30 April 2021

More than an old car #170: Toyota Hilux Surf


Having left school for a while, I look back at schooling days with some nostalgia. Throughout my time, I have come across old cars of varying shapes and sizes, and this 1993 Toyota Hilux Surf SSR-X was one of the stand-outs just because it was so uncommon...

The Hilux Surf was first conceived of back in 1981 with a prototype conversion done to the Hilux truck known as the Trekker. It was done by the Winnebago company with approval from Toyota and assembled only in the US. In 1984, the Hilux Surf (or 4Runner for the export version) came into being by modifying the short-bed Hilux truck: as such all the Hilux Surfs for the 1st generation only had 2 doors. 

For the 2nd generation, the car featured a freshly designed body although it remained identical from the B-pillar onwards. Almost all units were now available in 4-door format, with very few 2-door units made. In 1991, it underwent a facelift featuring more irregularly-shaped headlights. There were also different special edition models released as well. Interestingly, opening the rear tailgate of the Hilux Surf required one to retract the glass window into the tailgate, then opening the tailgate just like a pickup truck. This differed from its competitors which had the tailgate open upwards along with the glass.

The car was available in various trims from the base 'SSR' through 'SSR Ltd', 'SSR-V' 'SSR-X' and 'SSR-X Ltd' to the range topping 'SSR-G'. Various engines were also offered for the car, but this unit was powered by a 2982 cc 1KZ-TE turbo i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 155 km/h with an acceleration of 16 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4490 mm long and weighed 1880 kg, with a fuel consumption of 11.5 litres / 100 km.

Production of the 2nd generation Hilux Surf ended in 1995 with the arrival of the 3rd generation; about 308,549 units had been registered by then. This is a Malaysian unit as none are known to exist locally today, although small numbers were present back in the 90s where they were used as company vehicles. There has been an increasing number of Japanese SUVs being imported here over the past few years, as more people fall in love with its rugged nature. It is likely that similar units may end up here in the next few years (when they are able to get registered). Until then, you will be extremely lucky to see one before that!

17 April 2021

More than an old car #169: Daimler Six


It is not surprising that car manufacturers have created various sub-brands to cater to different target audiences. Jaguar went the less common route by acquiring Daimler back then, but it still continues to captivate people with this 1996 Daimler Six!

The Jaguar X300 series of cars, introduced in 1994 at the Paris Motor Show, was the first XJ series produced under Ford ownership. It was the result of an extensive facilities renewal program by Ford: for instance, there were state-of-the-art body welding robots used in production of the car bodies. Externally, the bonnet became more curved to accommodate the 4 separate round headlamps and the bumpers were now integrated with the body.

4 different engines were used: 3.2 litres, 4.0 litres (turbocharged and non-turbocharged) and a 6.0 litre V12. However, these engines were used in a variety of trim levels, along with a long-wheelbase version which appeared in 1995 (known internally as the X330). The Daimler name was used for the highest trim level of the X300, featuring chrome door mirrors, door handles and a fluted grille surround. Models with the 4 litre engine were known as the Daimler Six while those with the 6 litre engine were known as the Daimler Double Six. 

It was powered by a 3980 cc AJ16 inline-6 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 232 km/h with an acceleration of 8.1 seconds [0-100 km/h]. Being the LWB version, it was 5149 mm long and weighed 1825 kg, with a fuel consumption of 10.6 litres / 100 km.

Production of the X300 ended in 1997 with 92,038 made, where it was succeeded by the X308 series. Out of these, only 1,330 were the Daimler Six in LWB, which makes it surprisingly rare. An estimated 3 Daimler Sixes still exist here including this one. The fact that I saw this unit a few times is a pleasant surprise especially when they become unicorns in this country. Daimler were positioned for the people who wanted more exclusivity from common Jaguars, but not shell out too much for such privilege. I'm sure you'll get to see this some day! 

2 April 2021

More than an old car #168: Honda S800


I have been focused on mainly continental brands, and perhaps it is time to shift my content back to something more Asia-centric...anyway, here's a 1967 Honda S800 from my archives in 2014, and as you can see picture quality leaves much to be desired..

The S800, first introduced at the 1965 Tokyo Auto Show, was the successor to the S600 and competed with the likes of small sports cars such as the MG Midget and Triumph Spitfire. The noticeable differences were a different grille shape compared to the S600, a larger engine and a power bulge on the hood, which served an aesthetic purpose only. 

The potent engine was also high-revving to the point that it was described as the fastest production 1-litre car in the world back in 1967. Early examples (about 1,600 cars) featured a chain drive and independent suspension up to 1968, when subsequent units featured a conventional drive-shaft and disc brakes. In 1968, the S800M was released for the domestic market, featuring side marker lights on the outside and flush-mounted interior door handles. While these changes were geared for the American market, they were not exported there officially.

The S800 was powered by a 791 cc AS800E i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 160 km/h with an acceleration of 13.5 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 3335 mm long and weighed 720 kg, with a fuel consumption of 8.6 litres/100 km

Production of the S800 ended in 1970 with 11,536 units made. Honda did not make another S roadster for nearly 30 years until the S2000. This unit does not seem to exist here anymore, although I am aware of a newly-imported coupe that is currently here. I regret not taking better shots of it when it resided in the area up till 2016, where it was owned by a Japanese man. That being said, having a scuffed shot is still better than nothing, and perhaps you may get to see the existing ones soon!