We all have a white whale. An obsession, what makes us go where we would not and ask questions we shouldn’t, what gives life its zest (and its disappointments). My number one automotive white whale, as you might have guessed, is a certain Czechoslovak streamliner.
Fat chance of finding that here in Myanmar. But we migrants are nothing if not adaptable, so I recalibrated my personal Melville-O-meter towards the kind of cars that one might actually encounter here. (I will also digress briefly and readily admit that I never read Moby Dick. If you did, you’re a better person for it. End of digression.)
Albino cetaceans can constitute a group of more than one. That’s where Ahab got it wrong – he was only looking for a single white whale. That way madness lies. So I have a white whale Mazda (the Mk 1 Cosmo), a white whale Nissan coupé (’70s Silvia) and sedan (’65-’72 President), and so on. I have several for Toyota, given their pretty diverse range. The S 60 / 70 “Kujira” Crown – preferably in estate garb – is my white whale Toyota Crown. Alas, these Kujira Crowns are nowhere to be seen here, though I did see one or two in Bangkok a few years ago. The many Crowns that can be found in Rangoon are all saloons and the oldest ones I have seen are early ‘80s.
But wait – what’s that just ahead?
Thar she blows! Kujira desu! Well no, not quite. But it’s still uncommon, even in the JDM fun-park that is Burma. It seemed to be a 9th generation S 140 Crown (1991-1995). I didn’t manage to take a photo of the front, but I did see that it looked like this.
It looks a bit weird to me – like the front was designed about ten years after the rear. The coolest thing by far: the double rear wipers. Does any other car have these?
A “Royal Extra” (with cheese?) indeed.
I did find a Toyota I had been on the lookout for this week (not a Crown), but I need to get better pictures and do a spot of on-line research… So sayonara for now.
The Camry wagon also has dual rear wipers.
As did the Cressida wagon.
I thought immediately of the Cressida, which is my favorite Japanese wagon.
Or was my favorite… until I saw this pictures of the Crown here. It’s like a Cressida with some Olds Vista Cruiser genetic material thrown in for good measure.
I’ve seen plenty of Toyota Cressida wagons back in the day, but I don’t remember ever seeing any with two rear window wipers. I like that. 🙂
LOL – Japanese Vista Cruiser =;-)
I’m loving it!!!!
Is this Crown on the same platform as the Cressida, or something else entirely?
Crown was unique into itself at this time. The Cressida was one size/class level down the Toyota hierarchy at the time. Since then, starting in 1991, the Lexus GS sedans and concurrent Crown series have been related to one another.
what he said
I have to disagree. I had a Toyota Camry wagon, and I remember it having only one wiper for the rear window.
Third-generation Camry wagons definitely had double rear wipers, but the second generation had a single wiper. Sounds like you had a second generation car.
That could be. I’ve never been fond of anything later than the 2nd gen Camry.
Our XV10 Camry indeed had two, which made replacement logistics a bit simpler than with a single-wiper. It was rare enough to attract remarks from strangers, no mean feat for a Camry.
BTW the Japanese used to be in the Dog House for their whaling practices.
Those early 68 +- Crown wagons just evaporated here many being unroadworthy within two years apparently they had JDM panels with little rust protection appologies were made by Toyota huge loss of face for them their prestige model was the worst for durability, You have mote chance of seeing one in Myanmar, the later one you found we have those too like you ex JDM and yeah Camry wagons had twin rear wipers.
An S60 wagon popped up on Trade Me earlier this year, the owner said that there were only 6 left in NZ.
There were at least 2-3 circulating at Oldschool.co.nz, so I’m sure there must be more than 6 left. On the other hand they may have meant “on the road”!
Do you still ever get to see any automotive relics from the British period? They would be quite old by now. India has them of course with their Ambassadors. And Vietnam war movies always have a Citroen DS to remind of the French. Which never made sense because it came out after Dienbienphu.
On your true white whale. It might be less of one of the Czechs had managed to land post war on the other side of the iron curtain. A pity.
It’s possible – in Israel, the Czech embassy left a couple of 87s and a Tatraplan when they severed political ties with the country. The 87 rotted into nothing in a scrapyard near my high school, the T600 was saved and restored. I can’t see why something similar could not have happened in Burma…
I guess severing relations was a cold war thing. Weren’t the first fighter planes of the Israeli Air Force post war Czech made, Rolls Royce Merlin engined Messershmitt ME 109s?
