CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (June 2020) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

Blast from the past! In the mid-‘90s in France, our neighbour had an Alfa 164 and seeing one twenty-five years later in this context was very odd. His was black with alloys, which looked better than this all-gray ensemble, but I’ll take it.

I caught this 2000 GT Veloce (from my balcony) a bit too late, but even in this far away and fuzzy form, it’s just too beautiful to leave out.

The first series of the modern (1998-2004) Multipla, on the other hand, is not what you might call beautiful. It is, however, one of the weirdest-looking Fiats ever made, so it absolutely had to join this post.

Maseratis are almost common in Tokyo. This drop-top GranCabrio version, though, is a rare sight. And rather a pretty one, too – especially in that dark maroon.

Which is more than I can say about the dreaded 1992-99 Ghibli II. These are rare cars and I’m not a fan, so I thought seeing on in Bangkok last year would fill my lifetime quota. Not so, of course. Could fate send me a Mistral, a Khamsin or a series 1 Quattroporte next time?

I caught and posted this (probably fake) Cobra in last month’s sum-up, but it was at rest in its lair. This month, it just burbled past me on the street one morning. The driver stopped at the curb, hopped out and crossed the street to talk to somebody. The car was just sat there, unoccupied, the engine running.

Leaving one’s car or bike idling at the curbside or in a parking lot is a common occurrence here. I have yet to get used to it. Was I tempted to hop in, grab that Nardi wheel and drive off, Thelma & Louise style, into a V8-powered spree of open-topped lawlessness and abandon? For half a second, maybe.

Another car I’m really unsure about. Is this a Caterham, a Panther or one of the dozen other Morgan / Lotus Seven wannabes out there? Not my bag.

Genuine Lotuses are not uncommon, as we’ve already established (and will again soon in more detail). The Toyota-powered Elise / Exige, which have been in production for over two decades now, are especially popular here. Even down by the railroad tracks.

I hadn’t seen a Bentley saloon in a while – it’s all coupes and Bentyagas these days – so I snapped this one in traffic. This is a recent Mulsanne; I later learned that they’re discontinuing these this year, along with the 6.75 litre V8, which the Crewe factory has been making since 1959. So here’s to the oldest V8 in continuous production.

I have zero knowledge about two-wheeled Triumphs, but this one seemed interesting and old. Can the CCommentariat identify it? Is the front wheel supposed not to have a mudguard like that? Depending on the road and the weather, that must be a bit messy…

Someone around here likes both classic Minis and front-engined Porsches. Kind of an odd mix of genres, but evidently it works for some.

Another group shot, taken in a very fancy part of town. I didn’t dare get too close, lest I set off some sort of alarm or something – it seemed like a “release the hounds” kind of place. Plus, I wanted to get those four cars in one pic. Latest Century, AMG versions of the SL and the G-Wagen, and Maybach 650: that’s a million-dollar four-car garage right there.

Maybe the Pagoda I caught (and panned) a couple months ago was a particularly awkward one. Dressed in black with Euro headlights, it’s not a bad-looking car. Plus this angle sort of fixes the roof’s excessive height.

We’ve met before, haven’t we, Miss yellow Benz W114? Yes, I remember now, about two months ago – at your place. Nice to see you out and about, and to get a look at your handsome rear end.

This E30 saloon was so incredibly clean, like it had just been imported from its native Bayern…

Same deal with this -02 from the late ‘60s / early ’70s. Well, it’s 99% likely that it was restored at some point, given the reputation these have as regards rust, but it sure looks great now (from afar). That medium gray colour really suits it, too.

The good old second gen Jetta. Familiar to all, regardless of where we were when these came out – a true global car. As always, this Japanese-spec model in absolutely pristine condition, which I’m pretty sure is part of the definition of the term “Japanese-spec”. Not sure why it has that license plate, as it’s clearly a post-1988 car.

June 2020 was not a good vintage for French cars, unfortunately. One curio though: this old-fashioned Citroën sign was sighted in the area. This is the marque’s pre-PSA logo, used back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The sign looks suspiciously well-preserved to be that old, but you never know. The Subaru one looks like it dates back to the ‘80s or ‘90s. No representative of either marque was to be found in the immediate whereabouts. Weird.

Even in a drought of French vehicles, hardly a month goes by without a Renault 4 sighting.

On the other hand, June provided a bumper crop of American vehicles. I had found a 1965 Chevrolet El Camino a few months back, and it looks like the owner has a thing for mid-‘60s Chevies. This customized 1964 Impala coupé was also there – I just hadn’t seen it behind the pickup.

I’m sure many of you will find this C5 Corvette common beyond belief, but I see more Bentleys or Maseratis than C5s in my neck of the woods. Besides, I have a bit of a soft spot for this generation, especially in black.

Another Buick “Regal Estate” with the de rigueur plastiwood flanks. The immortal A-Body wagon is alive and well in the Land of the Rising Sun, hauling a bunch of things that just can’t fit in the missus’ kei car.

Speaking of wild wagons of the West, were you aware that the 2001-10 PT Cruiser was something of a hit in Japan? Chrysler apparently shifted over 10,000 of these here, which is a pretty good score for a quirky American wagon. Retro styling is always appreciated by the Japanese customer.

I’ve seen a few about, but this yellow late model example, festooned with a record number of aftermarket embellishments, just had to be shared with a wider audience.

In the minivan department, another heavily modified Mopar creation was unearthed this month, in the form of this early ‘90s Dodge Caravan. Atrocious, but then again, it’s just an old Caravan. We’ll get over it.

On the other hand, this early ‘90s Chevrolet Astro seemed impeccably preserved and completely stock. Still not my cup of tea, but I’m glad it’s found a good home.

Now that’s more like it! Correct me if I’m wrong, but this looks like a 1969 or 70 Ford Econoline. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen one in the metal before, but these are somewhat familiar for being extras on the American shows that I watched when I was a kid, dubbed in French on the state-run TV (three channels, that’s all you got!). I might have seen these on The Six Million Dollar Man, The Streets of San Francisco or Starsky & Hutch.

Or am I thinking of Scooby-Doo? This green Mystery Machine, with a half-century of labour under its belt, has an appropriate amount of patina on the outside, as well as wear and tear on the inside.

Finally, a Continental Mark V – sans vinyl roof, strangely enough. Even with those silly wheels, this gargantuan Broughamtastic late ‘70s shape is still striking.

It was a dark time in Detroit when these came off the assembly line, yet they still had plenty of the old magic. Appropriately, I caught this one as the sun was setting. The symbolism was a bit on the nose, but then there was never anything too subtle about these cars anyway.

Here’s hoping July will bring a good CC harvest!