CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (Sept./Oct. 2020) – Part 2: Foreign Cars

Welcome to part 2 – let’s kick things off with American metal, as there were several noteworthy sightings from that continent these past few weeks. I just caught the tail end of this ’63 Fairlane, just as it was entering its parking garage. Must keep an eye out for it, now that I know where it lives…

So let’s keep on truckin’ to Motown’s greatest hits. This old Jimmy has obviously had a hard life, but it’s still chugging along. Not an avid fan of yellow on cars, but in this case, it’s not the most pressing matter.

GMC is not the most commonly seen American marque in this country, but when I do see one, it’s usually a van, this one being a particularly pampered and blingy LWB example.

While we’re on the subject of vans, there are a few Dodges about as well. This one also wore a nice bumper sticker. Humour must be a crucial component of American vehicle ownership here, I assume.

It’s not all that weird to capture a clutch of big Detroiters like this right in the center of Tokyo. There are some who really have a thing for those big shiny American SUVs. Hummer H3s are seen on occasion and Jeep still makes pretty good business here; the Dodge is rarer, by comparison.

Corvettes are a fairly common sight too, of all eras. Well, the more recent ones I don’t usually bother documenting, but this turn-of-the-century C5 looked kinda sad, so I pity-snapped it.

C3s are definitely more interesting. This 1981 C3 was unfortunately out of bounds, and my camera decided to focus on the chain-link fence rather than what was behind it, but did they make convertibles in 1981 anyway?, thought T87. No, they did not. Yet here it is. Please discuss.

Mustangs are also pretty popular – everything being relative, of course. This one materialized close to my place recently, I see it on a regular basis. Nice amber turn signals.

On the other hand, Camaros of any vintage are rare here. It’s strange, because the Japanese American car enthusiasts usually like what American classic car enthusiasts like, and Camaros are extremely popular in the US. This generation of Camaro, though, is one of my least favourite. I’d call these Panhard Camaros, because they really remind me of the bulbous Dyna Zs / PL-17s.

I always thought these Ram pickups looked a little swine-like, but in an appealing way. It was still pretty weird to see that unmistakable snout in Tokyo.

Even the facelifted Cherokees XJ like this blue Limited – one of AMC’s last designs – are now entering their third decade on the planet. Still plenty of these around the world in general and even Japan in particular. How long will that last?

This one I struggled to triage – is it a Mazda (which it totally is, as it’s a re-badged Bongo Friendee), or does the blue oval on its butt mean it should be in the foreign section? Well, which is it? You broke my heart, Freda!

These Chevrolet HHRs are really the ultimate copycat-mobiles. GM saw what Chrysler did with the PT Cruiser, headhunted Brian Nesbitt (the guy who designed it) and made their own PT Clone. Not many of these are here: despite GM’s best efforts, Chrysler had the upper hand in this marginal market.

You might recall from yesterday’s installment that I discovered a place where they restore old Nissans. Well, it so happens I also found a place where old Chevies get repaired. This 1970 Chevelle was blocking the view, but there were more goodies within.

Actually, the Chevelle was not blocking the view so much as that 346 GT was. I would rather have had a better look at that sumptuous ‘60s Corvette than to have that less-than-outstanding ‘80s Ferrari front and centre. It adds colour to the tableau, I suppose.

So let’s transition to the Italian stuff then. Either these 5th generation Quattroportes are more common than I imagined, or I just lucked out massively, but I caught two on two consecutive days, after only having seen one all year (and in Hokkaido). But as we shall see, this past couple of months were under the twin sign of the Gemini and the doppelganger.

For instance, I’m seeing Fiat Pandas everywhere now. Well, maybe not everywhere, but certainly more often than I thought would be possible for such a rickety and low-grade European econobox.

Even for Alfa Romeos, things were mightily twin-like. The same day I caught this Spider…

…I come across its GTV coupé sister model, sporting the 2003 facelift nose.

A sweet Bertone 105/115 GTV coupé, seen here barreling down my street, was followed by another one a week later – which had the good manners of standing still, so it will be featured in its own post.

I don’t know what this this Lancia Delta Integrale did, but no sports car deserves to be imprisoned like this. Let it be free, I say!

I’ve already caught this Abarth 850TC about six months ago, but I saw it again and thought you should too.

I really need to stop with the Volvo 240s. I said I would. Plus this one was featured in one of my first Singles Outtakes posts, but it drove past me again the other day and I just couldn’t resist. Most 240s one sees are in various states of scruffiness, but this one looks like it came off the boat yesterday. And it’s used often, too.

The 240 wagons are just as popular (and indestructible) and this one was a bit on the scruffy side (by local standards, anyway), but again, I was unable to resist. That Swedish flag blue, that massive boxy body, that interior, that license plate – sometimes, you just can’t beat a classic Volvo.

