These Jeeps Cherokees were very popular in Europe, back in the day. One of the few American cars that you would see pretty frequently, at least in my corner of the continent. It seems they also had a bit of success in Japan as well – I’ve seen a few around. This one was particularly pristine.
Similarly, this generation of Voyagers (always Chryslers, not Plymouths in distant export markets) was also seen fairly frequently in Europe a couple decades ago. Haven’t seen that many in Japan, but then they are a bit wide for this country.
Here’s one curio I’ve seen too many times for it to be a unique example. As a matter of fact, I realize I’ve photographed at least two near-identical ones already – the wheels on the one below are different. This is based on the 2003-11 Lincoln Town Car, obviously, but I’m not sure what they use these for, nor what the green cross means.
It doesn’t look like a hearse – it’s the wrong colour, for starters – but it does have commercial plates. Hope I can find another one and get a better pic. Perhaps Tokyo’s resident Lincolnophile Jim Brophy has a lead on this?
From the odd to the mod. Beetles are more popular here than I thought. This one is mightily accessorized – it’s all a bit too much, both inside and out.
I’m hopeless at pinpointing the model year for Type 1 VWs, especially one that’s been tarted up, modified and then left to rot. Any ideas?
This black one was sure pretty, too. A mite younger, perhaps. Pity about those whitewalls starting to peel off…
Type 2 Transporters are also very popular here. These pre-1968 ones are just irresistible.
First series Golf / Rabbit cabrios also have a dedicated following in Japan. I had already caught this particular car on the go back in March, but this time I was able to get a better shot at it. Shame about the rims, but everything else is sehr schön.
Second generations Golfs aren’t too common, though I’ve caught one before as well. I love the way this one just stared out at me from its lair, like some sort of four-wheeled predator.
Speaking of predators, here’s a leaping cat. It really has no business being on there, as this is too recent a car for these things to be on there. Plus it’s a Daimler.
Down a couple of rungs on the British luxury car hierarchy, a modest Rover 600. Looks like a late model, circa 1997-99, but I’m no expert. Why any Japanese person in their right mind would buy a blander version of the Honda Accord made in Oxford is beyond me.
I’m also not sure I get anything made by Panther, either. The Kallista roadster was made for a decade from 1982, packing Ford 4- or 6-cyl. engines and very little else. Just a wannabe Morgan, but uglier. Surprising to find one here, but still… ugh.
An MG Midget – now that, I can understand. So English it should only be driven in a tweed jacket, so small you can squeeze into a kei car parking space, so cute it’ll go through your wallet to melt your heart.
By comparison, present-day offerings by Rolls-Royce look more like highly-polished armoured vehicles than automobiles. This Wraith Black Badge, with its $400,000 price tag and gaudy rims, is about as subtle as a kick in the groin.
Now, I don’t want to pick sides, but the current Bentley two-door is marginally less ridiculous than the Wraith. Put it next to a couple high-end German cars and it almost blends in. Not that any of these are of any remote interest to me – if I had money to burn, I’d just get an old Benz.
I said an old Benz, not a gold Benz. Sheesh!
Now that’s more like it.
A good old Volvo would also be acceptable, I suppose. There are too many 240s around here so I’ve given up on documenting them, but this 1996-98 S90 struck me as quite a wonderful representative of its species – the last of the boxy RWD Volvo.
The British plate on this one makes me wonder whether these were ever imported in Japan at the time. Either way, it’s such a wonderfully out-of-step car with its epoch that it almost looks like it was made in a planned economy of some sort. It’s like a Swedish Volga, but better built.
A couple of Peugeots caught my eye this month, starting with this one, another 406 Coupé – a second series (2000-03) model in classic silver. Glad to see this old gal (for Japan) still out and about. However, I’m learning that small Peugeots are more popular here than big ones – not a huge surprise, but that extends to older models.
Take the Peugeot 106. I’ve seen a few of these buzzing around, and it never fails to amaze me. Japanese sources say that they were imported from 1995 (the 106 started life in 1991) in UK-spec, but then they decided to only import the super-spicy S16 version (also called Rallye in some markets), a pint-sized rocket with a 1.6 litre DOHC engine churning out 120hp, from 1998 to 2002.
But then they needed factory A/C, which turned out to be impossible to fit on the RHD cars, so they switched to LHD cars instead. All of these later imports were either blue or white – and are relatively rare nowadays. Still managed to find two identical ones this month, which both looked in very decent condition, given their age and provenance.
This month, I posted about a 1967 Ferrari 330 GT that I saw several Sundays in a row. On one of those Sundays, mere minutes earlier, I this jaw-dropping Fiat 600 Abarth appeared before me. ‘Twas a blessed day for Italian ‘60s rarities, to be sure.
Abarth made several different Fiat 600 derivatives, starting in 1956. If this one’s massive front bumper and wing flares are any indication, it could be a genuine early ‘60s Mille TC Berlina. I could also be a tarted up standard 600, for all I know, though the noise that came out of it was crazy.
Last but not least, an AC Cobra. Is it genuine? How can one tell? Does it matter?
Oh, that was the last car, but I also caught this lovely blend of pre-war British design and post-war Indian know-how. That saddle is positively minimalistic – perfect for your more austere Japanese riders. Big European or American butts would probably not find it acceptable. I’m no motorcycle enthusiast, but that thing has style.