CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (March-April 2024) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

Oh, is it time for one of those again? Might as well, given that the pickings were quite rich, over the past couple of months. Take the Isuzu 117 Coupé, for instance. No, please, go ahead and take one – there are plenty.

See? Just wait around for a spell, and another one crops us. OK, I’m exaggerating slightly, but the point remains: these lovelies are not that rare. Well, except the first series ones, the “handmade” pre-‘73s…

Well, well, well… That’s the 117 you want, apparently. I saw this one at the annual Nihonbashi Spring car meet, which was a CC treasure trove this year. But I’ve already written up a Series 1 Isuzu 117 Coupé, so beautiful as this one was, it belongs to the Singles Collection. But the Alpine in front already had its day on CC and the GS behind will too, at some point.

That interior is borderline erotic. As is the rest of the car, really. Giugiaro at his best.

This one though? Not Giugiaro’s top-shelf work. But its owner seems to think that the famed designer’s name has to be tacked on to the rear end.

Piazzas look better in stock trim, in my opinion. As do most cars.

Those wheels are one of the car’s coolest features. It also manages to look good in white – not the easiest trick to pull off.

The Vehicross, on the other hand, is just plain ugly. But very rare in its native land. I must have seen four or five in total, including this one and the one I wrote up a while ago.

Last Isuzu of the post with a rather ancient – but pretty substantial – TF Faster/Rodeo-based campervan. I used to see these in Thailand all the time, but they’re quite rare over here nowadays.

We keep on truckin’, but with a 550cc 1977-82 Mazda Porter Cab. Still working for a living, too.

Plenty of 3rd gen MX-7s are modded for street racing (maybe most of them, at this point), but quite a few gen 2 cars (a.k.a. the FC) like this one are as well. Tailpipes big enough for Mario and Luigi to enter the warp zone in and ugly wheels, but at least the rest of the body looks presentable. Meh, I think we can do better.

There we go! Just a matter of patience.

First generation RX-7s are a much less common sight – especially an earlier one like this 1978-80 model.

This is all I could capture of this 1986-91 HC Luce (a.k.a. the 929) being worked on by an amateur mechanic. Very few of these are still around – perhaps this one will come out and play some day…

The Mazda Persona (1988-91) is rarer still – and quite the looker! Definitely on my CC bucket list.

Moving to the Nissans (and Datsuns, as the case may be) with the friendly Figaro. That grille is not quite smiling, but somehow these make me happy.

Compared to Toyota, Isuzu and Mitsubishi big 4x4s, older Nissan Patrols like this 4th gen (1988-97) Y60 wagon is not often seen. I wonder why. The Safari decals means this one was sold by the Nissan Prince Store network.

Thanks to Nissan’s occasional exhibition of their (considerable) vehicle collection though, we can also see an absolutely pristine 1972 Patrol, i.e. the second generation. None of these can be found in the wild, unlike Mitsubishi Jeeps and Toyota Land Cruisers…

Sometimes, these Singles Collection posts are chock-full of Fairlady Zs. This time around, only this one crossed my path.

Similarly, one can usually count on a half-dozen Skylines – except this time, when only this (heavily modded) C110 coupé was seen.

I fared a bit better in the Laurel department. A fine C34 wafted by at the Jingu Gaien, and I just had to stop photographing Morgans, Porsches and Alfas to give it a quick snap.

Most C35 Laurels one sees hereabouts are white, but they don’t look half bad in black, do they?

Very nicely preserved early model (1995-97) Y33 Cedric Brougham – impossible to photograph the exterior, save the front. But the interior was perfectly cooperative. And virtually spotless.

I always keep a lookout for Y30 “Ced-Glo” long-roofs, and this is a special one. It’s a bog-standard Cedric van, which is uncommon enough, but also a very early model, with the pre-1985 front end.

This Gloria wagon is more normal, I guess. But it’s the patina and the (doubtless original) owner’s clearly extensive and enthusiastic usage of the car that compelled me to take a couple of snaps.

There weren’t many Japanese cars at the little Nihonbashi classic car meet, but this beautifully restored 1963 Bluebird 1200 Deluxe was one of them.

Another victim of the aircon-itis epidemic, eh? Beautiful restoration anyway.

I have a soft spot for the B110 Sunny, but I never thought I’d see a GX-5 in the street. This is the spiciest variant of the breed, the 83hp twin carb GX-5 – the “5” is for 5-speed, which the GX got in 1972. Best Nissan of the post? I think so. But not the rarest…

The rarest Nissan is not exactly road-legal. But the I didn’t find it on the road: this Formula E Batmobile racecar was at the same place at the Tama I wrote up recently.

This is the Gen 2 (2018-22) racer, whose power and top speed are a modest 335hp and 280kph, respectively. Acceleration, though, is blistering: 0-100kph in 2.8 seconds.

Moving swiftly on to the Hondas, then. I don’t bother photographing all the NSXs that I see, but sometimes there is one that seems to call out to be immortalized…

So many S800s… I now have a few in store for future CC posts, so this yellow one was surplus to requirements.

But what can you do when they just keep coming?

Well, you just point and click. I’d say “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel,” but I bet it’s harder to do that than it was for me to find ‘60s Hondas this spring.

Aha! Now that’s a real find – the S600 Coupé, one of about 1800 made in 1965-66. Pity it was not ready for a lengthier photo shoot.

