This twofer of an RX-7 overtaking a Mitsuoka Viewt is a good scene-setter for what has been a banner month for CCs. The sunny and cool weather probably helped: car owners are likelier to take their pride and joy out for a spin and I’m off on wanders a bit more often. It was hard for me to set foot outside without some kind of interesting car passing nearby. It’s a numbers game, and the odds got a lot better.
We kicked off with Mitsuoka, so let’s get those out of the way. I found this one close to the Ferrari I posted about recently, in one of the more exclusive parts of town. Fitted right in.
This one visited me at night – I took a bunch of photos, but only a single one was decent enough to post.
Kicking the bizarro up a notch or five with this 2005-10 Galue series III, based on the Nissan Fuga. Aaarrgh! the memories (the PTSD, I mean…)! My first post on Mitsuokas featured one of these, which I caught in Rangoon back in 2016.
The one I photographed back then was occupied, so it was impossible to take an interior pic. Here’s what that looks like. Pretty nice place to be and at least, when you’re in there, you can’t see the car. Best of both worlds.
I didn’t catch any cool Mazdas per se this month, but I did bag their short-lived Autozam sub-marque. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to document one of these AZ-1s someday – most iconic kei car ever.
Then I saw this. I had no idea what the Autozam range included, so seeing this 1991-98 MX-3 renamed as AZ-3 was a bit of a “whatever” moment. Now reading the Wikipedia page and seeing these were also variously known as Eunos Presso, Mazda-Eunos 30X and Mazda Precidia. Why did they bother?
The Autozam version was supposedly geared towards younger customers, so apparently this should have the 1.5 litre twin cam 4-cyl. engine, as opposed to the tiny V6. This one’s going nowhere fast, though.
I’m not seeing many interesting Subarus about – but obviously, what I find interesting is at odds with what Subaru owners seem to go for. These ‘90s Imprezas are seemingly everywhere – always of the souped up WRX sort, invariably in blue. This one was just a bit more accessorized than the mean. Yes, they’re classic performance cars, but they’re just all the same. Boring. One question though: some, like this one, have a pink grille badge. Why?
Glad I caught this one, which I’ve seen roaming about occasionally, always overflowing with junk. I think it’s a local take on those bush taxis crammed with cargo – though those are usually old Peugeots or Toyotas, not a Subaru Sambar Dias.
While we’re on the subject of oddball kei vans, here is the usual VW van kit…
And here’s a much less well-known … er… DeSoto Hello Kitty? Driven by the Smurfette, no less!
Peekaboo! The unmistakable headlight of a cute little ‘60s Honda. Hope to catch you on the street someday…
Love the colour on this 2nd gen (1989-93) Integra. This one should have the VTEC engine, too.
I was stumped by this series 1 (1989-95) Honda Inspire – another JDM model I’d never seen before. It’s essentially an Accord with a 2-litre 5-cyl. engine. These are closely related to the Acura Vigor sold in North America, but I don’t think anything like this ever went to Europe, which is probably why I drew a blank when I saw it.
Here’s one that North America never got: the 3rd gen (1985-89) Accord AeroDeck. Pity I stumbled upon it just as it was getting cleaned by its caring owner, so I could only manage a single shot.
Onwards to the Nissan portion of our little tour. I realize I cut the tail off this Fairlady Z, but I was a front passenger in a car and this Datsun came the other way and this is the best I could do. Which I thought was pretty decent – and it’s such a great car, I just had to include this.
A 2nd generation Z is also a worthy encounter, and I wrote one up recently. This one is a bit older and a 2-seater version. Not sure it’s the best vehicle to haul rags in, but what do I know.
The Laurel is one of those nameplates that had a very long life, largely in Japan – especially the later ones. The 6th generation (C33, 1989-93) is one of the more popular ones. I caught another one and will be writing it up as soon as, but here’s this one in the meantime.
The C33 Laurel shares the DNA (and the RWD platform) of the R32 Skyline, the A31 Cefiro and the S13 Silvia. The other cars could get a 6-cyl., but the two-door-only Silvia was restricted to 4-cyl., though this included one of the potent 2-litre turbo variety.
Still quite a few S15 Silvias can be seen about Tokyo, but this one was… er… special. It’s the rare Varietta retractable top variant – strange choice for a drift car.
Couldn’t resist this Pao, which seemed to be trying to blend into the sky.
Another late-model Sunny pickup! This one was so pristine, which is rather rare for vehicles like these. It looked like it came straight from the factory, skipping the intervening three decades.
