Backyard Classics: 1986(-ish) Toyota Sprinter Carib (L20), Nissan Skyline (R31) Hardtop & Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC (C126) – The (Rusty) Wagon, The (Rotting) Sports Saloon And The (Broken) Luxury Coupé

Generally speaking, the CCs found in Tokyo are near pristine.  I’ve been finding a few scruffy ones on occasion, but basket cases are few a far between. In this case though, I hit pay dirt: three faded glories of the go-go ‘80s, sitting together in a kind of courtyard. Set your clocks to circa 1986, and let’s see what’s left of this tired trio.

The two Japanese cars are sitting side by side in what must have been a car port, several typhoons ago. Let’s start with them.

The Toyota is rarely seen nowadays, in its home country – I don’t think I’ve seen one still on the road here as of yet. Though Tercel-based (and so named in certain markets, such as North America), in Japan these wagons were sold as the Sprinter Carib, starting in the summer of 1982.

Pretty novel concept for Toyota, but essentially they were treading on Subaru’s toes, as many of these Caribs were, like this one, AWD. There’s also a lot of Nissan Prairie in there, though as the two cars are contemporaries, I guess the high-roof wagon thing was just in the air.

These were made until early 1988, when they were replaced by a new generation (Corolla-based) that is still seen around here on occasion. Looks like whoever used this last went skiing with it, appropriately enough. Love that seat fabric!

Intriguing colour scheme on this one – mostly silver, blue bumpers and tailgate, orange roof decals, plus those rust patches. The ski rack completes the look quite nicely.

Next to the Carib lay a dying legend. This R31 Skyline hardtop saloon (1985-89) is the higher-trim GT Passage, which would make the default engine the famous RB20 2-litre DOHC straight-6. It’s also the only Skyline saloon to be a true hardtop.

Seems all that was for naught, alas. This one is definitely not going drifting anytime soon. The grime on that poor car was so thick I couldn’t manage a photo of the interior.

The vines have started to colonize this Nissan pretty extensively. I’d be interesting to see the same car in a decade or so. It might end up looking like one of those long lost Khmer or Mayan temples, eaten by the greenery.

This seventh generation Skyline is pure early ‘80s origami, combining all of the period’s best and worst traits. Still, the quad round taillights, even if they are within a rectangular housing, ties the whole design together pretty darn well. The vines just add to it even more.

Our third ‘80s banger is quite the fancy import: a 1986-91 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC. Price-wise, we’re in a different territory here, compared to the Nissan and the Toyota. But it’s certainly the same era, and in the same neglected state.

Funny how the Benz, though it came out a couple years before the other two cars, looks less dated in many ways. This is a testament to Bruno Sacco’s talent (and is also valid for the W126 saloon): these S-Class Benzes have aged very well, esthetically speaking. Certainly better than their tank-like successors.

Might not extend that enthusiastic view to the interior – that had aged quite a bit. Still pretty nice place to be, for sure, but smacks more of the ‘70s than the exterior styling.

Of the three cars, the Benz probably gets my vote as the most desirable. Certainly, it seems it was in use a bit longer than the other two. Or maybe because it was parked out in the open and not under that rickety shack that disintegrated over the Skyline and the Carib.

There aren’t too many abandoned cars in this town, so finding three 30-plus year old ones together was unexpected. It actually felt like being back in Bangkok for a spell. All in all, a real blast from the past. Well, from 1986 or so.


Related posts:


Curbside Classic: 1985 Toyota Tercel Wagon: Built For The Really Long Haul, by PN

COAL Capsule: 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD – Fourth Time’s A Charm, by Geraldo Solis

Curbside Classic: 1988 Nissan Skyline (R31) GTS Turbo Hardtop – At Least, It’s Not A Pintara, by T87

Auto-Biography/Curbside Classic: 1989 Mercedes 560SEC – My Former Lust Object, by PN

COAL (COJL) – 1991 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC – Only The Best Car Ever!, by Saabaru