‘Tis the season to check on random cars in Tokyo, as per our usual bi-monthly arrangement. Lots to get through in this edition, but given the time of year and all, I thought Rudolph the Red-Nosed Honda here would be the most appropriate opener. Shot this slab of metal venison on Xmas day, too – which is just a normal December day here. It just happened to be a nice Sunday as well this year, so many CCs were caught.
Don’t get me wrong: Japanese folks adore the whole Christmas pageantry, including the lights, the trees, the bloody awful music and all that, but it’s not a holiday. The one that really matters is New Year’s Day: the country is basically closed for three days, starting yesterday. Speaking (tenuously) of which, that’s a fine-looking 1994-98 Honda Today F Pro.
Contrasting a red NSX with the greenery of central Tokyo. Not what you figured the middle of a metropolis of 30 million inhabitants to look like? The hill in the background is part of the Imperial Palace complex, so it’s about as central as it gets.
You don’t see too many of these early Insights (1999-2006) any more. I caught one a while back but never wrote it up. Then, at the end of 2022, this one was glimpsed and another one, in a very fetching shade of blue, showed up. So looks like there’ll be an Insight CC sometime in 2023…
We’ve seen a couple of these 660 Neo Classic before — it’s an elaborate kit made for the mid-engined 660 kei roadster. Must remember to do a fuller CC post about this oddity at some point.
Last Honda of the year. I really like the look of these early ‘90s Legend coupés. Pity the ones I’ve seen up to now are always in motion.
Finally found a “normal” (i.e. locally-made, RHD, with right-sized tyres) Mazda Proceed Marvie!
The only other Mazda of this post will be this late ‘90s Millenia, which we’ve seen before. But there was another Mazda-adjacent car this time – there usually is, with all the brands they created out of thin air back in the ‘90s…
Only this one was branded as a Ford. As many of you will know, the Festiva was designed by Mazda and sold as a Ford in Japan from 1986 to 1992. North American models were built by Kia, but still wore Ford badges. Additionally, these things were assembled in China, Egypt, Iran, the Philippines, Taiwan and Venezuela. A true global mutt.
Onward to the Toyota chapter – always a chunky one, this. Question: given that the name Toyota and the emblem are conspicuously absent from these weirdo WiLLs, should we consider them Toyotas? Anyway, I caught a few of these and of their slightly less odd Cypha successors. I just need to find a WiLL VS to complete the trifecta and do a proper CC on all three.
Not super keen on modded cars generally, but somehow this mid-‘70s Celica GT was so clean (and had a decent stance) that made the whole look much better than the sum of its aftermarket parts. The superb black paint helps a lot, too.
The one thing I really don’t like is the front air dam, but hey, nobody’s perfect. I’ve been seeing these modern-but-classic-looking eight-spoke wheels quite often, of late. They seem to be popular for owners of sportier ‘60s and ‘70s models.
On the other end of the neatness spectrum, we find this Celica GT-Four RC – the most powerful version of the 1989-93 Celica T180 – looking quite forlorn.
Woah! Is that Didier Auriol or Carlos Sainz in that T200?
Fine little first-gen MR2. Still plenty of these about; the folks who own them don’t seem shy about using them.
The great majority of second-generation MR2s I’ve seen have been red. Happening upon this lovely blue example was refreshing – and very attractive. Why didn’t more people go for this colour?
Did you know that Zagato designed a body kit for the 3rd-gen MR2 and Toyota sold just 100 of these oddities back in 2001? Because I sure didn’t, until I caught this one. Good thing it had a prominent chrome “Z” emblem, because identifying it without that would have been a much harder task.
Corona Coupé, anyone? Not often seen, but they sure look cool. Very typical ‘80s Toyota face.
I mean, look at this (horrendously customized) 1988-92 Cresta X80 saloon: same face as that Corona. Toyota have done this family resemblance thing pretty consistently since that era, though there are always some models that don’t follow suit.
The 2nd-gen (1986-91) Soarer, which is often featured in these compilations, certainly has the same general look, nose-wise.
So perhaps this is what most Toyotas are going to look like in the later ‘20s? This is the brand new gen-16 Crown, soon to appear on a road near you, now that this ancient nameplate is set to re-conquer its pride of place within the global range.
More and more G50 Century taxis are appearing. It’d be worth it to pay for a ride, if only to take a peek at the interior of these beasts. The economics of a 5-litre V12 for a taxi are somewhat dubious, though.
What an absolute stunner of a 1976-80 Mark II Grande (or Cressida, to overseas markets) this was. Best Toyota saloon of the bunch.
