Junkyard Classics: One Of These Cars Is Not Like The Others

It’s Sunday, let’s go for a stroll in the yard! I took these pictures a while ago when I was in Gunma prefecture, about 100 miles north of Tokyo. There are no proper junkyards in the capital, but when you leave it behind and start hitting rice paddies and mountains, they do start cropping up. Nearly everything in there was domestic, bar one sizable exception. Can you see it yet?

We’ll get to it soon enough. But first, let’s have a closer look at this once-glorious 1967-71 Nissan Gloria A30 Deluxe 6 wagon, which sat front and centre.

One day I’ll find one of these (in better nick, hopefully) sitting by a curb and do it justice. This was the last generation of Gloria that was truly different from the Cedric, as these were designed by Prince before the merger with Nissan. Elegant cars. And lots of room in the back, it seems.

A trio of rotting keis – actually, there were more behind, but they were overgrown by vegetation.

A junkyard is not a proper junkyard here if it doesn’t have the king of keis – the mighty Subaru 360.

What was the first four-wheeled vehicle Honda produced? This modest kei truck, the T360 (1963-67). Over 100,000 of these tiny mid-engined (356cc 4-cyl.) machines were made, all of them in this baby blue colour. Green Honda trucklets were powered by the S500 engine, but were much less popular.

The Life wagon represents the end of the 360cc era for Honda, being produced between 1971 and 1974. These are FWD and feature a parallel twin with optional Hondamatic transmission.

Just poking out of the weeds, a first generation (1962-70) Mazda Carol two-door saloon, likely the 360cc kei version (some got a 600cc, but they were extremely rare).

Over on the Suzuki side of the yard, a relatively well-preserved first generation Jimny – a later model with the 550cc engine – looming over an early ‘80s gen 1 Alto. But it wasn’t all kei cars in this boneyard…

Boom! A massive slab of classic Americana was also there, rusting away in peace.

Interesting metalwork on that hood. Almost artistic. Should be on exhibition at the Louvre (har har har. Sorry. I’ll get my coat.)

Situated right in front of the Chevy batmobile, as if about to be devoured by it, was a cute little trike, the aptly-named Daihatsu Midget MP (1959-72). These made do with a two-stroke 305cc 1-cyl., producing all of 12hp.

The final car – and the easiest to get to – of this Sunday outing will be a first generation (1969-72) Toyota Corona Mark II GSS hardtop coupé.

These were powered by a 1.9 litre DOHC engine good for 140hp – quite the sporty Toyo, and aside from the front end, a rather attractive design. That’s another one I hope to be able to catch out in the wild someday.

What’s your pick of the yard, then? I have a hankering for the Gloria wagon and the Toyota coupé, though a well-preserved ‘60s Honda pickup would also be high on the list. Of course, the ’59 Chevy gets a special mention – even in this condition (or perhaps because of it?), it remains an icon of weirdness and excess. As a piece of (overgrown) lawn art, it’s batwings and shoulders above the rest.