Like many males, Mr Mark Poh loves vehicles. But in contrast to most of his friends, the 35-year-old proprietor of a rental automobile company doesn’t fancy trendy rides.
He prefers traditional vehicles and he has a uncommon one – a white 1972 Toyota Crown Coupe, powered by a 2-litre engine with a three-speed automated transmission.
He says: “I believe mine is the only one left in Singapore, but I cannot confirm this.”
His love of older vehicles began when he started his college research in Australia in 2003. “I wanted a large car with an equally large engine and I saw a 1979 Chrysler Valiant for sale at just A$1,000. I bought it that same day,” he recounts.
However, he needed to promote the automobile, reluctantly although, after simply 11/2 years as his mother and father felt that the Valiant “wasn’t safe”. They purchased him a brand new Subaru Liberty.
When Mr Poh returned from Australia in 2006, he didn’t search for a automobile to purchase as he might use the household’s Mazda 6 saloon.
Three years later, his brother alerted him to an commercial on on-line automobile portal sgCarMart. A 1983 Toyota AE86, a rear-wheel-drive two-door, had been put up on the market.
“I contacted the owner to arrange for a viewing and bought the car on the spot,” Mr Poh says. “It was an iconic car. I loved its shape and its reputation as one of the best rear-wheel-drive coupes in its day.”
He owned it for 2 years earlier than promoting it. “Unfortunately, the car was also popular with the LTA (Land Transport Authority) enforcement officers. It had an aftermarket exhaust which wasn’t legal, and I was caught with it twice in six months – by the same officer,” he says.
But quickly after he bought the automobile, he noticed a Toyota Crown Coupe, owned by a person who ran a motor workshop throughout the highway from his rental showroom.
Mr Poh contacted him instantly and, to his delight, found that the automobile was on the market.
“I wanted it so badly that I didn’t even test-drive it,” he says. “I paid about $25,000 and was prepared to spend a lot more if the car had serious issues. Thankfully, it was in very good condition.”
He says it had an “old Japanese car smell”, which was distinctive as a result of no different kind of automobile had it and which he finds “quite pleasing”.
The Crown Coupe is registered beneath the Classic Vehicle Scheme and could be pushed solely 28 days a 12 months. “I drive it around only 10 days a year. Honestly, it doesn’t handle very well,” Mr Poh says.
Despite being stationary more often than not, it attracts loads of consideration. “People often enter my showroom to view and touch the car, and take photos of it without asking for permission,” he says.
“In fact, it has happened so often that I now park it further inside so that it is partially hidden from prying eyes.”
Mr Poh says he loves the automobile and has no plans to promote it. Sometimes, he would drive it to automobile fanatic gatherings.
“It’s so that I can show it to other like-minded people and chat with them about classic cars.”
• The author contributes to Torque, a motoring month-to-month revealed by SPH Magazines.
What’s within the boot?
• An emergency energy pack
• Spare components