But the all-round show-stopper, saved as usual for last, has to be the S800. I think we’ve seen this gray one with its original plates a couple times before, but I’m not tired of it yet. Are you?
But one S800 can always be topped by another, even shinier (and easier to photograph) S800! Sure, a 2000GT is more impressive, but they just don’t exist in real life; these S800s do.
The loud motorcycle-like buzz emitted by this glorious piece of ‘60s aerodynamic design was spellbinding for a Panhard aficionado such as yours truly. Glorious.
Just one solitary Mitsuoka this time, with a series 1 Galue that, judging by the license plate, must be from about 2000-01. The whitewalls are a very nice touch!
A retro kit of a retro Pike? This is a late naughties Suzuki Alto with a Modest body kit, made to look like a Nissan Pao. Guess there are just too few Paos to go around, so this makes some sense. Meta-retro.
Moving on to the Mitsubishi side of the matter, starting with a very fine-looking Jeep.
This pre-1997 facelift FTO (1994-2000), on the other hand, is starting to look a little worse for wear. Still quite a machine, though. Intended for JDM use only, it was voted Japanese COTY in 1994.
Not 100% sure, but this dekotora insanity looks like was once a Mitsubishi Fuso. But don’t quote me on that.
Slight digression: November is when the Meiji Jingu Gaien, a parkway in central Tokyo that I have been frequenting regularly of late where folks with fancy cars like to hang out on Sundays, becomes flooded with people, as opposed to cool cars. This is due to the gingko trees donning their splendid fall colours – quite a stunning sight. So you may see this backdrop in a number of photos included in this and tomorrow’s post.
Case in point: this late model 2nd generation Isuzu Gemini (1985-90) went completely under the radar for most of the people present. Everyone was busy looking at the leaves and photographing each other strolling on the bright yellow pavement. Only one weirdo was out looking at the cars.
Two Bellett GTs were sighted: this one, which we’ve seen before, was being worked on…
…and this older-looking one was hiding behind a face-tarp. Put both of these together, and you get a complete two-door Bellett.
Gorgeous 117 Coupé looks even more stunning in blue. This is a 1979-80 2-litre model XG, available with 5-speed manual only.
Well, well, well. Looks like we’ve wandered Datsun / Nissan territory. And with a heavily modded ’70s Fairlady Z, no less.
There’s those aftermarket wheels again. Looking good on these Sunny B120 pickups, too.
I don’t stop and capture every single Figaro I come across. This one caught my eye because of its unusual colour. Fine nick, too.
On the other end of the ’90s Nissan scale, size-wise: our old friend the white President Royal Limousine is out for a stretch.
The final iteration of the President (2003-10), closely related to the Cima and the Infiniti Q45, completely failed to measure up to the Toyota Century. There aren’t many about.
This is going to cause some grief to our distinguished CColleague Scott McPherson–, but here’s a C33 Laurel that’s had quite a hard life. Or you could call it blatant abuse.
It used to be a classy Medalist twin cam hardtop, once upon a time in a bygone century. But now, it’s looking like the scrapyard beckons.
Let us console ourselves with some lovely Skylines. It seems all C10 GT-Rs are this dull silver colour. Why?
It’s odd how the only Skyline C110s (1972-77) I ever see are of the two-door variety.
See what I mean? Not my favourite generation – they fell victim to the Nissan ‘70s weirdo styling malady that affected almost the entire range in those days. It’s not the worst, especially in this condition. But compare this to the black Celica near the start of the post – no contest, the Toyota wins.
An early model 4th gen Homy (1986-2001), pre-1990 facelift. Looks like it had a nice lick of two-tone paint, but also got rear-ended… Sad…
Fifty years seem to have had no effect on this late model A30 Gloria Super Deluxe. I’m really keen to find one of these standing still someday. It needs a dedicated post.
Six generations and 20 years later, we find the Y32 Gloria Gran Turismo. Not quite the same. But then, you did get a juicy 3-litre V6, compared to the A30’s somewhat lethargic 2-litre inline-6.
The final Nissan of the post, chosen solely from an esthetic point of view, is this 1979-80 yellow Sunny California B310 wagon playing chameleon among the gingko leaves.
I caught this one a while back and wrote it up: it’s a CQ Q-Car – the cutest single-seater EV you’ve ever seen. Better hope it doesn’t rain, though.
We’ll end this half of the late 2022 Singles Collection with a Subaru. We started this post on Rudolph, so let’s end it on Blitzen.
See you tomorrow for the foreign stuff!