CC Outtakes: T87’s Singles Collection (September-October 2022) – Part 2a: Foreign Cars (German, Swedish, Italian)

Welcome to the best of the rest of the automotive world, at least as found in Tokyo over the past couple of months. The German contingent was the most numerous, as is usually the case, but only by a kidney grilled nose ahead of the Britishers, to be featured in tomorrow’s post, alongside the American and French cars. So we kick off with a challenge: who would be crazy enough to rescue a very dusty white V12-powered 1998-2001 BMW L7?

They made fewer than 900 L7 limos, but even fewer (570-odd) Alpina B10 3.5s were built between 1988 and 1992. This was the mildest E34 Alpina sold, churning out 254hp.

I’ve been running into a bunch of E30s, lately. Most of them are exactly like this one: dark colour, 2-litre with automatic (which must be the worst combination) and absolutely mint condition.

Nice though they may be, these are a bit too ordinary for my taste. Small BMWs are better the older they are, in my view. That 600 Paul showed us last week is almost ideal.

I caught a couple of 6-Series coupés, as well. One will have its own post, but this one, snapped in traffic, will do just fine here.

Onwards to the Benzes, then. I ran into a surprising amount of limousines, over the last couple of months. The Mitsuoka hearses from yesterday, BMW at the start of this post, the ones to be featured tomorrow… And this monster of a Maybach S650. It’s not the first one I’ve seen here, but those are the best photos I ever managed of one.

Let’s get back to something a bit more grounded with a fine W123 wagon. Those will still be prowling the Earth in their thousands when those so-called Maybachs will be either recycled into EVs, rusting in pieces or parked in a museum.

On the SL front, no Pagoda this time, just a nice C107. Better than nothing, eh?

Is it normal that I’m finding so many of these 500Es? They’re meant to be rare and everything, but there are more of these about than W124 two-doors. I saw (but failed to capture) an AMG E60 a few days ago – bagging one would be the ultimate W124 find.

Staying in the Stuttgart area with a few Porsches – including a stunning sea-green 928. I thought all these later ones came out grey, so it’s nice to find one that bucks the trend.

I get lost in the 911s – apart from the really early ones, even the air-cooled ones sort of blend together for me. This one seemed more ‘70s than ‘80s to me, but I’ll defer to anyone who knows…

Much better. And it’s an original Japanese market car, too. Just like the 356C I wrote up recently.

Lots of VWs to plow through now, most of them of the rear-engined variety. But before we get to those, a couple of Mk1 Golf cabrios

I still see many second generation Golfs, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Gen-1s and cabrios: in. The rest can stay where they are.

So many Transporters! Running the gamut from carefully patina’ed ones…

…to over-restored garage queens, with oversized parking poles and colour-coded hubcaps.

A bit much, really, isn’t it? But those are just the T2s. There were also some nice T1s.

Finally, an OG Transporter that looks almost normal – one solid colour, no chrome trim, standard-issue wheels, uncluttered interior. Pity about those headlight visors…

This one comes with a canoe! Two vehicles in one. How advantageous.

This one is RHD, which is a rarity.

I wrote this VW 1500 S up back in January 2021, but this is the first time I’ve seen it out and about.

We’ll close the German chapter with the Beetles – always a crowd-pleaser. This one looks a tad Mexican, which is not a bad thing. Less keen on the extra bits it’s wearing, but at least it’s not slammed to the ground or pretending to be Herbie.

This one is even better, though the colour is a tad boring. Can’t check every box.

I’d like to hear from the Beetle-maniacs about this one. The license plate claims it’s a ’73 (and why not?), but is it a Euro-style 1200? What do we make of the quad tailpipes, which are one of the coolest mods I’ve ever seen on a Type 1?

This one claims to be a ’66 – close to perfection for a mid-to-late-model Beetle according to some, especially with that shade of green.

There are just too many Volvos here (200-series wagons especially) for me to keep track, so I only snap up the really outstanding ones, like this early model 245. Sealed beams and RHD – the typical Japanese market mélange of US-spec and UK/Euro bits.

There are comparatively fewer Saabs around than (classic) Volvos, which makes sense. Volvos are conservative, which chimes with many Japanese buyers. Saabs are quirky – a far more niche proposition. But hey, given a country of 100m people, every niche can find its public.

One thing that Saab had in the ‘80s and ‘90s that Volvo did not (at least, not till quite late) was a glamorous drop-top. And not a few made it to Japan.

Just like Lamborghinis, apparently. Another lazy Sunday under the gingko trees at Jingu Gaien, where Italian cars come to peacock…

Just photographed a couple of these expensive boy toys, among the dozen or so present – it’s all about the paintwork, really.

Because, you know, rocking a 120-Db engine and looking like a B2 bomber with its wings sheared off is just not enough for some people.

Now that’s a lot better in some ways. In other ways, it’s the exact same thing, of course. But at least, it’s a classic wingless B2 bomber. And they didn’t put 23-inch gold rims on it.

Freshly squeezed? This Lancia Y has a face like it’s sucking on a lemon. And it’s yellow and zesty.

At least, lemons have flavour, even if it’s sour. The 2004-12 Lancia Musa, by comparison, is about as bland as Lancia ever got. And that was pretty bland indeed.

Lancia should follow Autobianchi to the graveyard of Italian marques at some point, surely. The A112 (1969-1986) was Autobianchi’s peak, but also the start of its decline — its Lanciafication, if you will.

Who killed Lancia and Autobianchi? It’s all Fiat’s fault. Everything to do with cars in Italy comes back to Fiat in some way. It’s as eternal as the 500.

There’s a locked garage in my area that seems to house a number of classic cars, but they’re always tantalizingly hidden from view, under tarps or otherwise obscured. This Fiat 600 was the only one I’ve managed to catch a decent glimpse of.

This town is really full of surprises. All of the sudden, out of a sea of 21st Century key cars and black cabs – in other words, out of the black and white, a bright blue Bertone-built 1976 Fiat 131 Abarth Rally flashes by. You just have to be ready for anything.

First time I’ve ever seen a Panda with a soft top. It seems Moretti made some of these back in the day, but they look a little different from this one, so I’m not sure what we have here. Odd.

First Fiat Uno I’ve seen in Japan. This 1st series car (1983-89) was quite the blast from the past for yours truly. Those were literally everywhere in Europe, back in my formative years.

I recently wrote one of these Multiplas up, and it sure elicited a more reactions than the average T87 post. This one was in much better nick than the one I caught back then – guess I ought to have waited a bit.

Alfas for dessert, everybody? Just a wafer-thin wedge of red GTV, for instance?

Or perhaps a chunky Giulia berlina, for those with enough room…

A couple of very fine-looking 2000 GT Veloce coupés crossed paths with my smartphone’s lens, causing magnificence and grace to be immortalized and shared with the wider world. Pick a colour, then. Classic red — always a popular choice.

But these Bertone-built beauties wear white rather well, too.

I’m less keen on how Spiders look in this hue (or is that a lack of hue?).

Finally, this edition of the T87 Singles Outtakes will feature the only photo I managed to take of the lone Maserati I judged worthy enough to make the cut, the first Quattroporte IV we’ve had the (dubious) pleasure of seeing in Tokyo so far.

See you tomorrow for the grand finale – Detroit, London, Paris: the Entente Discordiale.