This President JS (i.e. the short wheelbase model) was obviously still used as some bigwig’s ride – the chauffeur was taking a snooze in it. There are many cars serving as siesta huts around this city, but this is probably one of the better ones. Sure beats a capsule hotel.
Another executive office on wheels: this is an early model F50 Fuga VIP, which replaced the Cedric / Gloria in 2004. This is the first one I’ve seen with the old-fashioned fender mirrors, but apparently that was an option on these until 2007. Looks kind of weird on a modern design like this.
Last Nissan of the month: a 1987 Sunny B12 wagon, which some of you may know as the Sentra. I don’t think Continental Europe ever got these, especially not with the fender mirrors and Di-Noc trim.
On the Toyota side, there were an unusual number of nice Land Cruisers this month. This one was of the older (mid ‘70s?) J40 variety, but the J60s of the ‘80s were really the flavour of the month.
Gotta love those J60s. I’m less partial to the square quad ones, but finding two virtually identical ones (and both in mint condition) was pretty cool.
Long-roof Crown S130s are plentiful, but this one was definitely unique. Ugh!…
Much better. These are of the higher grade variety, too.
I was glad to catch this S170 wagon for two reasons: first, it’s an early model (1999-2001) and it’s not an “Athlete” series car, but a Royal Saloon. It’s still an “Estate,” but a “Royal Saloon Estate.” Toyota logic.
But the best catch of the breed this month was this late ’60s Crown S50. I have actually already featured this one back in April, but it was not as good a shot. And the car changed colour since then.
I seem to be exceptionally good at uncovering these 2nd gen Soarers. But why are they invariably white?
No AE86 this month, sorry. Would you accept this AE92 instead?
The 4th generation Supra A80 (1993-2002) is not really a rare vehicle yet, but most of them are either kitted up to the gills or painted in a bland colour. This black one, on a fine morning, just popped up and begged to be part of this post. How could I say no?
Somebody used to love this X80 Cresta. They splashed out on rims, some complex array of antennae and a Momo steering wheel. But somehow, it’s now ended up in this sorry state. Shame.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not super keen on these WiLL Cyphas. They’re just weird for the sake of weird. But someone out here likes these – I found these two facing each other in an apartment building parking lot. Or perhaps it’s an owners’ convention.
This one might be a new one for many of you, but it has four wheels and is made by Toyota. This is the COMS “Super-Compact Electric Vehicle,” usually used by companies for their couriers or small deliveries, but this is a privately-owned one, it seems.
A few Mitsubishis before we call it a day? These were called Galant in most countries, but in Japan they were badged as Eterna. This generation lasted from 1988 to 1992. I always thought they looked like imitation-crab BMWs (albeit FWD)…
Those old-style four-door Mitsubishi Jeep wagons are just the greatest. This is the one I wrote up a while back. It had disappeared for a time, but came back for an encore. And it even brought reinforcements.
The in-motion two-tone version, with whitewalls no less. Same late-model type with the triple wipers.
There were a few interesting trucks this month, too. I’m not super knowledgeable about these, but a quick web search taught me that this is a first-gen (1984-92) F-series Fuso, also known as Fuso Fighter. But the real jewel of the Mitsubishi Motor Co. was the one below.
No idea what kind of chassis this is, nor do I care, frankly. This is just one of the most outrageous dekotora trucks I’ve ever seen. Jaw-dropping.
Finally, the Panda bus. And it’s female, apparently. Because of course it is.
See you tomorrow for the imported stuff.
These Singles Collections are my favourite CC regular/monthly series posts!
In Japan, at launch the AZ-3 had the smaller engine and the Eunos Presso had the V6, but pretty soon they made both available with all the engines to try to bring more customers through the door. I’d guess you’re right though, and that AZ-3 more likely does have the smaller engine. I think the V6 wasn’t all that popular? Though Mazda’s multi-brand approach wasn’t that popular either haha
On the Subaru, the pink badge was the late 90s-early 00s STI logo, generally applied to specific STI special-tuned versions of the Impreza and others, but added aftermarket to lesser/standard WRX STI models. Usually it’s in the form of a stylised i down the centre of the oval, but others seem to just have the stars on a pink background, or just something that shape in pink to give the illusion it’s in some way special.
The VW kit van and the one below are based 2 different generations of Suzuki Every.
It’s a shame that someone’s gone out of their way to drift-ruin that Silvia Varietta, they didn’t make it for very long and didn’t sell many either.
Might the Sunny wagon be a Sunny California? I’m not sure how Nissan branded them in Japan, whether they were all California or just certain ones.
