CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (July-August 2022) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

Just like yesterday’s JDM stuff, import sightings were somewhat subdued during these summer months. But subdued Tokyo style – some things were still a little out of the ordinary. Take air-cooled VWs, for instance: I normally find a couple of Beetles and a Transporter, but the summer of 2022 was more like a Bug infestation!

I limited the bugs to the more presentable stuff – this Super Beetle, for instance, seems to have been sold here new and changed very little since.

This one had a few little oddities, but was very well preserved all around. Also looks like it might have been sold here new, given the older plate. Which is not a trivial thing, as many (if not most) of the air-cooled VWs seen here are recent imports from North America or Germany.

This exquisitely restored ’55, for instance, likely arrived here quite recently.

First-gen Transporters were also plentiful. Not strictly stock, most of them…

Some were worse than others…

Some were pretty impressively restored…

And others were just quite nice all round, frankly.

I caught this Type 82 once before; it’s a modern re-creation, but the novelty factor remains high.

Not sure if this belongs in the VW section or the Porsche one, despite what is written on the nose and tail. There are a lot of weird things on this 356A to fully pass my (admittedly limited) sniff test. But I’ll let other, more experienced noses have a whiff and voice (nasally) their views on the matter.

Well, we couldn’t keep it air-cooled forever, I guess. The 944 S2 (1989-91) is far from my favourite Porsche, but it’s already at an age that forces a certain amount of respect.

Which is not really the case for this 20-ish-year-old Opel Astra wagon, but then again there are so few representatives of this marque about Asia in general and Japan in particular that anything with a blitz is worth a snap.

I keep promising myself (sometimes in writing) that I’ll forego the W123s, because there are just too many around. But I keep running into veritable museum pieces, in great colours, so what can I do?

Less colourful, but two doors – yep, that W123 will have to be in the Singles post as well. Cannot be helped.

I wrote up a very similar 190E recently, but it had the later 2.5 litre Cosworth engine. This is the first draft. Still pretty schön.

Seriously developing a taste for the W126. Must write one up. This one would have been terrific (the blue velour interior was amazing), but it was under active surveillance…

Strangely, the W140 leaves me cold. Too bulky. For some reason, there aren’t many about, either. Maybe the Japanese M-B enthusiasts preferred the W124 instead, as there are hordes of those still around.

As per usual, the BMW contingent was much smaller, but still eye-catching. This i8 reminded me of taking magic mushrooms in my early twenties, in that it made me pretty queasy and left me giggling uncontrollably. Electric flashback!

My first BMW Z1 sighting in ages! This one was in an Alpina store, so they gave it the treatment (externally, at least). Must be the only Z1 Alpina out there, surely.

I believe this is another Volvo 850 T-5R wagon – the third sighting. Red one, this time.

Always like the odd C70 drop-top, and they don’t come much odder than this colour combo.

The strange thing about Saabs in Tokyo is that one can go literally months without seeing a single one, but I caught four during this summer. Two will be featured in their own posts eventually, but these turn-of-the-Millennium 9-3s will do nicely here.

Incidentally, why did Saab never manage to finagle a naming or numbering system worth a damn for their cars? It was all right up to the 900, I suppose, but then they just went back to a two-digit “9-X” thing until the end. Needlessly confusing, clunky, unimaginative – very un-Saab, to be honest.

My second Lada Niva sighting in Tokyo, but this time it’s the standard (i.e. short) wheelbase one, which I do like better. And with that burgundy body and those wheels, the old Soviet babushka looks positively distinguished.

This is the second Korean car I’ve ever seen in Japan. Isn’t is Ioniq? Don’cha thinq?

Three encounters of the Citroën kind to report, starting with the classic and ever so classy 2CV Charleston. They even added a third brake light, just to err on the side of safety.

Got to hand it to the Citroën designer and PR folks: they really made the most of a dying platform with that paint job.

Second Cit of the summer: this nicely restored H-van – a 1967 model, if the license plate is to be trusted.

And finally, a Series 1 (1993-98) Xantia, complete with French plates (from Brittany) poking out from under the Japanese ones.

No Renaults to speak of for this edition, so we’ll skip right to the Peugeots, if that’s ok. These 406 coupés still make my head turn on occasion. That pale blue works very well with that shape, too.

Not as big a fan of the loud yellow on this 306 cabriolet, by contrast. Uncharacteristically, this rather rare and exclusive soft-top import seems to be left sleeping outside sans protection from the elements. And it’s starting to take its toll on the old gal.

The French car of the summer was without a doubt this absolute time-warp of a Series 1 (1987-89) 309 GTI. Seems the past three decades failed to leave a single scratch on it – or inside it! Amazing.

I actually found another 309 recently, so we’ll go into it in more detail soon, but this is effectively the last Talbot (ex-Simca/Rootes) with a lion on its grille. Fittingly, this one had the classic “Peugeot-Talbot” window stickers.

Even a glimpse of a Giulia berlina is worthy of inclusion into the Singles compilation.

Still in the souped up corner of the Alfa realm with this 155. Love the giant biscione on the hood.