Incredibly clean Civic Si restomod – a 1985 model, if the license plate is anything to go by.

A few Subarus now. Every time I see an Impreza Casa Blanca, which fortunately is not too often, I wince. When Mitsuoka do it to Nissans, it’s one thing. But Subaru did this themselves to their own car, and quite a legendary one at that.

The SVX, on the other hand, is always a welcomed encounter.

Even more welcomed was this chance meeting with a 2nd generation (1979-83) Leone saloon. I saw it from a distance, as it entered a side street, and luckily managed to catch up with it.

Great to see one of these. A wagon lives close to my digs, but this is the first notchback I’ve caught.

Suzuki-wise, an early-model turbocharged Alto SX was found. This is a 1985-86 model (I think), with the 44hp fuel-injected 550cc triple. A mighty midget.

The other kei car bearing an S on its grille was the Cervo – this is the Cervo Mode, launched in 1990 as a 660cc model. Never understood why Suzuki had two (or even three, with the Fronte) keis in their range. But it’s a fact that they’re still around and thriving, so there must be a reason.

Aha! We’ve seen this one before. Nice to see it out and about.

An interesting Cappuccino, with aftermarket taillights and headlamps. Gives it a slightly meaner look – not bad, not bad at all…

Daihatsu Mira L500 walkthrough vans never fail to make me smile, but this one also wears the “Classic” retro front end.

No retro kit needed for the Midget II – it is what it is. And nothing else quite compares.

Except another Midget II, that is. With dog dish hubcaps.

We start our tour of the Wild World of Toyota with the modest ’70s Publica wagon. So modest it even forwent its wheels on this occasion.

The original Publica, with its distinctive flat-twin soundtrack, was even more modest. This is the revised P20 version (1966-69), with a whopping 800cc.

I confess that I was unaware of the Toyota C+Pod until recently. These minuscule EVs were launched in 2020, exclusively destined for city use (speed is limited to 60kph), though only for corporate or government use at first.

In late 2021, the C+Pod became available for the general public – albeit only for lease. There aren’t many about and production was halted a few weeks ago. Surely the smallest Toyota ever made?

What is it about those first gen MR2s that puts me in mind of a video game? Not anything too sophisticated, more like a Super NES cartridge… There’s something pixelated about these. In a good way.

The very first Corolla Levin was launched in 1972 and was made until 1974. Sweet-looking fastback.

Twenty years later, the penultimate Levin (1991-95), based on the E100 Corolla. Still nice, but a tad on the bland side…

Decidedly not bland: the maddest customized Celica Liftback ever (hand-)made.

I have soooo many questions, including: “Why?,” “Seriously though, why?,” “What’s going on with the back seat area?” and “What if you had focused all that time, money and energy into something else?”…

More traditional Celicas like this A60 were also on offer, thankfully.

These T160 cabrios are pretty rare, here. Interesting upholstery!

These Z30 Soarers aren’t exactly rare, but something about this one was: most of them are white or silver. This shade of blue suits it very, very well.

Keeping with the unusual colour theme, the first G60 Century I’ve seen in a non-standard hue. That British Racing Green looked pretty good. Pretty sure this car belongs to a hotel.

The all-new Century SUV plug-in hybrid, ladies and gentlemen. Launched late last year, based on the Grand Highlander / Lexus LT and featuring the same 406hp 3.5 litre V6.

Aside from stretch limos, this is the first alternative body variant to be proposed on the Century. I wasn’t sure I saw the point, until I learned that they were going to sell these in China as well as Japan.

Just like the Crown SUV Crossover, I guess, which is Toyota’s new global flagship. Lots of those around Japan now – but sometimes, you do find an outstanding example…

A good ol’ Kujira will help us all wash our eyes from the previous two … vehicles.

One day, I’ll find one of these sitting curbside, unoccupied and ready for a full CC post. One day… And hopefully without the naff 007 reference on the tail.

An interesting case of a self-inflicted CC-Effect: having just written up a Tommykaira ZZ, I find another one of these very rare cars stopping for a drink.

No Mitsuokas this time (I know, I’m shocked and stunned too!), so we’ll move on to Mitsubishis, by way of this Jeep.

We’ve seen these two separately, but never together. That’s what one might call a dynamic duo.

Odd idea to get red mirrors for a white Starion. But why not?

Quite a fine first generation (1982-91) Mitsubishi Pajero (or Montero or Shogun, depending on where you live) here. “Pajero” refers to a type of South American wild cat, hence the feline on the spare tyre cover. Most Latin Americans would not illustrate the term with this drawing, though…

Another one that’s very high on my CC bucket list. This is a later model Debonair (circa 1976-81), with the Astron 2.6 litre 4-cyl. engine, but not with the MMC badges that even later cars got.

I have secured one of these Prince Glorias now, and it will have its day on CC (hopefully) soon. Pity it wasn’t this particular one. Or – dare one dream? – a wagon.

How about a couple of Hino heavies? The Baroque decoration on this older model was certainly worth a snap.

This one also had a very arresting appearance, but I bet its contents would also be worth a butcher’s.

Final vehicle of this post. Should a standard-issue Honda Goldwing 1800 just not be enough, the good people at Gordon trikes can “add value” (and weirdness) by way of a third wheel and a very elaborate customized body kit. Also available for Harleys… If you must…

See you tomorrow for the first of two posts on imports.