CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (January-May 2023) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

Five months of brief encounters is a lot in this town, but I think I should be able to make it all fit in three roughly equal 100-plus-pic posts. Why three? Because the Japanese contingent, taken globally, only accounted for a third. But they get to go first – home game advantage and all that. Let’s alphabetize this and kick things off with Autozam.

I’ve been running into a few AZ-1s of late. Which is a good thing. I may have to write one up again in the future, but it’s not on top of the pile.

No Daihatsu and no Mazda made it to this post, sadly. But this quirky JDM Ford might be a good stand-in for the latter. And it definitely is a “JDM Ford,” as it was made in Japan for the Japanese market. They just badge-engineered the 1987-97 Mazda Capella GV wagon by calling it a Ford Telstar, this particular one being a late model Subaru-esque AWD variant.

Onwards to the Hondas, then, with this 1983-86 City Cabriolet in a rather arresting shade of aqua blue.

The 2nd generation City (1986-94) is not quite as iconic, and not as often seen. This one is obviously very well cared for, though.

The SiR was the most powerful (160hp) of the 2nd gen (1987-91) CR-Xs. Not sure about that huge rear spoiler, but to each their own.

Foiled again! Why is it that every time I catch a glimpse of one of these utterly gorgeous little S800s, it’s zooming past? Stand still, why don’t you!

In the realm of the larger Hondas, we find this fine 3rd gen (1985-89) Accord Coupé – with a rare-in-Japan leather interior, too.

And a lovely red 3rd gen (1987-91) Integra Prelude to see us out. Over to the Isuzus…

Let’s be clear: there are 117 Coupés and there are 117 Coupés. We’ve had a bunch here, but this is the first time I’ve seen a 1st gen (1968-73) “handmade” one in the wild. Prettiest of the breed by a mile, and very rare.

Isuzu number two for this edition will be a pristine late model (1988-90) Piazza Nero.

Mitsubishi-wise, there was yet another one of these scrumptious four-door J36/J37 Jeep wagons – in incredible nick.

If you want to see American-influenced styling done right, folks of ‘70s Nissan, look no further than the 1970-77 Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO MR. Oops, too late.

Actually, even in the ‘60s, Mitsubishi were knocking it out of the park with the US-flavoured designs. This is the first gen 1 Derbonair (1964-86) I’ve managed to catch on camera. Oddly customized though it may be, you can still tell it was a real fine mini-Lincoln.

Just a couple Mitsuokas for a laugh. These Sunny-based 2nd gen (2001-04) Ryogas are one of the most interesting of the breed, in my opinion.

I guess the Ryugi is the Ryoga’s present-day equivalent, now using a Corolla hybrid base. And a pretty funky yellow colour.

Enough with the amuses-bouche, we’re now entering the serious zone of Datsun-Nissan. Need we introduce anyone at CC with the Fairlady Z?

I’m warming to these ZXs. There are still a few about; when I find a nice one standing still, a post may ensue. You have been warned…

Unmolested S13 Silvias are always worth a quick snap. This one is sporting the Q’s trim, i.e. the deluxe model with extra toys.

The final Silvia, the S15, is just over 20 years old and not overly rare. But that’s the Varietta retractable top – Autech only made 1143 of these back in the day. First one I’ve seen in the flesh – and a great colour, to boot.

Which is more than I can say about the paint inflicted on this poor C130 Laurel SGX (1972-77). Not to mention those wheels. Ugh. That engine bay (and the engine itself), though, were well worth an eyeful of bright metallic green.

It wouldn’t take much to return this car to its former glory. Maybe someday…

In contrast, here’s a very well-preserved 1989-93 C33 Laurel hardtop, only slightly photobombed by a Bentley drop-top looming over it.

For once, there is certainty as to this C10 Skyline’s exact vintage: the owner saw me admiring it and informed me it was a ‘72 – the final year. It also happens to be a GL with the 1.8 litre 4-cyl. when most of the ones still on the road are 2000GTs and GT-Rs, genuine or not.

These N13 Langleys always throw me. I’m just not accustomed to seeing them (they aren’t common) and I keep mistaking that “L” on the grille for the Mitsubishi or the Isuzu logo.

There’s no mistaking the adorable March-based 1987-88 BE-1, though. Small nitpick: those wheels should also be wearing that distinctive “pumpkin yellow.”

These long-lived (1971-97) B120 Sunny pickups are popular with the customizer crowd, but some later ones are still working for a living. And looking none the worse for it.

Plenty of Glorias and Cedrics were seen, as per usual. This 3-litre Gloria Y31 VIP hardtop, back in its prime (1987-91), was quite the range-topper. But there was an even swankier option.

The Y31 platform was used for the first Cima (1988-91), then known as the Cedric- or Gloria-Cima. It was nearly impossible to photograph this mint example, sadly.

The versatile Y31 platform was also used (up to 2014) for taxis based on the very traditional Cedric/Gloria saloon. Being a Gloria, this civilian one is necessarily a pre-2000 car – and it seems to have been sat there for a long while, harbouring a colony of moss and losing tyre pressure.

It just wouldn’t be a T87 Singles post without a 1983-99 Y30 wagon. This is a late model Gloria, as indicated by its third brake light and driver airbag.