Certainly not when you’re a not-so-classic Saab. I’ve been trying to train myself to recognize the later ones, which were anonymous compared to the Saabs of the ‘90s, to little avail until about a week ago. I guess these were just not popular in Japan.

Beetles, on the other hand, are popular everywhere. This one was probably a later import, with some questionable choices (that handbrake handle, for instance), but the quality of the restoration was definitely outstanding.

Conversely, this German (I guess, given the D license plate on display) ‘70s Transporter was showing worrying signs of structural decay. The paint was coming off the base of the windshield – it’s hard to see due to my poor photographic skills, but striking in person. I had never seen one of these with an automatic before. Must make it even more underpowered…

It’s a pity that my phone is so terrible at taking photos at night – this early model green Porsche 911 was splendid, but the camera did not do it justice.

There are air-cooled 911s all over this town, so I try to pick my subjects. This Carrera had an air of authenticity…

Which this one, on the other hand, did not. But then, when did you ever see one (or any car made after 1960, come to that) in this colour? I’m not even sure what to call this. Putrid, perhaps?

The mustard yellow on this 1970 VW-Porsche 914-6, on the other hand, is perfect. I’ve already written this car up a while back, but discovered its crib only last month. Gute nacht.

I’ve seen a few 928s in this city now, and they’re all pretty much the same: dark gray S4s with LHD. This one also has a cool number plate. But I’ll soon do a twofer post about another one and its very interesting neighbour.

Can you believe that these E34s are over 30 years old now? They’re getting scarce. This one was still in regular service and being driven with gusto by its caring owner…

But some are languishing and slowly falling into disrepair. Even wagons! Sad ending.

As for the E30s, especially in cabriolet form, things are a bit different. They’re coming out of the banger era and are now 100% collectible. This one still has a few kinks to iron out, but it’s saved.

Cool Audi 90 Quattro! So cool I photographed it twice, just to make sure. These sister models of the 80 / B2 were only sold from 1984 to 1987; this one has the bigger 2.2 litre 5-cyl. engine. Definitely not something I thought I’d see in Tokyo.

The Mercedes-Benz W124 (E-Class) is one of the few foreign cars of the previous century that can reliably be seen on the street here, so I don’t bother with them. Unless they’re wagons, because wagons are cool.

Even the younger post-facelift ones, such as this mid-‘90s E220, have an aura of solidity and elegance that has eluded later Benzes, in my opinion.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum – both in terms of rarity and exclusiveness, though oddly enough from the same era – this 208D Bremer Transporter has seen better days.

What ho, chaps? Any notable British motors, this month? Nor ‘alf, guv. McLarens are quite exclusive beasts, so if I see one, odds are it’s going to be in my singles post. But I can’t say I find these attractive…

Just like these Lotus Seven copies. This looks like a Caterham, though there are several other small workshops who make these. Including Mitsuoka, but this is not one of those. Not anybody’s finest hour.

Four-door Aston Martins, however, are intrinsically fascinating. And there aren’t too many around. This is a Rapide, it has a 5.9 litre V12 and it’s probably the prettiest British car of the 2010s. Faint praise. They just stopped making this model, so now prices will come down. But they were somewhere near US$250,000, so it’s going to take a while for these to be remotely affordable.

I don’t know why this mid-‘50s MG TF is parked in this tiny office (or whatever that place is). Another totally random Tokyo moment.

In the last singles outtakes, I had unearthed a lovely green Range Rover. This time, we have a black one in Vanden Plas trim. For once, the date-like license plate is completely off.

Let’s finish with the French stuff. I’m seeing these Peugeot 106 Rallyes once in a blue moon. This yellow one was hard to miss and quite impossible to ignore, so it makes the cut. But September / October turned into the Hydro Citroën era.

Not too many of these second generation C5s have made it to Japan – this is only the second one I’ve ever seen here. This is the last Citroën model that had the hydropneumatic system, so I guess I’m starting with the end.

The 2005-12 Citroën C6 was an infamous and embarrassing flop – only 23,500 were made, compared to well over 1.5 million C5s. So why am I finding so many in Tokyo?

I mean I saw at least a handful in traffic that I did not catch, and one that was parked but impossible to photograph… and the one above… and below.

Crazy isn’t it? This tan one is my favourite. Not usually my colour, but somehow, on this car, it really works.

The final hydro Citro for this post will be this late model 20-ish-year-old Xantia Exclusive. I’ve actually caught a pair of these a while back, but I haven’t written them up yet.

Finally, here’s a mystery for us to ponder. The license plate says 1967, the size probably says Detroit. Any wild guesses? I don’t know the answer, but I’ll check on this one periodically and let you know.