1996 Toyota Mega Cruiser

S/N BXD200001087. 90,900 km (56,500 miles). “4.1-L turbodiesel I4 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission and a 2-speed transfer case, producing 155 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque, 17.5-inch wheels, portal axles, inboard brakes, locking front, center and rear differentials, a four-wheel steering system, a rear-mounted ladder, and a folding rear step.” Condition: 1-. SOLD AT $314,500. Cars & Bids, 10/11/22.

This “Japanese Hummer” went for big money, but you probably haven’t heard of it before. The Mega Cruiser was originally built for military use in Japan, but some civilian models were made, such as our subject truck. Production numbers for the regular military-spec Mega Cruiser are somewhere around 3,000, while fewer than 150 of the civilian model were built. Of these, maybe 10 of them were converted to left-hand drive for use in countries like Russia and Kazakhstan. The running gear was overengineered for off-road ground clearance through the use of portal axles and inboard brakes.

Other interesting features of the Mega Cruiser are the central tire inflation, allowing inflating and deflating the tires from inside the cab. Outside of its standard equipment, this Mega Cruiser has been updated with more creature comforts such as heated seats, DVD screens, satellite phone, diesel heater, stereo system with subwoofer and a refrigerator.

Originally imported from Kazakhstan, this truck is already titled in Colorado, making ownership easier for U.S. bidders. Similar Mega Cruisers listed for sale in Japan are only around $140k right now, thanks to the strength of the dollar. With this LHD Mega Cruiser already here in the U.S. and legal under the 25-year federal law, it attracted a lot of attention. We don’t have any auction comps for this model, but based on the private-sale market in Japan, this vehicle seems very well sold.

1988 Nissan 300ZX Shiro Special Edition

Lot 87594. S/N JN1CZ14S1JX202748. 110k km (68k miles). “Turbocharged 3.0-L V6, 5-speed manual transmission, white paint, gray cloth upholstery, Recaro seats, a/c, AM/FM cassette stereo, removable roof panels, tinted windows, 16-inch white-finished wheels.” Condition: 1. SOLD AT $21,000. Bring a Trailer, 10/16/22.

This 300ZX is from the last generation (Z31) of the Nissan Z line to retain the traditional shape before the 1990 Z32’s more rounded design. Unlike previous Z cars, it was equipped with a V6 rather than an I6. (Surprisingly enough, this was the first mass-produced V6 from Japan.) The Z31 was positively received, but it was launched into a market already saturated with Japanese sports cars.

Our Shiro (white, in Japanese) Special subject car was the best version this generation. With limited production of 1,002 for the U.S. and 75 for Canada, it is extremely rare. It boasted actual performance upgrades beyond cosmetics. Stiffer springs, shocks and sway bars, plus a new front spoiler, Recaro sport seats and a viscous LSD helped make it the best-handling Z31. It was also the fastest Japanese car of its day, with a 153-mph top speed. 

Unfortunately, bidding was soft on this example and landed in the normal price range for Z31s at auction. The car was in Canada and U.S. bidders might not have know how easy it would be to import. Well bought.

1993 Honda Civic del Sol S

Lot 877665. S/N JHMEG1146PS003961. 66,000 miles. “1.5-L SOHC I4, 5-speed manual transaxle, Frost White paint, black cloth upholstery, 13-inch steel wheels, removable roof panel, A/C, factory cassette stereo.” Condition: 1. SOLD AT $9,555. Bring a Trailer, 10/18/22.

Golden-era Hondas are on the rise, but is the del Sol part of this group? Maybe not. The Civic del Sol (or the third-generation CR-X del Sol, as it was known in other markets) was an odd update to the original 2-door hatchback. With a targa-style roof and mid-engine styling, the front-engine, front-wheel-drive car seemed to compete against Toyota’s MR2, but why? The Civic platform at the time consisted of a 2-door hatchback, a 4-door sedan and the North American-market 2-door coupe. Perhaps since there was already a hatchback in Honda’s lineup, it wanted to experiment with a new body style.

When the del Sol was initially released, Honda sold over 20,000 units in the first two years. Sales started to decline in 1995 until production ended in 1997. The early years received weaker engines, like this D15B7 producing 105 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. In 1994, the del Sol added the desirable B16A2, which was a DOHC VTEC engine also found in the 1999–2000 Civic Si (see “Affordable Classic,” p. 40). It produced 160 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque, which was a nice bump for a 2,200-pound car.

Honda enthusiasts tend to flock toward the 2-door hatch and the coupe from this generation. While the del Sol isn’t a bad car, it also doesn’t grab the attention like other Civics from that era. The round shape and quirky headlights aren’t aggressive and the styling hasn’t aged well. While this car only has 66k miles and seems to be in wonderful condition, those reservations might be the reason why it didn’t break $10k. Well sold for now. ♦

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