossible to capture.

Is there anything more pathetic than seeing a mid-‘80s Montecarlo SS slowly going to seed?

Camaros are strangely quite rare over here. I think this is the first circa 1980 Berlinetta I’ve seen here – in resplendent red, too.

Malaise-era Corvettes like this one are far more prevalent, in these parts. Might be one case when I’d favour the Camaro over the ‘Vette…

Japanese market C4 in typical minty-fresh Tokyo condition – almost appealing, isn’t it?

I think we can all agree that this 1964 Malibu gets the Bowtie Award for Best in Post. Pity it was so difficult to photograph halfway properly.

However, it was entirely possible to capture that gorgeous interior. Totally worth it.

Last Chevy of the post and first piece of an American full-size van trifecta.

Second trifecta item, in a mildly customized ’80s Dodge flavour. Delicious.

And the trifecta is complete with this Ford van. Much less attractive than the previous two, but fairly rare around here.

Also pretty rare here (as most Fords are, to be fair): a 2nd gen (1995-2000) Explorer 4-door.

I know it’s not a US Ford as such, but it has a blue oval, so I’ll group it with its American cousins. Yes, it’s a Mondeo wagon – first one I’ve seen in Japan. Turns out they imported some here. Who knew?

A couple of classic Cadillac Broughams to finish on a high… 20 inches’ worth of height, in this case…

Much, much better. Love that red pinstripe, too.

Before we go on to the European iron, let’s briefly revisit Thailand and a few Asian oddities. I was in Bangkok over the New Year and saw a few novelties – as well as some well-known oldies, such as this 2002-2012 Thairung Adventure, a locally-made SUV based on the Isuzu D-Max.

Malaysia’s number one carmaker, Proton, is occasionally found in Thailand – never in Japan, though. And perhaps not where you live either. This is a gen 2 (2007-16) Persona, a 1.6 litre mid-sizer with vague Kurvi-Tasch vibes.

One thing that definitely changed in Bangkok traffic between when I left in 2019 and today is the increased presence of Chinese cars, like this Haval Jolion, an SUV made originally by Great Wall Motors. This locally-assembled model sports a hybrid drivetrain.

One of the more interesting Chinese cars encountered was this Ora Good Cat. Name aside, this EV produced by a subsidiary marque of Great Wall Motors has a rather quirky design that makes it stand out from the crowd. These are now sold in some European countries, as well as Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Brazil.

We’ll conclude this Thai interlude by introducing the German chapter of this post in style, with a fine W116 in a lovely shade of brown.

Back to the home islands with the ever-present Pagoda. One of several, but I was particularly keen on this 280 SL’s burgundy body.

This silver fox looks like it was delivered in Japan new, if the license plate is any indication.

The “middle child” 250 SL was only made for a couple of years (1967-68), so it’s the least common of the breed.

I’m still not entirely sold on that famous roof, but that interior is just amazing.

The W123 population never seems to diminish. I’ll limit the intake to three specimens, though I must have caught at least twice that amount. This wagon makes the cut because… well, just look at it!

Another 300 TD wagon? Well, I have a soft spot for these. So sue me.

Not the best-looking perhaps, but it’s a RHD model, which is unusual. And that ancient house in the background just added to the attraction – most of these went up in flames back in ’45, or were torn down since then.

There’s something slightly menacing about the 1981-90 W126 coupé – especially in black. I did capture one that will need a write-up, but this one didn’t make the cut (because gaudy wheels).

If this really is what it says on the back, it’s quite a rare W126 saloon. But it’s also ugly as sin.

For those who fear the Toyota Century is a bit cramped, the logical alternative is the Maybach 62. Or a stretch Hummer I suppose, if you have the stomach for it.

On with the show, and it’s Porsches next. Front engines before beauty…

Just about perfect for a 911, in my opinion. The mustard yellow is the perfect condiment.

Lovely 356 in almost every respect, too. Not sure about the red piping on those seats though, if a nit had to be picked.

A few Vee-Dubs’ll do us good, right? We’ve seen this one before. It’s very nice, but those whitewalls are crumbling…

Nothing fancy, just a straight up late model Japan-spec Beetle. The just-so Type 1.

Same same, but dark green.

It looks like the street itself rolled out the red carpet for this Cabriolet.

The Transporter contingent was numerous as always. Not necessarily in great condition for some…

…and restored to their former glory for others.

The famous “21 window” Samba variant was even sighted! Type 2 minor royalty, that one.

A couple of T2s were also worthy of note, both of the pre-facelift (1968-72) variety, for a change.

This is probably my pick of this edition’s air-cooled Transporters. I love the fact that it’s a pickup, that it’s rusty and scruffy, and that it’s RHD. In Japan, that last one would definitely be a plus.

The last Beetle derivative we’ll glance at will be this dying Karmann-Ghia, found close to the rusty Transporter seen previously. Someone’s VW-loving eyes are bigger than their wallet, it seems.

Not a true Beetle as such, of course, but an interesting (locally-made?) variant nonetheless.

On the BMW side of things, an M1 out in the wild. Very cool machine, especially in contrast to those overwrought Lambos in the background.

We’ll polish off the German portion of the tour with a pair of -02 BMWs. So that’ll be -04, I guess.

