Well over 500 photos in, we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And that light emanates from a set of quad square headlamps, set wide apart on either end of a retro-style grille topped by a hood ornament. No doubt about it, we’re going to be faced with some serious Detroiters, like this mid-‘80s El Camino. And whatever I was not able to fit in previous posts – Swedish cars, rest-of-the-world, and a few motorbikes for good measure.
No prize for guessing which American marque was the easiest to come by. It’s always the same one – the name is one the tip of my tongue…
I found and wrote up a K5 Blazer a couple years ago, but its wheels were all wrong. I like the stance of this one a lot more. Wonderful colour and interior, too.
The Chevy, which has of course been lowered, seems to be almost exactly the same height as the Porsche, from this angle. Forced perspective?
I keep running into these, though the absolute star Chevy van here is not this one…
…it’s the Astro. Among US vans, those have the most dedicated following. Still not sure why that is exactly, and I usually refrain from documenting them anymore, because they’re so common.
But this one had a pretty extensive amount of work done and was outstanding all around, earning it a place in this post.
Chevrolet HHRs are rare here, compared to PT Cruisers. People do tend to like the original better than the copy.
I bagged a couple of very presentable late-model C3s over the past couple of months, but those will get their own post. This rather peaky-looking one, on the other hand, fits here pretty well.
The most outstanding Chevy was, without a doubt, this 1976 Caprice with its striking purple people-eater get-up. Seeing that thing certainly gave me a bit of a jolt.
How considerate of this Caprice’s owner to add a splash of colour, a dash of humour and a flash of terror to Tokyo’s traffic.
Again with the Buick “Regal” wagons? Hey, they tickle my fancy. And you work with what you have.
I do think darker colours work better with the plastiwood sides, though.
Surprise: a pre-1991-facelift Buick A-body – the first one I’ve seen in the wild in this country. Still has the Regal name and everything else, just the older face. And a major paint issue…
Plenty of cool Caddies at the local GM garage/dealer, too. We’ve visited this place many times before – it’s part of my regular CC hunting route now. This blue Eldorado Biarritz (1979 or 1980?) was briefly on display at their fancy showroom – wish I could have seen it up close.
Same deal with that gorgeous 1962 Sixty Special. If only they could leave it parked on the street for a few minutes one weekend…
I’m not 100% sure if this is the same black ’59 sedan we’ve seen a previous episode of the Singles Collection, as this one has a different license plate. But it could be that they sold it and it came back for one reason or another.
The garage was uncharacteristically open on a Sunday morning and someone was detailing the ‘59, so I got the opportunity to take a look inside. Sweet, though the wildest interiors of the period were definitely not the GM ones.
And just beyond the Cadillac, I spied something ancient hiding in plain sight. If that license plate is accurate, that ’26 Model T would be the oldest car I’ve seen in this city – by a long shot!
So bring the clock forward 65 to 70-odd years, which Ford could be said to be the Model T’s most direct descendent? The tenth generation T-Bird…
…or the “OJ” Bronco? There could be arguments on both sides. Or I might be comparing apple seeds to apple sauce.
Crown Vics are an unusual sight in this country. With those searchlights and dog-dish hubcaps, this one looked even more interesting. I’m sure some CC readers can let us know what we might be dealing with here…
That Crown Vic’s a bit puzzling, but this turn-of-the-Millennium Lincoln Continental’s amber turn signals means it was most probably sold new here.
Lots to report on the Jeep front, as per usual. Any US-made CJ is a relative rarity here, where Mitsubishi dominates this particular niche, so I was pretty glad to have scored one, even a highly modified example.
This CJ7 (1976-86) was under a tarp for a very long time – I kept tabs on it, as I figured it might be worth a photo or two. Definitely worth a bit more than that!
Maybe it was an effect of springtime, but the Jeeps were certainly quite green, this past couple of months. I love all classic Wagoneers, as I assume most of us CCers do, so I’m not complaining.
Far from it, in fact. With its period-perfect paintwork, lack of Di-noc and, in my view, second-best nose in the model’s production run (after the early ‘60s one), not to mention those wheels and that interior, this is probably the best-looking Wagoneer I’ve seen here.
Quite the scruffy Chrysler-era Grand Wagoneer! At least, it must be original, which I understand it can be only once. So onwards to the Mopar products we go.
