How time flies! It’s time for yet another edition of the glimpses, glances, bits and pieces that were caught by yours truly around Tokyo (mostly) over the past couple of months. The furtive CCs were plentiful again, starting with this delicious little 1964-66 Honda S600 roadster, one of about 11,000 made.
As luck would have it, I also encountered this heavily-modded 1967 (according to the license plate) S800, with a fixed metal hardtop, alloys, etc. Despite the high-performance makeover, this Honda still looked remarkable. Tiny, growling and squat, like a miniature pitbull.
Who can resist a nice Beat? This one was positively glowing. Guess you’d call it Beat Red.
Keeping it crimson for a spell with this stunning NSX. I wrote one up fairly recently, also in red, but this one was even more remarkable.
I’m not sure why I never got this one’s interior – can’t even recall if it was a manual or an automatic. But the backdrop and light made for a few nice pics.
I’m finding myself being attracted to these last-gen late ‘90s Preludes, for some reason. A gold-coloured one is even more eye-catching, even from the balcony!
Last Honda is a bit of a curveball: I believe this is a Monkey, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you more. Absolutely minuscule, utterly adorable.
This early model Daihatsu Atrai S80 (1986-94) is more street art than vehicle, at this point.
I’m no expert on these, but this sure looks like a Lancer Evo 1 (1992-94) to me. Not usually seen in black, but that colour looks good on almost anything.
Here’s something you really don’t see every day: a second-generation (2012-16) Mitsubishi Proudia. The first one (2000-2001) was a pure in-house design, but it was also a complete bomb. This one was a rebadged Nissan Fuga Y51, but as I understand it, even fewer were made than the first generation – i.e. about 500 units, probably all sold to Mitsubishi executives. This was the last RWD Mitsubishi, as far as I know.
It’s a pity that this Mazda’s hood got sliced up like that, not to mention the wheels and all that. But just what the heck happened to that rear window?
OK, this might look like a Ford – well, it’s badged as one, anyway – but really, it’s as Japanese as a bonsai tree. It came off a Mazda assembly line, but instead of being called a Mazda Demio, it was sold by Ford of Japan as the Ford Festiva Mini Wagon from 1996 to 2003.
After this model, Ford changed tack and quit rebadging Mazdas on the JDM, focusing instead on importing American and European Fords. Still, I think this one belongs in this post, not in tomorrow’s foreign stuff…
I’m finding more and more of these Subaru 360s about. Some, like this one, are gathering dust, but a number can also be seen in traffic on occasion. Definitely the only kei car of that era to have such a following.
I’m not finding many truly classic Subarus – virtually none from the ‘70s / ‘80s, oddly enough. But there are tons of Imprezas and Legacys from the late ‘90s, like the one above. Trouble is “seeing” those: there are so many still around and they look so contemporary that they blend in. This one was tatty enough and painted in a classic ‘90s colour, so I took notice for once.
Mitsuokas, on the other hand, are impossible to ignore. I’m going to cool it on the Viewts, because those are just too common. A series 2 Ryoga (2001-04), though, is always a fun encounter.
Seeing two in two months might be cause for concern, on the other hand. These are somewhat disconcerting automobiles.
My first Mitsuoka post, back in 2016, featured a black Galue III that looked remarkably similar to this one. It’s a toss-up as to whether this one or the Ryoga is the weirder of the two, but the Galue III is certainly more massive.
My first encounter with the RAV-4-based Mitsuoka Buddy took place late last year and was communicated to the wider world, via CC, at once. These are very much still in production, having debuted in late 2020.
And again, two sightings took place. These are rare still – there can’t be more than a couple hundred in circulation. But somehow, they seem to find me.
This edition’s sole Isuzu is quite a hot little number! Feast your eyes on the 1990-93 Gemini Turbo Irmscher R, the last truly sporty Gemini and perhaps the last Isuzu worth collecting.
It has a 1.6 litre DOHC 4-cyl. sending 180hp via a 5-speed manual to all four wheels. And it’s as cool as anything Isuzu ever made under GM.
On the Suzuki front (but not Fronte, har har), there was room for another Cappuccino. Just like the Honda Beat seen earlier, these are not too rare, but a nicely preserved one in British Racing Green is worth a quick snap or three.
Although unfortunately it was too modified and hard to photograph (the interior was flat-out impossible) to get its own post, this Mighty Boy was certainly an unexpected sight.
Suzuki made these FWD kei pick-ups from 1983 to 1987, though this one’s square headlights make it a later (1985-87) model. Only a 31hp 550cc 3-cyl. under the hood, hence hauling is limited to 200kg, which is not that bad, really. Some of these migrated to Australia, too.
