It’s been quite a while since I’ve compiled the bits and pieces of my findings for your viewing pleasure (hopefully). And for some reason, I’ve had more luck finding straight-up CCs than the odd snap. I’ve also tried to raise the bar some, because seeing the same cars over and over, be they old or “exotic,” is tiresome. We’ve not had too many Preludes as yet, so let’s kick things off with one from the second generation (1982-87).
One day I’ll catch one of these Honda Todays and do these awesome little cars justice, CC-style. These have a lot more character compared to most keis of the ‘80s/’90s, and I’ve seen a number out and about, so they have a keen following. Watch this (tiny) space.
Similarly, the Subaru Vivio RX-R (1992-98) is something of a pint-sized legend. Its 16-valve DOHC 658cc engine officially claims only 64hp – right at the limit of the kei regulations. There are some doubts about that actually being the case, and this version certainly is the only one that was clocked at over 180kph. In a kei car.
I know nothing about rally cars per se, but was asked to keep an eye out for a Subaru WRX, so here’s what I was able to finagle. This is badged, rather unfortunately, as an STI. I’m guessing circa 1997, but I’ll let those of you who know correct the record in the comments section…
This is a fairly recent (2015-present) Daihatsu Copen Explay. Those kei drop-tops are nice enough in stock form, but with this body kit and a high lift, they look just plain weird – in an interesting way. At least, you cannot accuse Japanese manufacturers of lacking in inventiveness.
Daihatsu Midget IIs are seen on occasion too. Always a pleasure, and just like the Copen, these add colour to the drab flow of white vans and black taxis that constitute most of Tokyo’s traffic.
The same can of course be said of the Mitsuokas. I had just written up a post on the Mk1 Viewt when I happened upon this one. It’s quite a testament to this marque’s ability to customize their products that this car features a number of very odd “personal touches.” Chief among those: painted bumpers and moon disc hubcaps.
Otherwise, the interior is the standard issue deluxe version, as far as I can tell – albeit complete with leather seats, which is not as common as one would think.
The second generation Viewt is the best-looking of the lot, due to the base K12 Nissan March’s rotund nature. Baby blue is not my favourite colour for these, though.
The Ryoga is probably the most visually challenging Mitsuoka – and that’s saying something. I caught a wagon version a little while back, which I plan to write up soon.
Quite a few heavily modified / customized oddities crossed my path this summer. This was one of the more extreme ones. Under all this fiberglass and carbon fiber cladding lies a 3rd generation Mazda RX-7. The shop that does this body kit is called Veilside, and this particular kit is named “Fortune” and will set you back ¥2m. One born every minute, eh.
I just love these Mazda kei trucks. Two cylinders, 40 years old and still going strong!
Over on the Mitsubishi side of things, this sighting of an early model (circa 1990-93) 3000GT, known on the JDM as GTO, was seen by yours truly as a foretaste of great things to come. And they did.
The A70 Lancer was launched in 1973, but this GSL is a post 1976 facelift car with delusions of sportiness: the real spicy one was badged as GSR. Interesting manga-themed hood art aside, a pretty attractive little runt.
But to be frank, this Mirage was much more to my taste. It’s basically Mitsubishi’s take on the VW Golf. This is an early 1st gen car (1978-81) – the 1600GT model appeared in the spring of 1979, just like me. Maybe that’s why I felt some sort of kinship with this one.
Ok, now I do realize that this one does not belong in this post, but just hear me out. I was taking a picture of this interesting stretched Chrysler, which was being used for a wedding, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar shape coming towards it…
A Nissan Figaro! I have a thing for these, particularly one that wears a rare colour like this one. This led to the following very odd juxtaposition…
Only in Tokyo, folks. Only in Tokyo.
Now that we’ve moved to Nissans, let’s catch up on Skylines. The season doesn’t matter much for these – they’re always fashionable. It was a good summer for R31s – a coupé…
I have a soft spot for the R32 in four-door guise. This one was pretty gorgeous and well-kept – AWD, too.
In keeping with the loose (but continuing) theme of oddly modded jobs, we have a sorry-looking S14 Silvia Q’s. Even before it went drifting into some safety barriers, this one would have looked pretty awful. Now, it’s about ready for the boneyard. Rest in Pieces.
By comparison, this circa 1991-95 180SX was straight as an arrow. This is essentially a rebodied S13 Silvia, though it outlasted the S13 by some years.
My first sighting of a Mark 1 (1980-86) Leopard! Quite distinctive, aren’t they? Boxy yet elegant.
On a fine June day, this 1966 Cedric 130, which I found and posted about back in April, paid me a visit – right on my street, if you please. I really didn’t expect that, because I wasn’t entirely sure it was still in running order and I found it pretty far away from my digs. But there are no two of these alike, I don’t think. Still has the original license plate, too.
Summer was Sunny this year. This B12 (1985-90) has obviously been out for too long in the midday sun, like a mad dog or an Englishman, and look what happened to it!
The crushed red velvet interior with the skull and crossbones certainly signified that this Nissan was poisonous, so I kept well clear of it. Those hoses poking out the front might be some sort of feelers or something. Scary.
Something strange happened to this Rasheen’s face… And are those moon discs again?
P10 Primeras (1990-96) were a pretty big hit for Nissan in Europe and in Japan. Apparently, North America got these as well, badged as the Infiniti G20. Not too many are left around in these parts, but this one still looked full of beans (and rice, probably).
Right next to it was a heavily modified Toyota HiAce that I’ve been seeing around for a while. Quite distinctive with those orange headlamps… Looks like a CGI effect come to life.
Let’s end it on the Toyotas, then. We’ll just kick things off with the usual Crown S130 wagon / van, because I’m still smitten with these.
The final generation Crown wagons are a bit less cool, but that’s because they’re nearly all wearing white or silver finish, which does them no favours. This plum-coloured example is a relative rarity — and it really caught my attention.
Same with the X70 Mark II wagons – just can’t get enough. This one is even better, as it seems to be a still-active Japan Automobile Federation car.
There was something a bit off about this Crown Comfort. It’s wasn’t a taxi (white plates mean private car), but also its stance, speed and noise were unlike any of these I’d come across. And I know these pretty well. Could it be the elusive supercharged GT-Z? Alas, upon closer inspection, this appears to be a plain Comfort (sans Crown, i.e. short wheelbase), so someone just picked one of these up for cheap and turned it into a driftmobile, just to go against the grain.
A fine-looking T160 Celica cabriolet if I’ve ever seen one. And it had been a very long time since that happened, so it took me a minute to figure out what this was, oddly enough.
This, on the other hand, was a bit of a mystery when I saw it and remains so to this day. I’m not sure why I think it belongs in the Toyota section, even. Still, it shows that some folks like to go completely nuts on MPVs, which are the last type of vehicle one would associate with the Mod crowd.
As a palate-cleanser, here’s a true old-school Toyota (sorry, Toyopet) Corona T40 saloon. The world makes sense again.
Ending things on a high (albeit very blurry) note, here’s one little critter that’s been buzzing around for a while, but had eluded by camera up to now. I really hope to catch this S800 standing still someday – what a CC tour de force that would be…
Short of that though, would you accept a second in-motion S800?
See you tomorrow for the foreign metal.