Japanese

1979 Honda Civic CVCC

This is a final-year first-generation Civic, the car that really cemented Honda’s place in the US market. The Civic first came to our shores in 1973, three years after Honda officially entered the market with the N600 and later Z600: both of which were too small to be successful in an American market still saturated with hulking land yachts. The Civic’s success largely stemmed from its fortuitous timing: it arrived just as the 1973 oil crisis began to take foot, prompting an increased demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, both qualities possessed by the new Civic.

Honda’s subsequent climb in sales was quite striking: starting from just 4,195 US sales in 1970, they crested the 100,000 per year mark in 1976 and by the time this Civic came around in 1979, Honda was selling over 350,000 cars in the US per year. And to think it was this little car that started it all.

Atwater Village, Los Angeles, CA

Photos by The Professor

 

1991 Toyota Supra

This is one of just 3,623 1991 Supras sold in the North American market, continuing the downward trend of sales ever since the 3rd generation’s introduction in 1986. For some reason, I always feel like the 3rd-gen Supra is the most forgotten model in the Supra lineage: the 2nd-gen really thrust the Supra into the public eye and made it a desirable commodity, and the 4th-gen is an icon of the ’90s Japanese sports-car era. The 3rd-gen just never seemed to attain the same aura as its surrounding generations.

I guess you could make a case that the 1st-gen Supra was even more forgettable, but it only lasted a few years and was mostly a Celica with an I-6 dropped into the engine bay. The 3rd-gen was the first Supra to be a completely differentiated model from the Celica, and I feel like that gave it the legs to survive in the collective memory of the public far better than it ended up doing. I don’t know, though: maybe it’s just me?

Sawtelle, Los Angeles, CA

Photos by The Professor

1987 Subaru GL-10 Turbo

1986 Subaru GL-10 Turbo 1986 Subaru GL-10 Turbo 1986 Subaru GL-10 Turbo 1986 Subaru GL-10 Turbo 1986 Subaru GL-10 Turbo

These turbo wagons are very few and far between. This one looks to be an original California car, as evidenced by its sunburst plate (the rarest modern California plate, even if this one’s a bit dirty). There’s not a whole lot of information to be had about this car (Wikipedia doesn’t even mention it), but it’s certainly a rare beast. The only thing that would make it even more Subaru would be the optional 4WD system that this one doesn’t have.

It’s these types of cars that I find the most interesting. The average person probably wouldn’t stop and look twice at it, but I find it fascinating, much more so than, say, a new Mercedes.

I mean, I must have seen dozens of Mercedes today, but this is the only GL-10 that I recall seeing in a very long while.

Mar Vista, CA

Photos by The Professor

Outtake: 1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

It’s been a while since I saw a Paseo, and I don’t recall ever seeing a convertible. When I researched it a bit more, I realized why. This is a second-generation Paseo, only sold in the US for model years 1995-1997. The convertible was released in August of 1996, meaning it was only sold here for the 1997 model year. If I had known that, I probably would have taken more than one picture of it, but at the time it was just a curiosity and not an actual interesting car. Next time I’ll know.

 

Santa Monica, CA

Photo by The Professor

 

1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon

1985 Toyota Cressida Wagon 1985 Toyota Cressida Wagon 1985 Toyota Cressida Wagon 1985 Toyota Cressida Wagon 1985 Toyota Cressida Wagon

I haven’t seen one of these in a while, but this one is in great condition. This was the predecessor to the Lexus; you can tell that Toyota was already leaning towards making a new brand, as they created a whole new Cressida logo.

 For some reason, Toyota likes putting more wipers than usual on their cars. Both this and the ’90s Camry wagon had two rear wipers, and the present-day FJ Cruiser has three front wipers.

On a side note, I swear you could serve dinner on that rear bumper.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

 

1992 Subaru SVX

1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX 1995 Subaru SVX

The SVX never really caught on, partly because it looked so odd and partly because it was so expensive. Just look at those side windows…They may look cool, but are very impractical in everyday driving. The only other car I can recall that had windows like that was the DeLorean.

It was also only available with a 4-speed automatic, stunting the performance from its boxer-six engine; not only that, but the slushboxes were notoriously unreliable. Just 14,257 were sold in the US and it’s rumored that Subaru lost up to $3,000 on every one sold.

Portland, OR

Photos by The Professor