These GTVs are quite tasty in black. Pity there was someone inside, as it meant I couldn’t photograph the red leather interior. Great pairing.

Another “through the shop window” shot – this one was a lot trickier than the BMW, but it was a Montreal, so it’s impossible not to include here. Really wish I could catch one of these curbside someday.

I see a lot of Lamborghinis now that I frequent the Jingu Gaien / Harajuku area on a fairly regular basis. It seems there is a contest among present-day Lambo buyers to try and come up with the most garish colour for their silly supercar. Here’s a pretty egregious example.

I wrote a dedicated post about the Quattroporte V recently, thanks to finding a very nice black example. Had I taken a different route that day, that post might have been illustrated by this equally fine brown one.

The Italian of the summer was an adorable Autobianchi A112 Elegant. Looked like a very early car, probably 1971-73 — a rare Series 1, restored to near perfection.

Seems this lovely little gem was up for grabs, as well. Perfect way to stand out of the never-ending flow of Minis, Beetles and Fiat 500s.

Actually, if you want to really stand out, maybe a white 1989 Pontiac Firebird would be a better bet. I’ve seen this one three times over the summer and for some reason, it’s always in the act of being obsessively cleaned by its owner. Hence the condition of the vehicle, I guess.

I’ve been seeing a number of early Mustangs this past couple of months. As a result, I have a wealth of great Mustang photos, but little use for them as there is always something else more interesting to write about. This one I only caught in passing, so it’ll find as home here. But the others…

However, this (much more recent) Mustang also made the cut, because… well, there’s just nothing else like it. Please tell me there isn’t.

Another close encounter with those weird locally-made Lincoln “body cars,” used to ferry cadavers to funeral homes. Amusingly, the model name has been changed to plain old “Town”… By the way, are those headlight bezels kosher, or is this another local transformation?

Only one Mopar product in this edition, but it’s a pretty massive one!

It’s impossible to hunt for CCs in Tokyo and not encounter a classic Jeep Wagoneer. This one was pretty far from original, but it still looked the part.

There are always a lot of Chevrolets about the place. One of the finest El Caminos I’ve had the pleasure of running into, for instance.

The odd first-gen Tahoe can also appear on occasion. Not many look as good as this one, though. Doubt this chunky 25-year-old AWD truck-based SUV has ever seen a puddle in its life.

Same with this 1966 Corvette, but in this case, that’s because a puddle might drown the engine. What I’d want to know is why the owner of this car decided to do that to it.

Classic G-Van alert! For some reason, I really liked this one. It was tatty, and tatty is good because it’s uncommon here, especially where imports are concerned.

It’s strange how popular these are here, along with the Dodge/Plymouth equivalent. Ford vans, on the other hand, are very rarely seen, except very recent ones. Maybe it’s just a case of Ford not bothering to offer these for sale on the Japanese market?

Always plenty of Caddy sightings in Tokyo and this summer was no different.

Not sure at all about this one, through. Looks like a Chevy in drag to me – like a Cimarron, but bigger.

It would be great to see this Fleetwood Brougham from all angles, as it was sold new in Japan. The amber turn signals and the Yanase sticker in the rear window do not lie.

The winner of the Detroiter of the summer award has to be this 1976 Eldorado gliding under the gingkoes.

We’ll have to end things on a British note. As seen behind the Eldorado, the Jingu Gaien alley was not just lined with gingko trees, but also with Caterhams.

And the odd Mini to boot, of course. Make that a pair of boots.

Money can’t buy taste. What it can buy is a metallic lilac 12-cyl. Bentley coupé.

Here’s an antidote to that eyesore of a Bentley: a scrumptious first generation Range Rover (1993, it seems?) in a cool and calming shade of green.

Never realized how spacious the rear seat seems to be in these things. The red carpet really ties the cabin together, though.

Another British icon: the FX4 taxi, born in 1959 as an Austin but built until 1997 under various badges.

Seen at the same place, which is a sort of Ye Olde England-style restaurant/pub/ballroom complex: a Rolls-Royce Corniche. Pretty sure they use this and/or the FX4 cab for weddings.

We’ve seen this exact car before. I crossed paths with it again on a rainy Sunday – worst oxymoron ever – and thought it looked even more British (and, dare I say, attractive) drenched in raindrops.

Remember the thing about money and purchasing taste? Like how they’re not really related and such? Another example for you.

For a country of rabid Anglophiles like Japan, it’s odd that I see so few MGs. This must be the third or fourth in two and a half years, which is not a lot.

Jaguars, on the other hand, are always around. Still have to find a decent XJS to write up – this one was ok I guess, but the owner returned and took off before I could capture more.

The XJ40s I see on occasion here are usually badged as Daimlers, interestingly enough. There aren’t too many of these in their home market, as I recall, but it seems the fluted grille really added cachet to these cars, in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The star of the summer, by a wide margin, was this Aston Martin DB4. I only managed one pic, but sometimes that’s all you need. What a sublime machine.

Will September and October bear better and more fruits? We’ll know in about sixty days. Till then…