The end of March is traditionally when the sakura (cherry blossoms) come into bloom, which can make for some nice photos in the concrete jungle. Just wait for a Toyota Origin to waft by and snap, instant blossom bliss.
Not the exact same car, but close. Black really suits these.
However, second-generation MR2s (1989-99) do look the part in red. I was pleased with this pair of pictures, as I took them at dusk, yet they were decently sharp. It helps to be lucky, with this CC game.
Keeping it sporty, albeit FWD, with an unlicensed (but fine-looking) AE92 Corolla Levin GT-Z, with the supercharged 1.6 litre churning out 165hp.
A first generation (1985-89) Carina ED hardtop – and a genuine hardtop, at that! These are FWD though, so the drift crowd aren’t interested in them. Probably explains why I haven’t seen many of these around compared to Mark IIs and the like.
For example, this late ‘80s Cresta X80 Super Lucent – a Mark II clone. Just like the Carina, this one has seen better days.
No Mark II wagons in this edition, sorry to say. Would you take a couple S130 Crowns instead? Someone tried to stick some plastiwood on the side of this one. Didn’t look too bad, all things considered.
But this is how I like my S130 Crown wagons: quad-eyed, chrome-laden and pre-1991 facelift.
One of the best finds of the past couple of months: this seems like a first-generation (1972-74) Sprinter Trueno. That would mean this tall glass of O.J. has the Celica’s DOHC 1.6 mated to a 5-speed manual under its hood. Pity it was beyond reach…
Just couldn’t resist this twofer. “Suddenly, it’s 1998!” with a white Toyota Supra A80 (post-facelift) sat right behind an equally post-facelift and white Nissan Skyline (R33) GT-R saloon.
This R33 looks like an Autech-modified “40th Anniversary special” GT-R – part of the model’s final run in 1998. Pretty desirable, if you like R33 four-doors: 305hp twin turbo RB26 engine, manual transmission and AWD; 447 units were made.
On the other end of the Skyline spectrum, the only hatchback ever associated with the long-running nameplate: a rather tired-looking R30 GT Turbo EX Liftback.
Not sure how many badges this car came with originally, but there seems to be a lot on them. I’m really not too keen on this body style for a Skyline. Four-door? Yes. Coupe? Of course. Wagon? Why not. But leave the liftbacks to the Pulsars.
I went to Kyushu, Japan’s westernmost island, for the first time in April. Great trip for many reasons, except CC-wise. This R30 Skyline RS Turbo coupé, caught in Nagasaki, was the sole picture-worthy car of the trip. At least, it’s a nice palate-cleanser after that Liftback.
The B120 Sunny pickups of the month, again. Impressive how many of these are still out working for a living. Must be damn near impossible to kill.
On the other hand, I have yet to find one of these 3rd gen Caravans (1980-86) in a roadworthy state, strangely enough.
While we’re in the blue collar section, here’s one of the cleanest W10 Avenir Cargos I’ve ever seen. These replaced the Bluebird wagon from 1990 and lasted for a decade and a half. This one is pre-2000, but looks like it came off the assembly line last week.
An interesting one: the JDM Nissan S13 (1989-99) came in two flavours: the notchback/standard headlight Silvia and the fastback/pop-up headlight 180SX. This is a somewhat popular S13 bitza, it seems: Silvia front end grafted to an 180SX body.
We cannot broach the subject of Nissans without a few Cedric/Gloria Y30 wagons. Three to gawk at this time: a very tidy high-trim one, with woodgrain all around…
A far more basic (but very tidy) Gloria GL – no frills, less chrome, also very nice.
Finally, the blue-collar version with fender mirrors – as working vehicles in this country usually wear.
The Y31 Cedric/Gloria hardtop – jen-you-wine pillarless four-door, please note – has to be one of the coolest Nissans of the late ‘80s. Even vulgar BBS rims cannot spoil it totally.
I found one of these and wrote it up back in 2019, but very few sightings since then – these are now pretty uncommon cars.
There are still quite a few of these last-gen (1999-2004) Y34s about, which was sold in the US with the Infiniti badge. This is the sporty version of the Gloria with the turbocharged 3-litre V6. I need to write one of these up at some point…
And I also need to find and write up one of these A30 Glorias (1967-71). Caught this one at a Nissan dealership near my flat. These were designed by Prince but were the first to bear the Nissan name. These are really grand – prettier than the S50 Crown, more interesting than the 130 Cedric, classier than the Isuzu Florian. Perfect car to end this post on, then.
See you tomorrow for the imported stuff. Turns out the foreign cars were much more exciting than the local ones, for this edition. So don’t miss it!