I personally love the WiLL Cypha! Was very seriously considering importing a 4WD orange one as my first car, but shipping costs really put me off, plus some critical thinking about how easy it would be to get the 4WD system serviced, parts, etc. even though the Yaris (Vitz) was popular here.
I think the one you label as Eterna was a Galant? Of this generation, the Galant was sold from one chain of Mitsubishi dealers, and the Eterna and Eterna Sava from the other. The Galant was a straight-up 4-door sedan, the Eterna was a 5-door liftback, and the Eterna Sava was a 6-window 4-door sedan with much softer sloping rear window, vs the Galant’s being closer to vertical as pictured.
I agree on the Mitsubishi Jeep wagons, especially that two-tone blue and white one, beautiful!
Again, thanks for these posts. I look forward to them every month!
As Joe mentions, pink is the STI color. Those Imprezas are often not actually aftermarket modified, but rather evolution or homologation specials sold from the factory, i.e. with wings, scoops, engine peripherals etc and generally highly prized. Of course plenty of people do it themselves as well. And yes, the Subaru World Rally Blue is quite popular.
My guess is the X80 Cresta’s owner is…in jail. While his family still lives in the apartment/condo and the car is awaiting his return.
That cranberry Integra color is excellent, the same as the 1990 Integra LS 3-door model I was considering buying over here in around ’94 or so.
You do have a way of making it seem that Mitsuokas are more common than Nissans in everyday traffic. They aren’t but do apparently flock to you.
If it weren’t for the right hand drive, one of those Mitsubishi Jeep wagons would make a tempting import. probably not cheap, though.
“….but why are they invariably white? ”
With all you time in Japan I am surprised you haven’t noticed….white cars are driven by men, red cars are driven by women in Japan. Unlike the U.S. and most of Europe, a red car is rarely sporty and is not a car color chosen by men.
I had been to Japan 3 times in the mid 80s and it wasn’t until a co-worker pointed it out that I finally realized it.
BTW, nearly every white car in Japan is the same shade of white and nearly every red car is the same shade of red.
Good to know! I have a super white A80 Supra and I like the color because it is also the official racing color of Japan.
I bet the owner of that black Supra gets notes on it all the time from folks wanting to buy…
Always enjoy your posts Tatra. Nothing quite like a brisk walk with a camera strapped around ones neck. Found this beauty the other week and was also knocked out to see a ‘civilian’ Toyota Crown from the 80s just this weekend. I was unable to stop at the time but hope to bag it again soon.
One point I’m curious about. I hear that the Japanese annual inspection on cars are brutal and very thorough, including even the conditon of the interior. Many of your photographs seem to tell a different story, some showing a fair bit of wear and tear and even over the top customization. So how are some of these cars stil on the road?
Nice look at our traffic, pity about the Galue the Fuga isnt a bad looking car and seems to come with a V8 as an option unless those are retro fitted Fugas are very popular here a baby President like that had been resident on a mates front lawn for several months gone now it got swapped for something elseTheres a red Imprezza out side this a[[artment block covered in the then current rally sticker and STI bits and pieces it could be genuine but unlikely there arer just too many here and most are fakes,
I think theres a Nissan Cab-all hiding under all that chrome, it does make the Fuzzbox Fighter look rather plain.
Datsun/Nissan Sunny Californian I think that was called a tidy one was dumped in the long grass beside the salmon net factory I worked at in Geeveston, nobody wanted it and it was still there when I left
I too am a fan of the round headlight J60 Toyota L/C and J45’s (ok, ALL pre-83 L/C’s). I’m with Paul, a Mitsu/Jeep wagon would be cool to import even though I have never driven a RHD vehicle, but have always wanted to try it. After seeing all your various posts, I fully understand why the Japanese opened design studios in the U.S, Only in rare flashes of brilliance have they ever shown any form of automotive design taste.But I imagine due to the circumstances in Japan, function must come first; anything resembling style is merely by accident.
Totally agree on both fronts.
Ah, lovely C33 Laurel, albeit marred slightly by the aftermarket wheels. This one’s a Medalist (the champagne secondary colour gives that away) and is the ’91-’93 facelift version (different window mouldings and taillights, amongst other changes, yes I know I’m a trainspotter…!). I had a ’92 from 1999ish until 2005ish and absolutely loved it. 5-speed manual (yay!) diesel (not so yay but still ok), and very well-designed and built. The excellent ride and handling and pillarless design combined to make it an unexpectedly nice touring vehicle. I look forward to the write-up of the other one you found T87!
Plenty of other delights you’ve photographed too – we got most of them as JDM used imports, and most have been and gone from our roads now, so nice to see some reminders of motoring past.