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

There were a lot of imports of import in and around Tokyo in March / April 2022. So let’s kick things off gently with a square-eyed Volvo 240 wagon. These were not sold here with those US-style headlights, so someone either imported one from North America a while back, or just put those headlights on a JDM car. There were other Volvos to be seen, though…

Like this glorious Amazon two-door sedan – a 1969 model, if the license plate is to be believed.

This first-gen C70 cabriolet was also quite the looker. Not often seen, but once seen, hard to ignore.

For once, there was also a Saab cabriolet sighting this time! Pity these are so rare here.

Onwards to the German cars. Another (chromed) bumper crop of Mercedes-Benzes in this edition – more so than usual, perhaps. Running the gamut from this über-classic R107

…To the shabbiest W123 wagon I’ve seen on the road in this country, by far. In Europe or America, this would just be an old Benz. In parts of Asia and Africa, this would be the ideal taxi, though as a 280TE, it might be a bit on the thirsty side.

That’s more like the W123s we’re used to seeing in Tokyo! Spotless and sporting a lovely deep blue, this 230E was given a W114’s steering wheel. For once, I approve.

Speaking of W114s, here’s a rather nice 250 getting out of its parking space. It was uncharacteristically noisy, though, so perhaps this near-perfect exterior is hiding a few issues…

Gee, it’s an OG G! There are lots of recent G-Wagens hereabouts. In fact, owning a G-Wagen (usually fully-optioned, V8-powered, either black or pearl white and adorned with AMG logos) might be a pre-requisite to get a parking space in certain parts of Tokyo. This particular one, however, is a humble 230 GE – a very rare pre-1991 un-blinged G-Wagen.

Note to self: do a write-up of the W126. These are superb cars.

Smarts don’t feature all that much into my posts, mostly because I don’t really notice them. This one was the exception that proves the rule: the elusive Lorinser version. My first question, “What?,” was soon followed by its logical corollary: “Why?”

I seems to be running into a lot of 912s. Not that I’m complaining – this is probably my favourite Porsche – but still, this must have been the fifth one I caught in Tokyo. The sixth followed soon after, but will be given its own post in due course.

Was there a bigger postwar 4-cyl. car engine than the 3-litre found in these 968s?

The 914 is an acquired taste. An impressive mustard-coloured 6-cyl. model lives near my pad, but this black one sounded more like a flat-4.

Over to the Volkswagen side of things, starting with a 1969 Type 3 Combi that has had a few mods – pretty restrained, really, compared to what certain folks do to these.

Very nice T2 Campervan with automatic transmission and a plaid interior that looked period perfect. The plate on the dash said Rio de Janeiro, so this one might have come here by way of South America.

The front-engined VWs will be represented in this edition by the usual Mark 1 Golf cabriolet

…Followed by the usual Mark 2 Golf hatchback

…As well as the (slightly less usual) Mark 2 Jetta.

BMW-wise, this edition isn’t going to disappoint, either. I’m sorry that this E9 coupé whizzed by so fast that I couldn’t even ID its engine (3.0? 2.8? 2.5 even? No idea). That’s the way CC hunting goes, sometimes.

OK, the thing here is not the Z4 itself so much as the colour scheme. I’d call it aqua and pale pink metallic and it might well be the ugliest combo I’ve ever seen on a car. I know, I know, I bitch about white or silver cars, and they can be boring. But this is an offense to the senses!

Uncanny valley, here we come! This broken down Isetta 300 was actually blocking a lane on a major crossroad in north Tokyo. Pushing these off the road must be difficult, given how they open.

Unbelievably, this was my second Isetta sighting of 2022. Here’s the first one, which took place a few weeks prior. This one was a three-wheeler and RHD, which means it’s a British-made one. And it was very sprightly compared to the yellow four-wheeler, too.

Always lots of nice British cars in my neck of the burr walnut. Shout out to Mr Klein – I sort of almost caught a Jag X-Type wagon here. Better photos next time.

