CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (November-December 2021) – Part 1: Japanese Cars

It’s going to be a rather packed edition of the T87 Outtakes, as it seems as if local car collectors are really keener to go for a drive during this this time of year. Possibly because it’s cool and dry – ideal classic weather, really. Plus, yours truly is also liable to be out and about for the same reason. The mid-‘80s Toyota Soarer GT Twin Turbo above was caught at twilight in early December, which is peak autumn foliage season in Tokyo.

It’s been a while since we’ve not had an AE86 Sprinter Trueno. Not because they’ve become rare all of the sudden, but because I grew a bit tired of them. Plus, it’s easy enough to find these, but they’re not always in the best condition.

This one, though, was hard to resist. Only fly in the ointment: the interior was impossible to capture, due to the angle of the sun. Ah well…

More ‘80s Toyota coupé madness, you ask? Keen to oblige. What else but a Supra A70?

One more 30-plus-year-old two-door Toyo: a fine supercharged MR2.

This one was very cooperative and had a superbly preserved interior, too.

OK, we’ve gone through most of the Toyota coupés of the period, so let’s move on to the iconic X70 Mark II wagon, because no matter how many times these come up, they never fail to please.

Same with the late ‘80s / early ‘90s X80 sedans, which look very sleek. This Cresta is a case in point.

I don’t believe the current Toyota Century (nor the V12s of the 2000s-10s, come to that) were ever available in white, but this is not the first late model VG40 (1982-97) I’ve seen in this uncharacteristic hue.

Sometimes, it’s not strictly about the car – I mean, I likes me a Toyota Origin as much as the next guy, but photographing this one was really about the sheer Japaneseness of the scene.

I need to find one of these late ‘90s Sprinter Truenos and document it more thoroughly. They were the last of their kind and look rather nice, though not nearly as appealing as earlier cars…

I love these things. So weird. Anybody know what they’re called, by the way?

We’ve seen a few Renoca mods on Toyota vehicles – notably on Land Cruisers and Proboxes. This is another variation of the HiAce – instead of US-inspired square quads, big round eyes. Quite fetching, certainly more interesting than the standard look.

The best for last – an early model (1968-70) mark one “Corona Mark II.” Looks completely original, too.

If you ever wondered how tall a Takeoka Abbey was, the answer is: about eight tyres. Now you know. Don’t mention it, it really is my pleasure.

Only one notable Mazda this past couple of months, but what a Mazda! These massive T1500 three-wheelers aren’t too common anymore. But right in front of this lovely trike truck, there was…

A Subaru 360! Talk about a twofer. An automotive cocktail of pure ‘60s nostalgia, if you’re Japanese.

Interesting Mitsubishis included yet another one of those Jeep four-door wagons. There are a surprising amount of these about – of perhaps I’ve just been lucky. This one was not in the best condition, and had ugly wheels.

These impressive-looking machines, known in America as the 3000GT, were sold in Japan as the Mitsubishi GTO. Later cars (1994-97) like this one, sans retractable headlights, were more powerful in certain overseas markets, but JDM cars kept their 280hp rating till the end.

The late ‘90s Minica Toppo Town Bee kei van has to be one of the goofiest cars made with a Mitsubishi badge, and that’s saying something.

On the other end of the kei car goofiness scale, the Suzuki Cappuccino is an almost perfect miniature sports car. And aside from the slightly off-kilter name, it’s a seriously fun automobile.

I caught two of them this past few weeks – BBS wheels and no logos anywhere or OEM alloys and badges? Your pick, same colour.

Nothing much to report on the Daihatsu front – just this early ‘90s Atrai depressingly rusting away, unwanted and unhelpful to the world. Put this thing out of our misery, please!

Onwards to the Hondas, then. I haven’t found one of these oddball mid-engined 1998-2001 UM-4s (or Zeds, as they were called officially) standing still (or in decent nick) yet. Will keep an eye out for one, though, as it’s one of the strangest keis ever made.

Now I’m on record as stating that I like these ‘90s Legend coupes. This one though… ugh…

Just the one Mitsuoka to share this time: a K11 Viewt with wire wheels, just to make that Jaaaaag look even more unmistakable.