I think you’re right. By contrast, Egypt flew Spitfires.
An early IDF bomber was a B-17 smuggled out of the US; it bombed Egypt on the way.
Upon further reading, only the post war Spanish version of the ME109 got the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. The Czech version had the HE 111 Junkers Jumo engine that had a bad effect on plane handling.
John: the only British relic I’ve found was the Dennis truck I posted about a few weeks ago. Nothing else since, really. And I’ve been living here three years.
India might be a better place to see old UK iron still roaming about, though I’ve never been there. I have been to Sri Lanka though, and they definitely still have British cars from the ’50s-’60s (and Japanese cars from the ’70s-’80s) around.
Toyota Crown Royal Extra Estate – I did not know such a thing existed.
The way the roof line rises toward the rear it looks more like an MPV than a wagon. Did they have a 3rd row?
Super article featuring a couple JDM cars I’ve owned – a ’74 “Kujira” Super Saloon and a ’92 Royal Saloon – both great cars.
Japanese get all the cool cars. Color me jealous.
I’m into watches too. You should see the JDM Seiko watches. Seiko keeps most of the good stuff for the Asian market.
One of the Lancias of the ’50s–I think the Flavia or the Flaminia–had dual rear wipers. Actually, I think it had 2 wipers on the outside of the glass and 2 on the inside. Would someone like to confirm this?
On the license plate, I assume that YGN stands for Yangon?
YGN = Yangon — yes.
Yes the Flaminia did have internal wipers for the rear window!
In Moby Dick, didn’t Captain Ahab kill the whale? I’m reasonably certain I read the book and certain I saw the movie with Gregory Peck, but don’t remember the ending other than the whale destroyed the ship with only 1 or 2 crewmembers surviving.
My current “white whales” are ANY foreign built Fords, excluding the trucks built in Turkey and cars and trucks built in Canada or Mexico. Right now, the easiest non-American Fords to find that fit my criteria are those Australian-built Capris.
Agree that the subject wagon looks like an older RWD MPV, but with car front fenders and hood nicely grafted on.
We tend to bitch and moan about all the various vehicles not available in our home countries, but forget what it’s like when you live in a country where a literal handful of manufacturers import or build a tiny number of vehicles. Can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to live in some of these countries if you are a car nut.
Good looking station wagon. It’s unforgivable that the Toyota Crown was never on the US market past 1972. We might be seeing cars like this today.
We did get Cressida wagons in the U.S. after the Crown went away, though I can’t say off hand when the wagon “went away”.
I remember the Toyota Cressida. It was sold in the USA from the late 70s until the 90s, when it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Avalon. I wish I could say that I’ve driven one or ridden in one as a passenger.
I bet not many buyers knew it was named after a naughty classical/Shakespeare character (“Troilus & Cressida”).
You can get a Crown, but only in Canada! The Majesta (Crown LDO) and athlete (Crown GT) have been spotted around Edmonton and Quebec City. Is (or was) Toyota Canada up to something? ‘Cause the Avalon’s a slow seller up north. and the Crown was STILL offered in Canada till 1995…
That’s unforgivable. Why should we have to go through Canada to buy a Toyota Crown?
All these places talked about on here reminds me my backwoods redneck ass needs to travel more! Wonder how much it would cost to bring my 71 4dr Maverick with me for travel. Hmmm…
I will take some Crown Royal on the rocks, please 🙂
It doesn’t look set up for off-road. 🙂
I could live with it, providing it has comfy seats. Just imagine the stuff you could carry in that thing, perfect for my custom furniture business!
Or how about a taxicab?
Perfect for cab use but get the turbodiesel model it uses a Hilux engine very fuel efficient and long lived.
So why not a turbodiesel engine?
Love the Tokyo Toyota dealer badge on the right lower hatch corner.
> Albino cetaceans can constitute a group of more than one
Seriously, though: that front end looks a lot like a Dodge Aries-K from a universe where composite headlamps were legal in America in 1981.
I’ve heard of the Toyota Crown. For some crazy reason, it never sold well here in the USA. I’ve never understood why. Weren’t they about the same size as the Cressida in overall dimension?