It took me a while to appreciate the XJS. Now that they’ve become thin on the ground, seeing one this nicely preserved (and in British Racing Green) wafting by is an event.

I have a few Daimler Double Sixes in store – need to do a write-up. This one was a plain single Six though. Or a Half Twelve, as some like to call them.

As was this one, albeit of the slightly newer (and decidedly uglier) XJ40 style. Found one of these in white in France, a while back. This Japanese one at least is wearing a nicer colour.

The latest R-R from the collector chap I keep an eye on was this mid-‘60s drop-head coupé, one of the 328 Silver Cloud III chassis fitted with this “Chinese Eye” (as it is no longer called) body style by Mulliner Park Ward.

In the more modern world, the Aston Martin Rapide remains one of the cars that catches my eye whenever I see one. Pity they no longer make these.

And it’s an equally sad fact that the Rapide was replaced by yet another stupid SUV with a Benz engine. This is the first DBX I’ve seen in the wild here. Yawn.

The Mini of the (bi-)month: another lovely Traveller, with actual wood trim. Adorable.

After seeing this fugazi VandenPlas and that make-believe Princess, finally the real thing! Where have you been, ADO16? It only took you about three years.

Speaking of which, believe it or not, this is the first Korean car I’ve ever seen here. I’ve seen more Soviet / Russian vehicles than anything with a Kia or a Hyundai badge. Bonus: this looks better than the Aston DBX – and in this country, it’s far more exclusive.

Let’s hop across the Pacific and check out the US-made stuff, starting with this – yet another one of those Cadillac CTS “wagons.” Hadn’t seen one in a while.

These bug-eyed De Villes are also pretty uncommon here. Now that they’re pushing 20 years of service, coupled with the Northstar, I’m guessing they may also be getting a bit scarce in their home continent, too?

Another quaint Japanese custom: decapitated saloons for VIPs. These parade cars are made locally and used by military, police and Imperial house bigwigs. In this case, we have a late model Toyota Crown and a Cadillac STS. The latter has a police crest replacing the Cadillac logo on the grille…

Can’t get enough of those JDM “Regal” wagons!

But we’re using Di-Noc as a metric, nobody can top the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

We’ve had the pleasure of this Continental Mark V before, but I ran into it again. Saw the owner get out and enter a nearby shop while leaving this monster idling, with music blaring, at the curb.

There was nothing really special about this Ram van – it was just the setting and the sunshine than called for a quick photo, I guess.

Chevrolet for the win! To start us off, a fine-looking K10 Silverado pickup dating from sometime between 1981 and 1988, as far as I can tell.

I’ve already written a post on this generation, in Suburban, Blazer and plain old C10 pickup form, so one might say these are not unknown here. Nice example nevertheless.

Not the first ‘60s full-size Chevy restomod I’ve caught in Tokyo, but it might be the first ’64. Love that rear end, though the ’61s are even better.

Finally, from the same parking space that featured a Porsche 356, a Ford Cortina GT, a Simca 1000 Rallye and a BMW 2002Ti seen in previous T87 Singles Outtakes editions, this beautiful C2 Corvette.

One last US-made… er… thing for the road (or the trailer park, as the case may be) with an Airstream being used as a restaurant. Hey, it’s not the smallest eatery in town, that’s for sure.

Let’s get Italian here for a spell, shall we? Lots to see here again, so start small with a cute little Fiat 500F. Beautifully accessorized, too!

Bertone built 55,000 Punto cabriolets for Fiat between 1994 and 1999. These were quite popular in Europe back then, but I wasn’t aware that a few made their way to the opposite side of Eurasia.

The Ferrari 355 now looks like a classic. I remember when these were new. What does that make me? Don’t answer that. Moving on…

More recent Ferraris are pretty prevalent in the streets here. The ones that always stand out are these front-engined shooting brake-style GTC4 Lussos (2016-20) – the family man’s Ferrari. I don’t know how one spots the difference between the V8 ones and the V12s, but these have more personality than most other modern supercars.