Funny how some German marques just never show up. Ford and Opel, I can sort of understand – they were branches of big multinationals, so importing them in Japan would not necessarily have made sense. And Borgward died a long, long time ago. But why are there virtually no pre-2000 Audis? Weird.

Nothing very classic about this edition’s Swedish entries, but I hope they will appeal in spite of that. Fancy a Volvo as your final ride? Some folks around here do.

What could one possibly add? A parking pole topped with a meatball and a dab of lingonberry sauce, maybe?

Let’s move swiftly on to the Italian stuff, shall we? Very sweet little Fiat-Abarth 595 SS (1963-71), displaying its 34hp 600cc twin.

I’m not usually keen on de-bumpered cars, but the brittle plastic atrocities Autobianchi slapped on the otherwise very pretty later A112s are not missed in this case.

What’s your opinion on the 155? They’re not the most stylish Alfa saloons, to be sure, but at least you cannot mistake them for anything else. Present-day Alfas don’t have this much personality.

The Alfa 145 (1994-2000), on the other hand, is merely a dressed-up Fiat Tipo. Nice dress all the same…

Even in the depths of winter, a Spider is to be driven top-down or not at all. That’s just common sense.

Besides, it’s not like temperatures are that frigid – we’re talking 10-15 Celsius daily max – and it’s often dry and sunny. Perfect Giulietta Spider conditions.

My personal pick of factory-bodied Alfas would probably be a Giulia Super saloon. This one would do very nicely.

It’s time for Ferraris, if that’s ok by you. The hidden headlamp era that lasted three whole decades at Ferrari, no matter who did the design. The Pininfarina-penned F355 Spider (1995-99) was the last of that era.

For the ‘80s, I’d like to nominate the 328 GTB (1985-89)…

A true gem will represent the ‘70s: this is a rare RHD (one of 88 made) version of the very first Flat-12 model, the 365 GT4 BB.

These were made between 1973 and 1976, featuring a 4.4 litre 12-cyl. producing 344-360hp, depending on sources. Contemporary price in the USA was in the $30,000 range.

How do you justify owning a 612 Scaglietti in Tokyo? “It’s the only car with a metal roof that’ll fit in my parking space!”

Not 100% sure, but this sure looks like a Lancia Stratos bodyshell. Now where’s the rest?

A rather modest selection of Frenchies, this time. I’m unsure whether or not we’ve seen this R8 Gordini before. Just to be on the safe side, here it is.

That stretch of road, so often featured in my posts, can be populated by some really choice cars. Or, as the case may be, by a humble Renault Super5.

Another Avantime sighting – must be half a dozen over the past four years. Very odd, given how rare these are… It’s another Flying Pug thing, isn’t it?

There are quite a few modern Alpines around Tokyo, so I’ve gotten used to them now. This one gets a snap because of its highly unusual orange hue.

I don’t know if there are any of these H-Vans left in France any longer, barring the odd rotting carcass. It’s like Chevrolet Astros or T1 Transporters: once the mania starts, the Japanese van collector community’s appetite is just relentless.

You might recall, if you’re one of the tens of people who read yesterday’s Part 1, that a couple of retro buses were found. Well, this is the other one: the Ford Transit-based Asquith.

These were made in Essex from 1982 to around 1997. The correct answer to the question “Is this an Asquith?” is, of course, “Gesundheit!

Ok folks, let’s get a move on. We have a lot of MGs to get through. Almost a full set, in fact.

We start at the beginning (of the postwar period) with the 1945-49 TC…

…then came a TF (1953-55) – the final iteration of the classic MG roadster, before modernity struck in the form of…

… the curvaceous MGA (1955-62) – always a crowd-pleaser…

…and not forgetting, in a minor but essential supporting role, the Midget (1961-79)

…And we’ll close this MG parade with the pinnacle of postwar British roadsters that is the B. Or not the B? That is a question…

Nah, definitely the B. If you had to buy an MG roadster, it would have to be one of those. The A is arguably prettier, but those Bs aren’t bad either (pre rubber bumper ones, in any case) and both far more affordable and easier to live with.

The Austin-Healey 3000 is another BMC product that might pop into one’s head when mentioning the phrase “classic British roadster.”

In contrast, I don’t think anyone would picture a Lotus Elan as the archetypal British roadster. Beautiful cars nonetheless.

I think we’ve seen this Lotus Esprit S4 before. Hope you don’t mind seeing it again…

This is not one of the (rare) original Ginetta G15s from the ‘60s, of course, but anything with that badge carries a certain cachet.

These TVR Tuscans (1999-2006) are sure quick. But not quick enough to escape my smartphone’s SD card.

I don’t know why this Bristol 406, which we’ve seen a couple times before in passing, was not deemed capable of moving on its own. Hope nothing too serious…

Only one Jag per se – a fleeting visit from an XJS.

I have a thing for light green Daimlers, it seems. This 4.2 litre Sovereign is an absolute beauty.

These Series III cars are a lot more prevalent, around here. Most of the Daimler-badged ones are V12-powered, as may be the case here.

An early model (1980-88) Silver Spur, complete with lace curtains probably taken off a Toyota Century, rusting away… Be afraid, be very afraid of any modern Rolls in this condition.

Let’s end on a positive note, like a Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur. Now the world is the right way up again.

All the best, CC. See you in a couple months for another Tokyo tour.