1989 Suzuki Samurai JL

#58122. S/N JS4JC51C9K4290412. 4k miles. “1.3-liter inline 4, 5-speed manual transmission, dual-range transfer case, blue paint, brown cloth & vinyl upholstery, white removable two-piece hard top, exterior wood paneling, 15-inch wheels.” Condition: 1. SOLD AT $30,975. Bring a Trailer, 10/26/21

This little 4x4 was first released in the U.S. in 1985 as a renamed second-generation Suzuki Jimny. The first-generation Jimny was a close competitor to the Mitsubishi Jeep, a rebadged Willys Jeep. Visually, the second-generation model looks like a modernized Jeep from that era. 

Sales went wild on the Samurai’s U.S. launch, due to it being two-thirds the price of a Jeep CJ and more reliable. Off-road enthusiasts loved the chassis and developed plenty of aftermarket parts. Even the lowrider scene was enamored by the Samurai with plenty modified during the ’90s mini-truck era. 

Like most popular Japanese cars, many were sold but few remained stock. Samurais usually trade hands in private sales range from $5k- $20k depending on condition. Still, it isn’t too surprising that this cream-puff “Woodie” went for $31k. Well sold.

1984 Toyota Cressida

Courtesy of Bring a Trailer

#57518. S/N JT2MX63E8E0062270. 126k miles. “2.8-liter inline 6, 4-speed automatic transmission, three ECT shift modes, Super White paint, brown cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, R134a-converted air conditioning, cruise control, 14-inch wheels, power windows, sunroof, Panasonic CD stereo, spark plugs and fuel pump replaced in 2020, “manufacturer’s literature.” Condition: 2+. SOLD AT $5,670. Bring a Trailer, 10/17/21

In Japan the Cressida competed against European luxury cars on the strength of its less-expensive price tag. The first Cressida we received in the U.S. was actually the third-generation Mark II. (The name was changed for export markets, possibly because of “Mark II” being associated with Lincoln.) 

This example is a second-generation Cressida (or fourth-generation Mark II), also known by its chassis code, “X6.” The first two years of the X6 Cressida came with a carbureted SOHC engine and a solid rear axle. These are less desirable than later cars, like our subject car,  with its DOHC engine, fuel-injection and independent rear suspension. I have had bad luck with Cressida automatics, so a manual model would be more ideal. 

Though bought fairly cheap, this price is on the higher side for a Cressida. Finding one in such clean condition, however, is difficult.

1992 Subaru SVX LS-L

Courtesy of Cars & Bids

S/N JF1CX3530NH108548. 84,600 miles. “3.3-liter flat-6 engine, rated at 230 horsepower and 228 ft-lb of torque. AWD, 4-speed automatic transmission. Factory equipment includes 16-inch wheels, rear spoiler, sunroof, power-adjustable driver’s seat, CD/cassette player. Xenon headlight bulbs.” Condition: 2. SOLD AT $9,730. Cars & Bids, 8/6/21

Unfortunately, all unique Japanese classic cars aren’t shooting up in value. The SVX was a direct replacement for the wedged-shaped Subaru XT and XT6. In Japan, these cars carried the model name Alcyone and Alcyone SVX, but that wasn’t carried through for the U.S. market. SVX styling and features were wildly upscale from the mainline cars Subaru offered due to the prosperous bubble market in Japan at this time. 

The SVX was inspired by aircraft design, with its Countach-esque “glass inside glass” two-piece side windows. With a hefty sticker price ($28k at the time, or $55k in today’s money) and such an odd design, sales were far less than expected. Over the years, the car hasn’t gained a following like some other Japanese models and continues to have  just a niche fan base. If you have the money and space for something from this era, the SVX would be an interesting addition at current sub-$10k prices for a good example. Well bought.♦

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