And then there is the Roma, launched a couple of years ago. Starting to see more of these now… Sometimes one after the other!

This one was parked curbside and thus more cooperative. I quite like the front end – distinctive, if nothing else.

These have a 620hp 3.9 litre V8 and are allegedly aimed at Porsche and Aston Martin buyers. So the “small” front-engined Ferrari GT is alive and well, even as the new millennium enters its third decade. Who’d have thunk it?

Lots of Alfa Romeo encounters took place over the past couple of months. Starting with the most recent noteworthy one, the 4C (2013-20). As far as I know, this was the first mid-engined Alfa since the marque’s birth in 1910. Better late than never, eh?

They didn’t quite reach 10,000 units with this car – somewhat below expectations. All a bit too contemporary for my taste, yet I still find these somewhat alluring.

Not nearly as alluring as an early model Giulia 105 coupé, of course. Even a race-ified one.

Saloon-wise, the 155 (1992-98) is always an uncanny sight, with that broken wedge profile. Not really my cup of espresso, to be frank.

For once, the more recent one is the better option. The 166 was a breath of fresh air, compared to the endlessly re-hashed wedge shape seen earlier, or the square-jawed 164. Pre-facelift cars (1996-2002) like this one are the better-looking ones, in my view.

This is the first GTV that I’ve caught in the wild here. This one has the 2.5 litre Busso V6 in one of this storied engine’s first incarnations. About 22,000 of these were made from 1980 to 1987.

But the unquestionable show-stopper, the Alfa de tutti Alfi, was this SZ. Based on the 75 (so RWD), this striking coupé was briefly made from 1989 to 1991 (and just over 1000 units only) using styling ideas emanating from Robert Opron. Remember that name.

Last Italian stallion with the grandest Maserati of the dreaded De Tomaso era: a Quattroporte III. These always look somewhat American to me – the width of these looks more like a ‘70s Buick than they do an ‘80s BMW.

Let’s end things on the French stuff – usually the least well-represented sub-genre, but this was a good couple of months for everybody. The usual Renault 4 to start us off, just to prime the pump.

Two interesting Peugeots to report, starting with this sweet little 306 Cabrio. These were designed and made by Pininfarina from 1994 to 2002. With just under 78,000 units made, the last Peugeot soft-top (so far) was a real success, like the other 306 models. This one is a late-model (series 3) example, dating from 2000-02.

Here’s one rarely seen outside of France. The Peugeot 607 (2000-10) was less of a dud than the Renault Vel Satis and the Citroën C6, but it was still far from a big seller. This is a pre-2004-facelift “phase 1” car. Not sure what engine is in this one: 2.2 litre 4-cyl. (petrol or Diesel) or the 3-litre V6. Hopefully, the latter.

We are fast approaching the end of this post, so let’s slow things down with some Citroën 2CVs. That a plural, yes, as there were not merely this one…

…no, a grand total of two tin snails were seen over the past couple of months. But the real star of the Citroën show was without contest the one below.

Ah, the glorious SM – the first one I’ve caught in this country. These Maserati-powered spaceships, designed by the great Robert Opron, were made from 1970 to 1975.

This one was likely imported from the States, as it’s wearing the (unfortunate) sealed beams required by American law. Still, any day spotting an SM, even a white one with the wrong nose, is an excellent day.

The final vehicle for this edition will be of the three-wheeled variety, but this time, it’s a motorcycle with a side-car. The nagging question I had while photographing it was: “What make of bike is that?” It looked different – definitely not local.

I managed to catch a good side shot as it whizzed by and did ID it. This is a Russian-made IMZ Ural, based on a prewar BMW design – albeit heavily modified, with a 2WD drivetrain. These are still being made in small quantities, apparently. No idea why what looks like the Italian tricolour is on there, but then the whole getup was pretty odd.

That’s about it for this edition of the Tokyo Singles Outtakes. See you in a couple months for the next one.