CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (November-December 2022) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

Welcome to part two – as per usual, this one will be slightly longer. And full of fun and colourful things like this ochre Fiat 500, which I believe has already shown up on one of these Singles Collections before, a couple years ago. But it’s so cute, it deserves top billing.

Uncharacteristically tatty (for a Tokyo car), the Fiat Panda 4×4 remains a true legend. Back when I used to prowl the Alps, whether in Switzerland, Italy or France, these were everywhere – and could go almost anywhere, too.

A few Alfa 155s (1992-98) were sighted. Not the most exciting saloon the brand ever produced, but still quite a distinctive shape, for a ‘90s Euro four-door.

And apparently, these have quite a following here, too.

Caught this late model Spider on Christmas day. The CCs were out in force – a sunny Sunday will usually do that.

This Lancia Delta Integrale was captured the very same day…

As was this sumptuous De Tomaso Pantera – Close, but not quite identical to the one Jim Brophy regaled us with back in March. This is the first one I managed to document, after a couple of glimpses and near misses.

The Ferrari F355 (1994-99) was the first car to feature the “flappy paddle” F1 gearshift controls and semi-auto gearbox subsequently used on countless higher end sports cars. This car has it. But the clincher, for me, was its unusual colour – they’re almost always red or yellow.

Likewise, I wouldn’t have normally bothered with a Lamborghini Murciélago (2001-10), but the colour and texture of this one was compelling. Just not in a good way.

Allow me to offer a sky blue Pagoda as a palate-cleanser. There. The world makes sense again.

And a second one, while we’re at it.

While we’re on the subject of SLs, a couple of W107s might appeal, no? A rarer coupé paired with…

the inevitable roadster, in 500SL guise. With those Euro bumpers and in that black colour, it’s a looker.

Are these R129s (1989-2001) starting to become scarce where you are too? I happened upon this pre-facelift 500SL recently and couldn’t recall the last time I had seen one about.

I’ve been paying attention to the local W124 population – so many can be seen around town. Wagons are especially popular, but as to saloons, while there are many 500 Es (a freakishly high amount, truth be told) and a few 400/420 Es; most are 300/320 Es. This is the first 4-cyl. E-Class I’ve seen here, complete with original license plates. And in perfect German taxi pale yellow, too.

Maybach S560 limos are always impressive. Not quite as regal as a 600 Grosser, but still pretty grand.

Always a pleasure to see the cleanest-looking W111 of them all! This is a later one with the 3.5 litre V8, too.

If there is a bad angle on these cars, I have yet to discover it.

Another Beetle playing dress-up and guess-the-model-year games, eh? I’ll pass. I mean, I’ll photograph it of course, because it is quite nice. But I’ll not hazard a guess as to anything else about it.

Must admit, the two-tone black and beige with matching wheels is quite a combo. Makes it look 15 years older than it probably is.

I wrote up an almost perfect twin of this Cabriolet recently. One notable difference was the colour – it was orange, which was period-perfect. Navy blue is less ‘70s, but sure makes for a beautiful Beetle.

The usual first-gen Transporters, a true object of veneration here.

Fun little twofer: a Mk1 Golf Cabriolet and an air-cooled 911. But I think we can do better than that last one…

Three very fine examples of the 911 in its original, unsullied state crossed my path. This one was in motion…

…but this one was not. Irresistibly attractive machines, even in silver.

This yellow one was a little bit younger — 1973, if the license plate is to be trusted. Still looking great, but things would soon change for the worst.

When a BMW drop-top is just not exclusive enough, make it an Alpina BMW drop-top.

E30s are still encountered fairly regularly here. This one has a few added bits to it, but still looks then part.

Final German car of the post with this delicious early ‘90s Audi Cabriolet. Classic Audis are few and far between here, so finding something even as (relatively) recent as this is a minor miracle.

Only one Swedish CC this time – but it’s a Saab! In hindsight, these 1994-98 Opel-based 900s look like the beginning of the end for the marque.

Caught about a half-dozen Soviet/Russian cars in three years, so even a modest Niva counts as a rare find.

Let’s move on to the French finds. I wonder how many of these H vans migrated to work as food trucks in Japan. You hardly see any in their home country any longer, but plenty seem to be busy working here.

We’ve already seen this beauty in the March/April 2022 edition of these Singles Outtakes, but I encountered it again just before New Year’s Eve, so here it is again. Most probably a Japanese-market SM, essentially a US-spec car sold here in 1974-75 because Citroën had to pull out of North America at the last minute.

Same day, right in front of Toyko Station, an early model (1977-80, I reckon) CX Prestige was gliding through traffic, looking like the proverbial spaceship even though it was designed decades before the vehicles that were around it.

A few interesting Peugeots, starting with this late model 106 Rallye – probably a 2000-02 model. These had a 1.6 litre DOHC engine mated to a 5-speed manual, churning out 118hp for a 960kg car. Hot hatch indeed!

First Peugeot 1007 (2005-09) I’ve seen in this country. This is a very curious car for several reasons, but the most salient one is that it was the costliest flop Peugeot experienced since the Talbot affair.

Finally, a proper RWD Pug! Awesome to see a well-cared-for 505 wagon.

