CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (May 2020) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

Here we go again for another round of CCs caught in Tokyo. This month was the lockdown, but the government and police here decided they had no legal means to compel folks to stay home, so it was all about following recommendations. Which means I could still walk or cycle about town, usually accompanied by my 5-year-old, whose school was closed.

But we did spend more time indoors than usual, so I did catch a few more CCs from my balcony than previously. This explains the title pic, a gorgeous first-generation Toyota Celica Liftback. But one cannot stay cooped up too long (especially with a small kid). The above Sprinter Trueno AE86, encountered on a rainy day, may bordering on common, but was too tempting to pass up.

This Toyota Crown S130 wagon is a relatively rare Standard model (without hubcaps or rear wipers) of the older, pre-facelift kind – made between 1987 and 1990. Judging by its general demeanor, I’d say it’s still working for a living.

On the other end of the S130 Crown wagon scale, we have this post-facelift Super Deluxe from the mid-‘90s, which is sporting chrome bumpers (that should be painted, really). It’s not the fanciest S130 wagon, but it sure looked very nice and those double rear wipers are awesome.

Another 2nd generation Toyota Soarer! I’m starting to like these. This one is a post-facelift model (1988-90) and looks like a tight fit in front of that house.

I unearthed this rusty S40 Crown a few blocks from where I live, well hidden from view – except from mine, obviously. With quieter streets due to the “lockdown,” I have been emboldened to venture on the edge of trespassing, if the photo is worth the risk. This one definitely was.

The Toyota Corona EXiV was an attempt to shoehorn a swankier hardtop between the standard Corona and the Mark II / Chaser. Based on the Carina / Celica FWD platform, the model was launched in 1989 and made enough business to warrant a second generation from 1993 to 1998, which is what we have here.

Apparently, EXiV stands from “EXtra impressiVe” – another impressive butchering of the English language by a Japanese company. Other than that, it’s not a particularly memorable product. Despite its age, the EXiV is still relatively common on the roads here. Amazing how thin the A- and B-pillars could be a quarter century ago.

Less common: a purple Toyota Origin. Only 1073 of these were made in 2000-01, and the only ones I’ve ever seen were black. Great way to stick out like a sore thumb while driving a rebodied Progrès.

One last Toyota – but not the least: a 1987-89 Land Cruiser 60 Series. These behemoths were never as common here as in other climes, as their 4-litre engines made them pretty expensive to run in Japan.

Keeping it off-road for a moment, I’ve captured the Mitsubishi Jeep wagon and the military version, so here’s the civilian CJ equivalent. Timeless.

There really aren’t many classic Hondas about, for some reason. I have glimpsed at a few S600/800 roadsters, but haven’t managed to catch one yet. This early Accord will have to do for now.

And now to the Skyline portion of our little tour. This early model (1981-83) R30 coupe doesn’t look like it has seen action in a while. I bet a little air in those tyres and a new battery would revive it right up.

The R30 coupe was given a facelift in 1983 and they called it “Iron mask.” This one is the super-duper RS model, (over-) restored to full otaku standard. Well, at least it’s not red.

Not sure what to make of that antenna, but other than that, a delightfully over-the-top car – and quintessentially mid-‘80s.

They didn’t bother changing things much for the R31 (1985-90). The greenhouse looks shorter on these, but the rest looks pretty identical to the predecessor model.

Skipping ahead to 1998, here’s a rather fetching R34 saloon. In my view, these are the last interesting Skylines – after 2002, the nameplate was grafted on to V6-powered Infiniti products, thereby losing their straight-sixes and quite a lot of their JDM-ness.

Speaking of JDM oddities, meet the Nissan Leopard. The story of this nameplate, which went through four generations, is torturous to say the least. Hopefully, I’ll catch more of these rare beasts and be able to string a post together. This is the final generation (1996-99), based on the Y33 Cedric/Gloria platform.

Yet another Nissan Y30 wagon – this time, the Cedric version. It’s hard to make it out, but the third brake light is up there on the tailgate, which makes this a late (1995-99) model.

Finally, a cute little Figaro to close the Nissan chapter. These are not common, but I understand that they have a dedicated following here. This one looks nicely cared for, certainly.

What an odd pair those two were. The Peugeot 306 is a late model (1999-2002), but it wasn’t really the focus of the exercise. The Mazda RX-7 FC (locally known as Savanna) was much more interesting to me: it’s a mid-range model made between 1989 and 1991; its turbocharged 1.3 litre rotary engine provides 205 PS. It might not have the cachet of the early first generation RX-7s, but it still oozes character.

I’m still on the fence as to the Subaru SVX. It’s impressive, for sure, but I cannot associate that shape with Subaru. It’s kind of miscast.

Subaru have always had a lot of success with their Sambar kei pickup and van line. The 6th generation, made throughout the ‘90s, included the Dias Classic, a funny-looking retro bus. Hard to say what they were trying to emulate exactly.

Finally found one! I’ve known about these for a while, but it’s the first time I’ve seen this kit, which is bolted on to a Suzuki or Subaru base. These UAz-452 lookalikes are made by the same folks who do Citroën H van and VW Type 2 kits – which are relatively ubiquitous here. So delightfully weird.

While we’re dabbling in unusual minivans, here’s a late model (1989-92) Daihatsu Delta Wide B20. Love those rims. That light bar looks like it ought to spell out “Mercury.”

But Daihatsu made ‘em weirder still. I’ve caught one of these walkthrough vans before, but based on the Mitsubishi Minica. This one is a Daihatsu Mira. These never cease to amuse me.

Finally, here’s something of an enigma. This car was unfortunately inaccessible for close inspection, but it sure looks like a first-generation Miata that’s had a whopper of a nose job.

Not sure what this is trying to look like, but it’s got its charm. Those tubular bumpers don’t look like they’ll afford that original schnozz much protection in a crash. That’s the price of originality…

See you tomorrow for part two!