I used to hate Japanese cars – I mean really hate them. They were reliable, bullet proof engines tough, but I was a fan of all that was British, so that meant I would go for a Allegro over a Datsun Violet any day.
Then summat changed – I don’t know what happened, but i discovered the beauty of Japanese automobilia. Then came the R32 GT-R – and that was game over. I was hooked.
I am not really a massive fan of the new cars that Japan produces – the Toyota Mark X might as well have a Lexus badge on it – it all looks very much the same as every other. But one car that retains the Japanese ethics of graft and proper is the Toyota Crown Comfort. And I love this car for all its boxiness and rigidity – so much so, there is a 1/43 in the Garage and a 1/64 Tomica Limited on my desk at work.
Some of you may know that I wrote about this car in one of my very first blogs back in 2010. And how in Singapore gradually there seems to be favour with the likes of the Hyundai Sonata – cheaper to run and less expensive, perhaps the Crown Comfort’s days are numbered.
The Mrs had a business trip to Japan recently, and the only thing I wanted were pictures of the taxis out there – and much to my delight she obliged (she does not understand why but has learned not to other reasoning anymore). The design is classic – it could not be any more anti-aerodynamic, but yet there is something beautiful about that boxy design. Proper, trim and respectful, if you have not been in one, they are summat else. Car seat covers are replaced with white cloth. Passenger doors open automatically via the driver. For a normal saloon car, it s an experience like no other – such character, which seems devoid from those London Taxi’s (well, except for the chit chat from off the cabbie).
It is interesting to note that as an every day work horse, this seems to be the car of choice for the Japanese taxi driver. Not so much the standard trim, but more for the Super/Royal Saloon, which I believe may have a better trim level. The Royal Saloon is reminiscent of the Cressida saloon once sold in Europe – to a big, spacious car, good enough to be a cab.
You can see a couple of Toyota Mark II’s there and even the odd Nissan Crew/Cedric –
but Nissan never really made in roads into the cab market, so methinks these are few ad far between.
I don’t think production of the Crown Comfort will end soon. It is so rich in terms of a workhorse that there may be outcry should production cease. So whilst other Asian countries may be importing less in favour of offerings from Korea, Japan welcomes and loves the Crown Comfort. And that makes me very happy.