Perhaps the most stunning of the Nissan encountered during the winter and spring of 2023 was this immaculate late model Cedric 130 (1965-71). The whitewalls are a bit over-the-top, but what a sight!

The Subaru chapter is upon us, it seems. This cute little 1968 360, according to its owner, puttered all the way from Vladivostok to London under its own (limited) power. He then went south, crossing the Mediterranean and the Sahara all the way to the port of Douala, Cameroon. Presumably, it was then shipped back to Japan… and extensively restored. Was the massive bulldog on the passenger seat part of this epic voyage? I forgot to ask.

In late 1995, Subaru joined in the retro craze in earnest with the Bistro, based on their 1992-98 Vivio kei car. Unlike Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu, Subaru eschewed the fashionable 3-cyl. for their 660cc keis and developed a 4-cyl. instead.

Said 4-cyl. was also used in the gen 5 Subaru Sambar (1990-99), albeit mounted behind the rear wheels. The Sambar Dias was Subaru’s in-house retro-styled variant, with a huge dummy grille.

These were known as the XT (1985-91) in many markets, but on the JDM it was the Alcyone. This one was being tended to, so only one pic could be taken, but I have secured another one for a full CC sometime soon.

These were also known as the Alcyone SVX (1991-96) in Japan. And in black, they look pretty damn stunning, in my opinion.

Oh boy, it’s Suzuki time! As luck would have it, I just wrote up one of these 2002-08 Lapin-based faux Renaults a couple weeks back.

With their highly distinctive Giugiaro styling, the 1971-76 Suzuki Fronte coupé is one of the most sought-after ‘70s kei cars. Soon to be featured on CC in full, promised!

There’s a certain kinship between the Subaru SVX seen earlier and the 1990-96 Toyota Sera, isn’t there? Something in the windows…

Staying with the quirkier Toyos for a minute with a WiLL Vi – a very tidy one, too. It’s such a jarring design that seeing one is always a bit of a shock.

Same with the Toyota Classic. They’re not often seen, but stick out like a sore thumb.

In theory, the 2000-01 Origin should also be quite rare…

But for whatever reason, they seem to pop up everywhere, from Tokyo Station…

… to an open garage a couple of blocks from my digs. One thing about those Origins though: they all seem to be very well cared for.

The Origins seem better cared for than some Century saloons, that’s for sure. The G50s (1997-2018) are now entering full-blown banger-dom – I’m seeing an increasing number of them being pressed into taxi service. Who fancies a ride in a V12-powered cab?

The previous generation – the O.G. of the breed – are, in contrast, becoming true classics.

I never noticed it before, but the glasshouse in the 1st generation (1981-85) Soarer looks so incredibly airy. That C-pillar would be unimaginable today.

A 1st gen (1971-77) Celica GT Liftback hiding in the shadows… Such cool cars, even a glimpse is worth a quick pic.

This mint condition Celica XX (1981-85, a.k.a. Supra in foreign markets) is casually out and about, like four decades never happened.

Some nice finds Mark II-wise included this 1984-88 X70 Grande hardtop saloon, unfortunately shod though it was.

The X70 wagon lasted a much longer spell, up to 1997. There are still plenty about, and they regularly feature in these outtakes series, but I just can’t get tired of them.

Speaking of which, here’s another one – bone stock, with fender mirrors. T87 approves.

The 1988-92 X80, as its predecessors and successors, bore the names Mark II, Cresta and Chaser in Japan, as well as Cressida abroad. Here’s the Chaser version – very nice indeed.

I did not run into many interesting Crowns, all things considered. This 2nd gen S40 (1962-67) was just out of reach, regrettably. I have yet to find one in the wild that I could document more fully, and this one looked very clean. Patience…

I also bagged two very fine S130 Crowns. The older one (1988-91) was this higher-trim 3-litre “hardtop.”

The other S130 Crown was this slightly sinister (but oh-so-cool) late model (1991-99) wagon.

These A80 Supras aren’t getting any younger and decent-looking ones are even borderline rare. Warrants a quick couple of snaps, surely.

One of my favourite finds of the season was this 1978-83 T130 Corona hardtop coupé being cleaned and pampered by (I assume) the original owner.

We’re now entering the “er, what else you got?” part of this post. This is still technically a Toyota though: Jim Brophy wrote about these same-same-but-different HumVees the Japanese “Defense Force” have here.

We’ve seen this CQ before (possibly the very same one), but never out and about. Certainly makes for a Kodak moment.

Not sure what car this is exactly (not that it matters), but whoever noticed that it would make for a good basis for a shoe is a genius.

This can’t be a comfortable ride. Maybe that explains why it’s being walked instead (actually, it’s going against traffic down a one-way street, so riding it would be very illegal)…

Don’t want to fork out a million yen for a Citroen H-van kit? Find a couple headlights, an artistic bent and some spare sheet metal and just DIY that thing.

That’s more like it, nose-wise. Just be careful going under low bridges.

And finally, whatever this is. Certainly took some doing, unlike the faux H-van. See you tomorrow for part one of the imported goods. And boy, there will be goods!