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

Summer in Tokyo is not a fun experience. It starts out very hot (35°C-ish) in late June, then gets awfully humid by about a month later and progressively stormier as typhoon season kicks in. Add the deafening sound of the cicadas, and going outside starts really becoming a chore. So not only are folks less likely to putter about in older cars that may not have A/C or be all that weatherproofed, but yours truly also loses some motivation to go out CC hunting. Still, one cannot avoid making the odd nice encounter, as this Gen1 Toyota MR2 shows.

But compared to the 600-plus photos of the previous edition, this one will be back to more sensible proportions, thankfully. So let’s carry on with the Toyotas – almost always the number one contingent in these Singles Collection posts. A regular fixture is the X70 Mark II wagon (1984-97). Because they’re awesome, and this one is flaunting its straight-6 at us. But hey, it was really hot that day.

Keeping it X70 with this mid-‘80s Chaser hardtop sadly slowly sinking into the weeds.

Finally, an X60! For whatever reason, I’ve not seen this generation of the Mark II / Chaser / Cressida at all. Plenty of the successor and a number of the predecessor, but this one (1980-84) always eluded capture until now. This is the Cresta version, the first generation to bear that nameplate. Rear shot was a bit truncated, sorry…

A rather ripe AE86 Sprinter Trueno was on display. Looked nicer from a distance.

You may know this as the Lexus SC, but Japan called it the 1991-2000 Toyota Soarer. And finding a nicely preserved one is always cause for a quick photo session.

OK, I realize that I may be the only person who cares about these (due to former ownership of the senior sister car of this model, a.k.a the Crown Comfort), but this is a bone-stock base spec privately owned (i.e. not a taxi) 2000 or 2001 Toyota Comfort with a manual transmission. In other words, in the world of the Comfort platform, a true unicorn. Geek moment over.

I’m still learning about the S130 Crown van/wagon. I found three that were worthy of note lately, one of which will have its own post sometime. But the other two are here, starting with this amazingly original Super Deluxe (i.e. just above base spec) van.

This one’s stance looked a little off to me, but as I examined at the rear wheels, I noticed the leaf springs. Talk about old fashioned.

This similarly Super Deluxe-spec hearse, on the other hand, clearly has a different rear suspension, I guess because it’s based on a wagon, as opposed to the van. The intricacies of Toyota’s offerings are truly baffling.

Plenty of these V12 Centuries are now coming onto the second hand car market and are being bought by younger guys who fancy something fancy – especially if they’re not black. Added bonus: you can toy with the air suspension settings to make these big saloons hunker down like a hydro Citroën, yet keep the stock wheels.

Final Toyota for this edition: the good old J40 Landie hardtop. Soft tops and LWB variants seem less popular than this one – but then, maybe they were worked to death. Many of these were too.

This would have made for an interesting twofer post had the light situation been a bit better. First, a Daihatsu Midget II – one of the craziest kei vans ever devised…

The Midget was paired with a stunner of an Isuzu 117 XG Coupé. The two stars make this a 1979-81 2-litre model. The exceptionally vibrant blue colour is not original, but sure makes this car pop!

Another late-model 117, but this one lacks stars, so it’s a ’78. Seems these are still very sought after – they are definitely head-turning. A full-length CC piece detailing these later square-eyed 117 coupes may be in preparation, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Mitsubishi, anyone? Not this one, obviously. Just like the house it’s sitting in front of, that early ‘80s A170 Lancer is abandoned and slowly rotting, its wind mirrors amputated…

This might be more the ticket, right? Ten years less than the previous car, plus a careful (and alive) owner, that adds up to a world of difference.

From one Mitsu to the other – Mitsuoka! I’ve decided to quit bothering with the Viewts, there are just too many and they’re not weird enough anymore. I have yet to write up one of these 2000-01 Yugas. This one was in a great condition (and the moon discs!), but just couldn’t be photographed from more than a couple of angles. Ah well…

The Corolla-based Ryugi is always a fun addition to these posts. Plus this one was in a nice and uncommon shade of dark brown that doesn’t really show in the pictures. My smartphone does weird things with colour sometimes…

Another Rock Star sighted! A veritable hit parade. This one was in motion, at least in the pics above.

One of the prettiest cars made today, ladies and gentlemen. And it’s a Mazda cut to look like a Stingray, but it really works, especially in red.

Another current offering that’s kind of off the beaten track: the Honda 660 Neo Classic. We’ve seen one of these before: it’s a high-quality integral fiberglass body kit made to fit the mid-engined 660 sports roadster. Orders were halted just over a year ago, so the final new ones must be out by now. Not everyone’s cup of matcha, but it certainly looks unique.

