The past couple of months have provided an exceptional amount of CC finds in the little corner of the world I frequent and survey. The upcoming T87 Singles Outtakes will take some doing – I’ll probably have to spread them over four or five posts rather than the usual two, as I have well over 500 photos to process. And then, one Sunday earlier this month, I happened to catch the back of a two-tone Morris Minor on a grand tree-lined parkway, and thing just kept getting better and better from there.
Here’s that (heavily modded) early ‘50s Morris where I found it. This is the first photo I took of that crazy gingko-tree avenue that I think will have to feature pretty prominently on my itinerary from now on.
Some have termed Tokyo as an open-air car museum. It can seem that way because there are so many wealthy and car-mad people within a relatively concentrated space, but I always wondered where those folks who drive the classics I occasionally chance upon get together and hang out. And I think I found it. It’s like discovering a whole new wing to that open-air museum.
I will be featuring a few cars as stand-alone posts (see tomorrow’s post for an example of that), but for now, here’s a quick tour of what I found over a couple of Sundays. Just next to the Minor was a similarly rally-ready Wolseley Hornet. But really, it was the Italian cars that stood out. Just like that one there.
Oh, the Alfas. So many lovely Alfas. A Giulietta drop-top here…
And a slightly different one there. More on this Sprint Coupé sometime – it deserves its own post.
Of course, the Spiders were out in force, stretching their hairy legs.
Who can resist a fine coda tronca? In the regulation Alfa red, of course.
Well, well, well! It seems CC’s own Roger Carr made the trip – or at least, his Alfa’s twin did. You’d have gone crazy if you’d been here, Rog.
I mean that Giulia Super berlina was something else! But one of the stars of this particular day, as far as I’m concerned, was the car in front of it. Not your usual classic, though it was at a curbside. And not an Alfa, either.
This 1954 Fiat 1100 Turismo Veloce coupé by PininFarina blew my mind. It seemed to be the subject of a lot of discussion between the assembled car nerds there, and although I could not contribute to the conversation nor comprehend what was being said, I wholeheartedly agreed. Amazing.
Pininfarina hand-built 780 of these between 1954 and 1956. Only 50hp were squeezed out of that prewar 1089cc OHV 4-cyl. – just enough to get these cars to 135kph. But boy did they look fabulous while doing it.
Not too far from the PF was this Zagato-bodied Abarth 750, which will get its own post very soon indeed. And a Barchetta. But it wasn’t all about the Italian stuff…
Bear in mind that while I was ogling all the parked cars, the odd rolling sculpture would also make its way down the road, perchance to find a piece of curb to call their own, or just to waft on by. Madness, I tells ya!
There were no French cars and, quite strangely, not a single Mercedes-Benz or BMW. There were a few over-modded 911s, because there always are, I suppose. But that’s all I’ve seen from the usually numerous German contingent thus far.
Not many American sightings thus far, except this mint Cadillac that looked like a giant brick of butter. Hope sitting in the sun didn’t make it melt.
But the other strong classic car contingent were the Britishers. I think I’ve made the case before that the Japanese are obsessed with British cars in general and with Lotuses in particular. Case in point, this is the third Europa I’ve seen here. It will have its own post as some juncture, because it was a pretty odd duck.
Triumphs don’t usually float my boat, but this early model Spitfire sure looked appealing. The unusual navy blue colour was a definite plus, as well.
Calling all of CC’s Mini specialists: this looked like the real McCoy – an actual mid-‘60s Cooper. But in this country, with so many “tribute” cars about, it’s hard to be 100% certain. Thoughts?
There’s that gorgeous Series 1 E-Type Jag again. As I was photographing the front, a Lambo made its way next to it. Strange bedfellows…
Plenty more Lambos where that one came from, too. I think the sound “Yeesh!” best captures my feelings about those. There are a lot of them about central Tokyo on weekends, yet there was a small army of amateur photographers eager to capture each one. And yours truly, photographing them. The circle-jerk of life.