A couple Renaults to finish with the Froggies – a dapper Supercinq is always nice, but there was something more CC-worthy out there bearing a lozenge logo this time. See below.

Yes, it’s the legendary R8 Gordini – the grand-daddy of the hot hatch, really. Just lacks a hatch. The initial 1964 version had the R8’s 1100cc, albeit with a hemi head and twin carbs. For MY 1967, the Gordini got a 1300cc producing 88hp (DIN) and a 5-speed gearbox, enabling it to reach over 175kph. Just under 9000 were made until 1970, and this is one of them. A true blue gem.

Couldn’t resist this curious juxtaposition of an Alpine and a Routemaster. What an odd place Tokyo is, sometimes. Most times, even.

There are quite a few Routemasters prowling the pavement here. Some are used to do sightseeing, others, like this one parked curbside in Ginza, is basically a mobile, Diesel-powered billboard. The giant handbrake on these things always left an impression on me.

But speaking as an ex-Londoner, they do have to be red. A green one like this just looks alien.

All manner of Minis live in Japan. This is the first pickup I’ve documented here – a bit overly modded for my taste, but to each their own.

Several Rolls-Royces were photographed, but most will have their stand-alone posts. This late model Silver Spur, however, only had a couple of angles on offer, so it’ll be fine right here.

The 1996-2003 Bentley Continental T was a sportier SWB version of the Continental R. They built 321 units only – and all I managed was a quick snap before this one disappeared, not quietly into that good night, but somewhat noisily into that Christmas day.

That same day, this happened: a rare second-gen (2006-09) Azure with a lot of custom touches. Some people have more money than sense, and then there are people who order cars like these.

Plenty of Lotus, as always. How do you like your Esprit, by the way? GT3 in yellow…

Or a slightly older S4 in blue?

When is a Lotus even more of a Lotus? When it’s a Caterham.

There are so many of these about Tokyo on sunny weekends, you’d think Toyota made them in a secret underground factory or something.

And when is a Lotus cooler than anything that Lotus ever did on their own? When it’s a legendary Lotus-Ford Cortina Mk1.

That lovely legend was parked right next to the aforementioned R8 Gordini, too. That made for an exceptional twofer. Must do a special post recapitulating the array of cars I’ve seen parked in front of that house. Everything from a Dino GT4, a BMW 2002, a Simca 1000 Rallye, a Datsun Bluebird 411… hmm… picking up on a definite theme, here.

A lovely Daimler Double Six? Well, why not?

The very same Double Six a month later? Why not again?

Not usually that keen on the XJ40, but it’s undeniable that a very well-kept one like this, dressed in black, does have a certain allure.

I’m sure we can all ID this to be a 1971-74 Series 3 E-Type V12 roadster with a hardtop. An impressive beast, to be sure. But those steelies were the show-stopper for me: so many E-Types wear wire wheels that I’d forgotten that there were other options on offer.

Finding a Morgan is always a cause for celebration. This 4/4 looked absolutely perfect. But the owner started it up, and that thing was shaking like a jelly on (cart) springs. This car is probably at least 20 years old, so the ash frame might be starting to show signs of age…

We’ll finish the British part of the tour with a few Astons, if that works for everyone. I remember when the DB7 came out in the mid-‘90s, under Ford’s tutelage, and how it revolutionized the carmaker’s image. It was what we’d now call a re-boot, and today’s AMs still trace their lineage back to this sleek-looking coupé.

Even four-door Astons like this Rapide harken back to the DB7, at least esthetically.

The DB6 (1965-70) may be just one digit less than the aforementioned DB7, but it’s from a completely different era – the time when “DB” actually stood for David Brown and the old 4-litre DOHC straight-6 was still deemed sufficient, at 282 hp, to motivate this gorgeous sports car.

Let’s jump straight into the big beautiful Detroiters with a maroon 1976 Eldorado. It was followed by another American classic that was objectively a lot more interesting – and that will have its own post sometime soon.

We’ve seen this one before, but it was a pleasure to see it again, if only fleetingly.

Looks like the Routemasters aren’t numerous enough to do the mobile billboard job, huh?

This edition’s inevitable Astro van will be an RV conversion dubbed “Tiger XL”. They’re grrrreat, I’m sure.

I seem to run into several of these late C3 Corvette drop-tops – which Chevrolet didn’t officially make. If and when I get the chance to catch one in post-worthy condition, I’ll have to look into this conundrum.

And the prize for “Vehicle that looks like it was entirely designed by Lego” goes to…

Barely managed to catch this Knight Rider Firebird as it rolled down the street in early November, but I got luckier on Xmas day – see below.

“Michael, I am not programmed to feel ashamed, but isn’t this is a little over-the-top?” “Well KITT, I could have added a pair of plushy reindeer antlers on the roof, but I didn’t.” “Right, right. I’ll just activate silent mode.”

Although they were never imported here when new, there are presently an estimated 100-200 DeLoreans in Japan. The one I wrote up a while back had a few Back to the Future bits added to it – predictably par for the course with these cars. This one seems 100% stock, which was refreshing.

Let’s end things on a V8 note, Shall we? Happy new year to all from the Land of the Rising Prices (inflation is a thing here too), and hope 2023 will bring you happiness, peace of mind, good weather and plenty of classics on curbsides everywhere.