CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (May-June 2022) – Part 1a: Autozam to Mitsuoka

Here we go again, dear friends, for the brief sightings caught by T87’s smartphone in and around Tokyo during the spring months of the year. Either I got really lucky or interesting cars just got more common, but it’s been a crazy couple of months here. So much so that I’ve had to split the usual Japanese car post into three and do the same for the foreign cars. So this is the first of six posts, each with about 100 photos – I can pretty much guarantee something for everyone, starting with a convertible RX-7. Not your thing? Not a problem…

Also marketed by Mazda but actually a Suzuki badged as an Autozam, I give you the early ‘90s Carol. Found another one that will be getting its own post sometime. Cute little things, aren’t they?

Still in the Mazda family (screw alphabetizing this whole post), the legendary Eunos Cosmo – much better-looking than the one I found a while back.

And this one was the famous triple-rotor version, too, as evidenced by the quad exhausts! Alas, the front end was not in a photogenic mood. Interesting mirror design nonetheless.

I’ve only just started noticing that some of the older Miatas around, of which there are plenty, bear the Eunos badge as well. And were called “Roadster” here.

Similarly, there are plenty of the 3rd gen RX-7s around and some have ɛ̃fini emblems. Which does look a little cooler than the usual Mazda “tick in a box” logo. Must try and write one of these up at some point too.

Coaxing a couple usable shots out of this one took some doing, but it’s the first ɛ̃fini MS-8 I’d seen, so it seemed worth the trouble. Based on the Mazda Cronos and made from 1992 to 1998, these pillared hardtops all came with the 2.5 litre V6 and pretty high-grade trim. This is a pre-1994 facelift car – handsome, though not overly burdened with personality.

Finally, a museum-quality restoration of a Mazda T2000 pickup trike, dating from sometime between 1965 and 1974. A most impressive machine!

I did find one that wasn’t roped off and thus will be featured in its own post at some not-too-distant juncture, so…

Let’s skip ahead to the Daihatsus, shall we? Do you know the 1996-98 Opti Classic? No? Well, you do now.

Another “Walkthrough” Mira dressed as a Mini thing – love these!

But the Midget II has to be the king (geddit?) of them all.

No idea why this one was decorated with USN markings all over, but it made for an irresistible photographic target.

On the Mitsubishi side of the equation, we start with an 8th generation Galant (1996-2005). Because they do look pretty cool.

Not quite as cool as black Lancer Evo 1 or 2, though. The AMG badge is a strange addition, as the famed German firm did practice their art on a couple of Mitsubishis, but never the Lancer, as far as I know.

Second generation Diamantes are not exactly rare, but compared to contemporary Nissan Glorias or Toyota Crowns, they are an unusual sight. And in mint condition, too…

Another “walkthrough” kei van from the (not so) distant past that we’ve not had the pleasure of meeting as yet: the 1996-98 Mitsubishi Minica Toppo Amista. It’s glad to see you too, I’m sure.

First time I’ve managed to catch a relatively stock Mitsubishi Jeep CJ in the wild. Most are either sadly rotting away or sporting purple paintjobs and silly rims, but this one looked quite presentable. As did its interior.

A nicely preserved 1982-91 Pajero (a.k.a Montero or Shogun, depending on where you live) is always a welcomed find. Even one with yellow lights, which gives it a somewhat French flavour.

This edition of the T87 Singles just wouldn’t be complete without an early model GTO (a.k.a 3000GT) on the go. Black suits these very well, too.

Last Mitsubishi of this post: a stunner of a Starion, caught both idling at the curb and in motion.

This is only the second one I’ve found in Japan so far. Somehow, the white paint and louvred hatch make this one seem even more ‘80s.

Honwards to the Hondas, then. It’s as if most of the 1986-ish range was present out there. This early model Today looked a bit yesterday, unfortunately…

But this first series City Turbo is alive and well.

As is its Cabriolet stablemate. That seat fabric must have looked even back then as if it was depriving someone’s grandfather of a vest.

But the body kit is certainly more contemporary. Adorable little cars – but not of the kei variety.

This Civic hatchback, on the other hand, looks way past it now. It certainly didn’t then.

On the far opposite end of the range, the 1st-gen (1985-90) Legend saloon. Pity this was the only photo I could manage!

Very few of these four-door Integras are still about in Japan, especially with the quad headlights. Honda launched this model in 1993 and gave it a thorough facelift in 1995, as the JDM was not keen on this design, apparently. I don’t think we ever had those in Europe, so they look pretty novel to my (four) eyes.

It’s always challenging to take pictures when cars are parked in a small box like this. But hey, that’s Life.

The last Honda of the post will also be the smallest. This is the first Motocompo I’ve ever seen IRL. Hard to fathom how anyone over 5 feet tall could comfortably fit on it, but what do I know?

Two Isuzus were sighted; both were most interesting, starting with this late model 117 Coupé. Made anytime between late 1977 and early 1981, it is a base model XT with the single carb SOHC 1.8 litre engine (105hp) mated to a five-speed manual.

Someone decided to remove the fender mirrors and fit new ones to the doors, which changes the car’s physiognomy more than I thought it would. No matter how many of these I run into, they always look apart from the rest of the JDM coupés of that era. One of Giugiaro’s finest efforts.

Not to take anything away from the Piazza, which is also a Giugiaro design. But it feels simultaneously more clinical and less well-balanced than the 117.

The Lotus connection does give the Piazza a bit of well-deserved marketing magic.

Let’s finish the post on a nightmarish and dissonant note – with the inimitable Mitsuoka, of course! Kicking things off from the tamer end of the range with the all-new Buddy. But don’t let this innocuous SUV lull you into a false sense of security.

Aha, the plot sickens! Another contemporary creation from the smallest (but blingiest) Japanese carmaker is the Ryugi. More in keeping with the Mitsuoka tradition, this one.

I’ve given up on standard-issue Viewt saloons, as those are just a bit too common to make the cut. But this is the cabriolet version, which is very rare indeed, even though this one has seen better days.

But the real stars of the show would be the Galues, as they are really the most bizarre and outrageous of the breed. This white Galue II (1999-2006), based on the Nissan Cedric/Gloria Y34 (a.k.a Infiniti M45), certainly fits the bill.

And so does this second Galue II, which adds a cherry on top by sporting a Spirit of Ecstasy ornament in lieu of the Mitsuoka star. Delusions of grandeur, or just an extra level of tongue-in-cheek?

The last Mitsuoka of the bunch is this arresting Miata-based Himiko convertible. This is the second-generation model, made since 2018.

Finally, in case you hadn’t had enough chrome to brighten your existence, this months’ dekotora madness with a Hino truck that takes the concept pretty far. Not the worst, but still pretty alarming.

More tomorrow and throughout the week – hope it won’t get too boring…