Storage Lot Classics: Big Exotics In Tiny Places

A few weeks back, I discovered this gemstone mine of CCs. It’s so much easier when they gather all the precious metal in one place, isn’t it? Alas, storage lots, junkyards and used car lots are few and far between in Tokyo, chiefly because a lot of acreage is required, but space is expensive. So this was the tiniest (and loveliest) little storage lot I think I’ve ever seen. Let’s go for a tour.

From the road, it looked almost inconspicuous. The first thing that caught my eye was the ochre Honda, by virtue of its powerful hue. But then, I started to see Corvettes and some more exotic-looking metal next to that. This definitely warranted closer inspection.

Alas, my camera was on the fritz. The stupid smartphone had decided to attempt suicide by literally leaping into a pot I was washing. I mean it: perhaps nudged by a small earthquake, which are commonplace here, the damn thing just fell from the ledge it was sitting on, straight in the drink. I rescued it immediately; it seemed fine initially, but condensation soon appeared inside the lens. Bloody annoying and impossible to remedy. As a result, I’ve had to Photoshop my shots extensively of late, including this one of a slightly forlorn Aston V8 Vantage.

But last weekend, I made a second trip to that place, as I was now armed with a clean phone lens. I could finally shoot more pics in crisp and clear definition, without the need to faff about with contrast, shading, colour and other filters on each photo to improve things a bit. This mid-‘80s Chevy Monte Carlo SS, sat right next to the Aston, was photographed on the second round. So this post will have a mix of crappy and decent photos of both American and European exotics.

Oh, and there was that one domestic number in the main forecourt, which caught my attention to start off with. It’s a late-model (1970-72) Honda N360 – the quickest and most brilliant kei car of the era.

It seemed a little out of place, surrounded by a throng of Corvettes. At least, buttressed as it was by a long wheelbase Thai tuktuk, it wasn’t the only 2-cyl. vehicle in the joint.

The Corvettes were mostly of the C3 variety, though there was a C2 drop-top at the back that I couldn’t really photograph. When I returned last weekend, the Honda was gone, of course. There was a boring late-model black Benz being detailed in its stead. That Honda didn’t belong there for a number of reasons. It was fully functional, for a start. Few other vehicles here looked ready for the road.

My attention and my head turned to the other side of the street, where I was elated to see that more gems were awaiting discovery. Nothing plastic-bodied about those, either – this was the true pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There was one outstanding find that I will leave out of this post entirely, for it merits its own stand-alone write-up, but the rest of them, had they been more accessible and the place less under surveillance, would have all made for splendid CC trophies too.

Starting with this 1967 Toronado, which I only saw on the first visit. I’m a big fan of these and there aren’t too many around, so I hope it’s going to be saved. It certainly would deserve it.

Much less keen on the Ferrari 308 GTS, especially with those horrid US-style 5mph bumpers. Apparently, Japanese and Australian market 308s were all like this – they also had the emissions-controlled V8s, unfortunately, providing 240hp @ 6600rpm, instead of 255hp @ 7700rpm for Euro / rest-of-the-world spec cars. I know, I know, I can hear the Magnum P.I. theme tune in my head too, but nah, needs a red paint job at a minimum.

It just wasn’t possible to catch this Eldo-gordo from any other angle, such was its gargantuan girth. Looks like a ’77 or ’78 to me, but perhaps someone knows better. That ’79 downsizing really must have seemed like an epiphany. Love the free-standing taillight, but I thought that was more of an Imperial thing (he he he). Speaking of taillights, these have amber turn signals, so this 8.2 litre behemoth could well have been imported new in Japan, 40-plus years ago.

There were two genuine beauties behind the Eldo. So let’s keep it Cadillac for now with a 1964 Series 62 four-window sedan. This was the “youthful” one, according to the brochure. Half a century of wear and tear were tough on this youngster, and it’s now looking mighty tired. Still has some of the old magic, though.

The interior was as clean as could be expected. In most countries around the world, I bet this car would be sitting curbside, not languishing in the back of a boneyard.

Between those fins is where the biggest problems seem to lie. At a guess, I’d say this car was parked for many, many years with its butt to the elements. Very few houses in Tokyo would have a parking spot where this substantial machine could fit in its entirety…

We’ll finish the tour with the true blue-blood of the bunch: a tired but seemingly complete (minus the grille) Aston Martin DBS V8. Switching the mental soundtrack from Magnum P.I. to John Barry’s The Persuaders theme (one of the best theme tunes ever recorded, IMO)…

Actually, I’ll go ahead and post a Youtube video to illustrate this with more vivacity. I understand that this show was not all that popular on the western side of the Atlantic, but in Europe, it was really big and was endlessly re-run. But I digress.

The one that Roger Moore drove in the show was actually a 6-cyl. model made to look like a V8, as Aston Martin did not have any spare V8s available at the time. But this one looks like the real thing. Fastest four-seater in the world at the time, or so they claimed…

David Brown’s name still adorns this car, but by early 1972, he was done with the marque, which he had acquired back in 1946. He truly made Aston into what it still is today – a hand-built high-performance car in the Bentley tradition. The Marek-designed 5.3 litre V8 was his legacy to Aston, as they used that engine for the next 25 years.

William Towns’ classic coupé shape also lived quite a stretch, but it was never better-looking than in the early days. Stunning car, especially from the rear. Only about 400 of these were made between 1969 and 1972. This one has a relatively recent license plate and is RHD, so I’m guessing it was not imported new in Japan.

Among that festival of metallic delights, I didn’t even notice the Dodge Viper, which looked anonymous by comparison to most of its neighbours. That’s it for this mini-tour of a tiny Tokyoite storage lot/garage full of exotics. Well, I say that, but really this is just to whet your appetites for the star of the show, which will come as soon as I get around to writing it up.