I do hope that I’ll be able to go on more Sunday morning fact-finding missions in this literal neck of the woods. So many Alfas… Outstanding Fiats… Classic BMCs… The odd Detroiter or air-cooled 911… This place ticks a lot of boxes, and you never know what you’re going to get.
That’s where we’ll end things for now. And with one last look at the Minor that kind of started it all, speeding off to rally stages unknown. Tokyo just got a lot more interesting.
love the Spitfire MK with the white walls.
Seems Minis are still big in Japan. Back in the start of 2000s I worked at a Toyota dealership in North London. As a little side line ,one mechanics job was to restore Mini Travellers ” the one with wood on the side” then drop the 1275 Cooper S motor in and finished off fitting a good under dash A/C unit. They ould be sent to Japan with a £30 000 price ticket on them. Sild every one!.
Fantastic collection of curbside classics.
The photo of the XKE and the Lambo is very revealing in how large exotic cars have become (even given that the Lambo is closer to the camera).
I recently was following an XKE top down roadster on a bucolic two lane road and the driver looked almost comically too large for the car. I never realized how small these beautify Jags are.
I also hope that the driver of the hood up Cadillac is showing off his motor and – as the sole American car there – has not broken down. That would be embarrassing.
Oh that red Alfa coupe. My heart skipped a beat.
What a great setting for great and interesting cars.
I think the grey Mini is a nice recreation on a mk 3 (1969 on) bodyshell. The 4 holes under the windscreen, with assymetrical windscreen wipers and rubber blanks for LHD give it away. Also the earlier Mini didn’t have the eyeball air vents on the dash, but a lot of work has gone into fitting the early tail lights and exterior door hinges.
Even if it isn’t period perfect it’s charming to my eyes.
Can’t wait for the singles collection, I sometimes wonder if this smorgasbord of stunning Japanese classics will run out, but they just keep on coming!
The mini is not a genuine early mini, not that it really matters. As ever, the big giveaway is the door shape – the one thing that cannot realistically be retro-ised. You can just about see in these pics that the lower front corner is a right-angle, rather than a curve. Same for window shapes. Also the door furniture is wrong, and the air-vents are from a later model. And a few other little details.
Having owned both early and late minis, I can say confidently that the later doors, the winding windows, and the improved ventilation are all desirable improvements. Early minis look cool and have great character, but later minis were easier to live with.
So many Alfas and where did they all go. Yesterday I saw a 72-74 Alfa GTV 2000 making a right turn on W. Hornet Ave. on NAS Alameda as I left at 1800 hours. I saw it ,and then I SAW it, and went damn an Alfa I haven’t seen in many decades in a faded satin black. These sightings happen so fast there is zero time for me to even get a shot off even though I have a small digital next to me. Hazards of driving a stick shift. No extra hands.
Thanks for all of these, but especially the Fiat, another car I didn’t know existed. Droolworthy indeed. But why a bench seat?
The Meiji Jingu are is really beautiful – especially in the Fall. Toyota used to host a classic car show inside the park but hasn’t for the past few years – this year I saw they held it in Nagoya. Hope it makes it back.
Great cars…I’ll have to stop by on a Sunday too…
“Wow” all around!
Minis were an export car from NZ to Japan at one stage that grey one isnt a 60s Cooper S but has been retrofitted to look like one, Im guessing the 914cc sidevalve engine has been replaced in that Minor too with something healthier
Completely amazing post, as always, Tatra!
Can we all stop for a second here and honor the moment that the first Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsche has been seen on curbsideclassic? Because I think we really really should!
IMHO Rauh-Welt Begriff stands out among all other Porsche tuners (with the expection of maybe singer) that they create something truly unique from a product arguably perfect in the first place. Yes it is edgy, yes, it is eye-popping, but then so was a Lamborghini Countach.
Great pics, especially enjoyed the Alfas. I owned (2) Giulietta Sprint coupes, and look forward to your future writeup!