The colour of this 3rd gen Integra is what drew my attention. But the fact that the steering wheel was hooked to the rear view mirror was what made it mandatory to be included in this post.

Lovely late model Acty of the 550cc era, back when kei trucks were not all the same underneath. These have a mid-mounted 2-cyl. OHC engine mated to a 5-speed transaxle. Sheer madness, bet it seems they can endure over three decades of hard labour and keep its sunny disposition.

Only one Mazda of note this summer. I recently wrote a post about the B-Series wagon, and here’s the pickup version. Also LHD, bizarrely, just like that wagon. At least this one seems to be working for a living.

The sole Subaru barely made it to the post, being caught on the fly on the last day of August. I see this one regularly (it was in my first edition of the Tokyo Singles, back in early 2020), but it always seemed to be immobile. Glad to be wrong.

Onwards to the Nissans, then. I’ve pretty much quit photographing Paos, as there are just a few too many about (unless I find a red one, the rarest colour). But Figaros are still cause for a snap or two…

Fun little things, aren’t they? I remember the first ones I ever saw were in London, when I was a student there in the late ‘90s. They were all the rage in the swankier parts of the West End. And they remain so in the trendy bits of Tokyo today.

March cabriolets are also pretty chic. And actually rarer than Figaros or Paos.

Just one Fairlady Z to report, so here it is. Not much to add, really. It just had to be there.

We’ve seen this sweet 430 Bluebird before, but never in profile. Just can’t wait to catch one in the wild and write it up – it’s one of those CC gaps that really needs filling.

I’m not sure about the decals and other scripts on this 1990-91 Sunny B13, but it looks like a legit high-performance model. Or whatever one can imagine a high-performance B13 ought to be…

You might know this as the A32 Maxima, but here they were sold as the Cefiro. Still seen0 on occasion, but I don’t usually bother. This one was in such beautiful condition (and it’s the top-of-the-line 3-litre “Excimo G”) that it made the cut.

Just one noteworthy Skyline, this time: an unmolested R32 saloon with AWD and in a lovely (and uncommon) shade of navy blue. Best-looking Skylines of the ‘80s/’90s, in my opinion.

How can we even imagine one of these posts without the obligatory Y30 wagon (1983-99), I ask you. This Gloria SGL version has the relatively rare column gear change. However, just to nitpick, I do prefer the fender mirrors on these. But this one is a very fine example of the very final iteration of this long-lived legend of a wagon.

Another Gloria I quite like is the Y31 hardtop (1987-91). Not only is it a genuine hardtop, but it looks like a Japanese BMW 5-Series. This is the Classic SV version, which means it only has a modest 2-litre V6 to motivate it – the BMW thing is only skin-deep…

Final car of the post: a very rare 1st generation Silvia. Only 554 units were (hand-)made between 1964 and 1968, based on the Fairlady platform but featuring a new 96hp 1.6 litre twin-carb engine that eventually made it to the Bluebird SSS and the Fairlady. Beautiful car – pity I couldn’t examine it a little closer.

Given that there were quite a few more foreign finds, I’ll add the trikes and bikes bit to this post, even though I’m pretty sure they’re all imports. This Harley trike certainly is, for starters.

This other one doesn’t have a readily identifiable name or marque, but it looks pretty Harley-esque to me. Those Pirellis make this thing about as wide as a damn car.

This looks to my untrained eye like a well-used Triumph 6T Thunderbird (1949-66), but do correct me if I’m off.

Likewise, I’m not overly confident about IDing this, but it’s looking like an MV Agusta from the ‘70s or so. The person riding it isn’t dressed the way anyone on such a machine would be where I was raised, though.

Finally, here’s a strange phenomenon you might not be aware of: sound trucks. Specifically, those used by ultranationalists / neo-fascist groups (Uyoku Dentai in Japanese). These fringe groups, some of whom are linked to yakuza syndicates, routinely prowl the streets in black vans blaring prewar militaristic music or speeches. They generally don’t number more than a handful at a time. But this August, I witnessed an impressive caravan of these …er… people, complete with massive police escort, on the outskirts of the parliament building.

No idea what they were yammering on about, but it’s a bizarre fact of Tokyo traffic that one encounters these rather menacing trucks fairly regularly, especially on weekends. People always seem to look elsewhere when they pass by, but as a foreigner, they still startle me a bit, even after a couple of years.

Anyway, that’s it for this post, but see you tomorrow for the foreign cars!