The Internets suggest this would be a 20-ish year old Dodge Dakota Quad. First of these I’ve seen in Tokyo and perhaps ever, as I really don’t know where I’d have seen one up close in the past couple of decades.
Something about this 2011-15 Charger made it stand out. Can’t quite put my finger on it. Because I’m pretty sure it would be bitten off by that beast!
A new PT Cruiser variant: the two-door delivery wagon! But to end the Big Three section on a truly CC note…
…how about a gorgeous 1967 Barracuda notchback?
So, it’s back to the European stuff, I suppose. Care to guess which country?
A second yellow Volvo 850 T-5R! I found this car’s identical twin (with a more recent license plate) last autumn, but this one is definitely one of the 749 sold in Japan back in 1995-96.
There are so many 240s around here that one can afford to be very picky. This one ticked almost all boxes: chrome mirrors, original wheels, generally flawless blue paint… They don’t get much nicer than this. Pity about the aftermarket steering wheel.
We’ve had the pleasure of seeing this 780 Coupé in quite a lot of detail, but it went on its merry way. Then I saw it again in June. Still in near perfect nick.
What a superb colour for a C70. It’s not necessarily the first thing that is asked of a Volvo, but it really stood out of the crowd.
Which specific model do you picture mentally when you hear the name “Saab”? For me, the 900 saloon is not merely a Saab, it is the Saab.
And yes, that’s the 900 saloon, as opposed to the convertible, which was a rare sight in Europe. Seems they have a following here as well.
Similarly, these 2nd-gen 900s, Saab though they may be, lack the earlier 900s’ uniquely odd set of shapes. It’s all a bit too smooth and too GM. But much worse was yet to come and, as we all recall, it all ended in tears just over a decade ago with cars like the 9-5 below.
At least, the design of the front end, with those chrome strips surrounding the headlights and grille, do impart a Saab identity to these cars, so you can spot one even from far away. Just like you could the Edsel, I guess.
After stumbling upon a 20-ish year old Octavia RS, this is the second Škoda I’ve uncovered in Tokyo What we have here is a 2006-11 Roomster, an MPV based on a subtle mélange of VAG platforms.
Another known unknown in motion! It’s known because we’ve seen this specific UAZ on CC before, but what’s unknown is how sustainable a Russian-made AWD vehicle would be in the long term, especially when it comes to parts access.
That’s it for the cars, vans and trucks, but there were a lot of bikes caught as well. Well “a lot” is relative – more than usual would be more accurate. Starting with the above contraption, which looked properly ancient, but thwarted my ill-informed efforts at identification.
There are plenty of bike shops in Tokyo, but most cater to domestic marques – and not usually the older stuff, either. This one had a very different array on display.
This included a 1970 Electra Glide – something even a non-biker like yours truly can appreciate.
Not that there aren’t other ancient Harleys about that occasionally catch my attention.
We’ll end things on a Star, i.e. a Yamaha made in the US – and over-decorated in Japan. Guess anything called Star should be shiny…
That’s (finally!) all folks. I’m still baffled by the amount of brief encounters that took place over the past couple of months, but I doubt that the next edition of the T87 Singles Collection will be as huge as this. The high water mark has been reached!
The mystery vintage bike on the street looks to be a Harley 45 flathead.
That 69-70 Chevy C-series appears to have the ultra-long 8.5-foot bed, Maybe it’s a matter of perspective, though.
If it does, that would make it a fairly rare C-20 “Longhorn” model – 8797 made for 1969, 5281 for 1970.
It’s a regular 8′ bed. The 8.5′ bed has a very obvious seam where they lengthened it.
I agree that it is an 8′ bed, it is a 1/2 ton and the proportions look right for the 8′. However considering the paint job on this, If it was a Longhorn bed, I would sort of expect to builder to fill the seam so it looks cleaner and doesn’t mess up the graphics.
As always I’m amazed by the breadth of selection on Tokyo’s streets, just tootling around doing their business. The Baracuda notchback looks like one of those old business coupes, very special. Thanks for a great singles series!
I’m loving the UAZ. It’s the one sure way to out-snob all those vintage Land Rovers that are the hot thing these days.
As usual, a wonderful set of pictures and commentary.
I agree that the K5 Blazer is an awfully alluring example — the originality, color combination, etc. The interior picture reminded my of something though: As far as I know, the Chevy pickups and Blazers from this era with the optional bucket seats and console may be the first example of genuinely useful automotive cupholders. I think this option originated sometime in the mid 1970s.