We cannot hold out any longer: here are the Nissans. Today’s pressing question being, how do you like your R30 Skyline coupé? Early model with the bigger headlamps…

Or the post-1983 “Iron Mask” version, preferably in RS Turbo mode? Decisions, decisions… It’s as good as a GT-R, as that famous acronym was not used on Skylines of this generation.

Genuine Skyline GT-Rs are few and far between. This late-model C10 (1968-72) certainly tries its best, but it’s just a common-or-garden 2000GT with a few mods.

This B12 Sunny “California Wagon” has also had a few non-stock bits added, including antique-looking chrome fender mirrors, a special grille and a peculiar side trim that is trying to look like fake wood, but cannot even manage that.

No B120 Sunny pickup this time around, but a circa 1972 B110 two-door sedan. These were marketed as the Datsun 1200 in many places; compared to the horrid 120Y that replaced it in 1973, this little Sunny managed to be quite a cute little car. Too bad I could not access the area where this one was parked.

Speaking of cute little two-doors, who can resist a Figaro? I hadn’t seen one in this colour before, and it’s quite fetching. But it’s the interior that really seals the deal: real leather and more cream bakelite than a ‘50s Benz.

Thought the Rasheen was a bit of an odd duck? Well, here’s its relatively rare red-headed (and four-eyed) sister, the Forza.

The 1990-94 P10 Primera was a rather bland (albeit very competent) effort from Nissan. The 2.0 eGT was the most powerful of the bunch, with the famous “red top” SR20 engine churning out 150hp. So I guess this is the most exciting these ever got. Still a hard pass from me.

Bluebirds are more interesting to me. This 1987-92 U12 hardtop, the super-special-spicy “SSS” version no less, glided past me as I visited the Chinatown area of Yokohama recently. Great grub there and, it turns out, some pretty cool cars, too.

But when Bluebirds are concerned, few are as appealing as a nicely-preserved late ‘60s 510. This Deluxe saloon is still wearing its original plates, too. You can tell the age of Japanese plates by their tax band (or vehicle type) number above the four main digits. Old plates (1962-71) have a single number. Two-digit vehicle type numbers were progressively used in the late ‘60s until 1999, when the three-digit code was implemented.

So this rather splendid 1983-85 Gloria Y30 hardtop, for example, still has its pre-1999 two-digit code, the number 58. Which makes this a category 5 car, i.e. at or under 2000cc, narrower than 170cm, shorter than 470cm.

This velvetastic Gloria Y30 wagon (still besotted with these, and I keep finding them, so…), made sometime between 1987 and 1999, has 77 on its plates, which was formerly used for three-wheelers and then became an “overflow” code for category 5 cars in certain locations. That’s why they eventually had to switch to three digits…

These Cedric / Gloria Brougham saloons were also made for a very long time (1987-2014) and are pretty hard to date, but this one has to be a pre-2000 car, due to the two-digit vehicle class number. Incidentally, this is a rare occasion of a carmaker’s model code (Y31) being used as part of the car’s badging.

This S15 Silvia, on the other hand, is definitely a post-1999 model, going by its license plate. Or, at the very least, it changed hands sometime in the past 20-odd years, or its owner moved to a different prefecture.

Drum roll please for the JDM version of the infamous Nissan Van (C22). Made between 1985 and 1994. In Japan (and in many other countries), these vans had smaller engines (1.5 to 2 litres), compared to the US version’s 2.4 that also had to deal with A/C and prolonged highway use, which caused over 100 fires and killed the model in North America – Nissan literally tried to buy all of them back. This base-spec 5-speed manual JDM version is much more in keeping with the vehicle’s design philosophy.

Three oddballs to finish this post with a suitable amount of WTF-factor, starting with this whacky dekotora creation on a Mitsubishi Fuso Canter.

There are a bunch of old steam locos and ancient streetcars dotted about the place, usually in public parks and playgrounds. I might do a post on these someday, just to mix it up a bit. For example, check out this ex-Imperial Army locomotive, made in 1921 – the first 100-year-old vehicle I’ve caught for CC.

And last but certainly not least, the first Hino car I’ve caught in the wild. This is one of the 35,000-odd Hino-Renault 4CVs made in Japan between 1953 and 1963. It was hidden deep inside a car mechanic’s cavernous garage, so all I could get was the one pic. Better than nothing and better luck next year.

See you tomorrow for them funny furrin’ cars.