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Sat in the pleasant warmth of our living room, peering out into the cold and wet winter, the thought of heavily salted roads is rather depressing. If you like me have a profound fear of decaying metalwork, this can – as a classic car enthusiast – be a rather gloomy season. My thoughts drift to better and happier places…

I fairly recently spent just short of four years of my life living in Hong Kong – only moving back to Europe during the summer of 2015. From the perspective of being a classic car owner and driver, I must say that Europe is on the whole a better place to be. More space, more open roads, more classic cars, more car clubs, more events & meets. However, the weather in Hong Kong gave us enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy our classics out on the roads all year round. Phwoooaar… I must confess that I sorely miss it at this very moment!

My weapon of choice for a Hong Kong SMD: 1977 Toyota Sprinter Trueno 1600GT with its fabulous 1.6-litre 2T-G twincam, 5-speed manual and a factory LSD. Far from the fastest around the block, not the most exotic or valuable either – but it made all the right sounds and had real character.  Picture courtesy of Ben Molloy.

I dug into those old pictures from our many Sunday Morning Drives – or SMD’s as they were known among the Hong Kong enthusiasts. Often they would be arranged through the Classic Car Club of Hong Kong, while other drives were more informal and impromptu affairs set up between a group of likeminded friends. We would meet up early on a Sunday morning – before the traffic got too dense – and head out in convoy to enjoy the best driving roads Hong Kong had to offer – more often than not, up in the northern New Territories. The many switchback hairpins of Route Twisk was my own personal favourite. It could be a bit heavily populated with bikers thinking they were the next Valentino Rossi, but get there really early and you could beat them to it, and get a good clear run up one side of Tai Mo Shan Mountain and down the other. Also following Ting Kok Road along the coast of Plover Cove and then along the many flowing bends of Brides Pool Road through Plover Cove Country Park in the very northeastern corner of Hong Kong was another great run. Sitting down with friends afterwards on the coast at Luk Keng outside the simple shed of Fat Kei Store with your mates for a bite of breakfast and a cup of coffee, while listening to our classics ticking as they cooled again was just pure magic. Others preferred going down to Big Wave Beach at Shek O on the south of the Island, but while the roads are narrow and twisty and the landscape stunning – especially if you chose the route leading over the old Tai Tam Reservoir Dam – I always found the traffic much too congested. Still, it offered up an alternative to the northerly Sunday Morning Drives, and granted, if you’re into your supercars, this was the place to go on any given Sunday, as the parking lot would fill with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens and other exotica.

I miss the sun, blue skies and dry roads. I’m sure you do to! So I figured I’d share my sentimental reminiscing with you…

 

9 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    Wonderful pictures, Anders – impressed by the variety, expected HK to be dominated by Japanese cars. In my first 2 (of 3) visits to HK 1985 and 88, I pootled around in a knackered old Honda Accord; it might be heading towards classic status by now…or not). Hard to pick a favourite from your photos – I particularly like the trio of MBs, also of course the 02 (a tiiLux, by the looks of it?) and the E9…

    Reply
  2. Dave Leadbetter

    There’s clearly some lovely stuff out there. What’s the rust situation like with all the sea air?

    The 02 catches my eye (what are the odds, eh?), the stripy Celia is pretty special too and the convertible Datsun Fairlady. Lots of proper exotica but because I have limited ambition I’ll take the dark bronze Mazda RX7 please.

    Reply
  3. Claus Ebberfeld

    Dave beat me to the bronze RX7! Damn, then I’ll have to go with the Berlinetta Boxer. Or the De Tomaso Longchamp? Not exactly one you see everyday – at least not here in Denmark. This time of the year…

    Reply
  4. carl

    Anders – great stuff. Glad it was posted in the CCCHK faceBook page. Hope everything’s good with you.
    Classic Car Club annual lunch coming up this Saturday – will send you photos!!

    Reply
  5. Anders Bilidt

    Jesper, well spotted – it is indeed a Kyalami.

    Tony, the variety of classics in Hong Kong surprised me too when I first moved there. It’s certainly not only Japanese. Also not just big-bucks Ferraris and Lambos. There’s something for everyone… Ehrmmm… except, I don’t recall seeing a 1st gen. or even 2nd. gen. Accord there in all of my four years in Hong Kong. You must have killed the last one they had… ;-)
    And yes, the 02 is a tiiLux – belongs to a good friend of mine called Nelson, who also happens to own the red E30 325i convertible.

    Dave, that bronze metallic RX-7 is actually pretty exotic in its own right! It’s the ultrarare Japanese-market-only range-topping GT-X Turbo with all sorts of goodies right from (of course…) the force-induced rotary engine, a factory LSD, to leather interior and much more. Further to that, the owner always had it looking concours!

    Carl, great to see you here on ViaRETRO! I’m well thank you – I trust you are too?
    Have fun at next weekends Annual Luncheon. I wish I could be there…

    Reply
  6. Tony Wawryk

    Anders, I can’t believe you are implying that I killed a potential future classic ;) – it was a tatty 1st gen car belonging to my ex-pat friends who I was visiting, and already dying on it’s wheels in ’85, yet was still running on my second visit in ’88; that might have been it’s last hurrah…

    Reply
  7. Anders Bilidt

    Ouuuuh… a 1st gen Accord!! Well, I sure hope you didn’t kill it Tony. There’ll be some trouble if you did! ;-)
    I have a bit of a soft spot for those 1st gen cars – probably because my father in 1980 bought a top-of-the-range Accord EX-L with the 1.8 CVCC engine. It was a very sober dark green metallic with dark green velour interior, factory alloys and all the toys. He kept it for a bit more than 2 years, and it was great!
    Personally I would love to find a clean and unmolested three-door Coupé – preferably in a dark bronze metallic.

    Hmmmm… look what you just did Tony. Mention Nippon classics, and off I go on an uncontrollable tangent…

    Reply

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