That K5 is nice, it would get top dollar in the US today. It must be a handful to drive over there, or so I thought until I kept scrolling down and seeing bigger and bigger iron.
I’m sorry but that green Wagoneer hurts my eyes. Admittedly I’m not a big fan of green, but that shade just doesn’t work for me at all. The CJ on the other hand isn’t bad.
Regarding the Crown Vic, it is of course a Police Interceptor as evidenced by the bucket seats, trunk button in the clock location and of course the spot lights. For year it is a 2006+ since it has the instrument cluster with a Tach. (Or a 2005 that someone has went through the significant trouble of retrofitting it).
In far away New Zealand there is a Crown Vic police interceptor club, I forget how many cars they boasted but its quite a few, Where are they coming from? the US or Japan?
Police Interceptors also had a different grille from standard Crown Vics.
When I see any post-original style Wagoneer I can’t help thinking about the designers who did the new grille. Management: we think a horizontal grille will freshen it up and seem more modern. No money for a new hood though. Maybe put a plastic patch across it and make it look like a hood scoop or something.
I am simply blown away by this collection of American iron in Tokyo. I would have never expected to see these vehicles over there. Over what time period were these photos taken?
“I do think darker colours work better with the plastiwood sides, though.”
Seems to be the case with that Buick model. But sometimes somehow white seems perfect with it. Maybe it’s the Look Of Real Wood decals around the windows perfectly matching the lower fiberglass framing.
(I know I’ve probably posted this photo before, maybe more than once. But a classic is a classic. And this was also mom’s ideal station wagon, which because of Cheapskate 50’s Dad she never got. And I still agree.)
45 Harley, Paul beat me by miles, Some nice finds among those but the UAZ has to be the rarest, parts? Russia isnt that far away and cars used to leave Japan bound for Russia on fishing boats parts could return the same way,
Some of your finds will find their way here eventually Japan is a good place to source used cars for NZ as generally they are easier to comply with less bodging to pass shaken testing and plenty have made the extra voyage already.
Skoda Roomster was the car of choice for a companion driving franchise that kicked off here a while back so they are a common sight as are Skodas in general the NZ police are rolling out their fleet of Skodas to replace their Holdens as the leases expire, who thought a brand that was the butt of countless jokes and spawned the locally made Trekka utility would enter police service later in life, you’d have to experience a Octavia based Trekka first though.
Saabs with ragtops seem to be the most common here I rarely see sedans.
Great finds. I’m always amazed that the two most common US models I’ve seen here over the past 20 years have been the Astro Van and the Buick Wagons – almost all with the Dinoc fake wood siding. I imagine most of these were sold through Yanase.
And Japan sure loves their Volvo Bricks – there may be more 240’s here than in Sweden 🙂
These are just amazing. So many are so out of place.
Nissan recently announced they were discontinuing the Nissan Titan pickup once this series is built out. Do you ever see a Nissan Titan or Toyota Tundra in Japan? Like the Yamaha Star, they might pick it up over a Chevy or Ford if they needed a US style pickup. There are a few pickups on here, I’d always wondered about the hometown brands over there in that category.
Thank you very much Tatra87-san. Over 600 photos in 6 posts in 6 days, I can’t imagine the effort and dedication to get this done.
In the 8 weeks over 3 visits to Japan I have only spent 4 days in Tokyo. Your posts these last few years have me looking forward to my next visit, and my wife agrees we need to spend more time in a city that has almost the same population of our entire country. So much to see. Thanks again.
The two that really blew my mind are the Dakota and the Continental, which I didn’t even realize was exported officially. Especially to Japan, with the size and displacement taxation. Both of those are run if the mill cars on their third or fourth (and usually last) owners here in PA, and nearly all are in rough shape, thanks to years of neglect, low resale, and rust. To see pristine examples in Japan is really something. The base HHR is a bit surprising too, but I can see it being brought to Japan by a service member. Especially since it’s the base LS rental-grade trim.
What the heck is that PT Cruiser? They made 5 door wagons and 2 door convertibles, but that 2 door hatchback body is not factory. I certainly wonder what the back story is there.
I can see CVPIs having followings overseas, since there m have been so many surplus vehicles liquidated over the past 30 years, making them a cheap and readily available way to buy a real BOF V8 RWD American sedan. Again, though, the taxes one must pay on this thing in Japan…