The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

It was easy to see the appeal of these things. Big on luxury, equipment and velour. Unlike its Western contemporaries though, they weren't that big on price. These were perhaps the default cars for those who wore suits to work, carried a briefcase and probably owned a Motorola Brick phone. As I mentioned before, the pool of full sized pure japanese cruisers has slimmed down quite a lot. The only attainable full sizer is the Crown and the Century is the last full sizer with royalty still in its blood. A lot more manufacturers had a stab at this market starting with...

Honda

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

Honda was pretty late to this party. With established names such as Cedric, Crown and even Debonair, the Legend had to be different enough to be distinct but not in a way that will alienate potential buyers. Honda then made a car that's driver oriented enough for the high earning salaryman to enjoy but still pamper him coming home from a very long board meeting.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

The Legend was released in an era where turbos were being experimented on. Yes, Honda dabbled with turbos in their production cars that long ago. The turbo Legend probably has one of the most 80's monikers ever. The Honda Legend Wing Turbo. Yes, Wing Turbo.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

The turbo models got the bigger grille (and the turbo badge, duh)

My personal favorite is the second generation model. Why? Just look at it.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

Also, it's fun to say you own a car that Senna did.

Mazda

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

Mazda will always be different. That didn't mean they won't have a piece of the big cruiser market pie. They were going to sell these big sedans and, knowing Mazda, give the customer of having a Rotary stuck in for good measure.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

The Luce has, for a long time, been Mazda's big car. Introduced in 1969, it was always different from the other big sedans of the time. Just take a look at the rear. There's a hint of Triumph Dolomite in there somewhere. The idea of being different didn't stop there. By the third generation, it looked like a mish mash of of 70's styling cues from American cars.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

A little bit of Plymouth Fury in the front I see?

Mazda's madness didn't stop there. They went as far as sticking one of these

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

In these

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

Needless to say, that didn't work out so well.

Mitsubishi

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

Debonair. As silly as it sounds, it somewhat works for this car. Introduced in 1964, the car was virtually unchanged for over 20 years. Sure it got cleaner burning engines but it was still the old, reliable and familiar car that came out in '64. It's like a trusty butler (if you have one of those). Gentle, courteous and nonchalant. Pretty much describes the word Debonair as well.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

Finding a picture for the 80's model was largely irrelevant, as it was the same thing for 22 years.

Eventually, it needed a restyle. So in 1987, the world got this model.

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

It also spawned one of the weirdest collaborations of all time

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)

So those were the big cruisers that didn't come from Nissan or Toyota. While not the staple of the usual consumer, they were sure different enough for some of us to remember. Sadly, among the cars above, none of them survived shifting consumer tastes. Perhaps it's only the Legend that lives by the name of the Acura RLX. Will it be as well received as the Legend? Only time will tell

The Full Sized Cruisers of Japan: A Tribute (Part One)