Take a trip to Japan and you’ll be surprised just how many vehicles have side view mirrors mounted topside their fenders. Much like the strong influence (in some cases, borderline copyright infringement) taken from European and American automobile design, the Japanese were far from the first to utilize this obscure styling cue.
Regardless of where you stand on the matter, I think we can all agree: some vehicles pull off fender mirrors better than others. Personally, I quite like them and, although they weren’t the pioneers, the Japanese adopted the idea and mastered fender mirrors in the ’60s and ’70s in their home market.
In fact, fendā mirā were standard in Japan until the regulation changed in 1983, allowing door-mounted side view mirrors. That’s not to say they’re not an option today. In fact, like the original VG30 model Toyota Century (that came standard with wing mirrors), the current GZG50 Toyota Century is still offered with optional fender mirrors.
Even today, nearly every Toyota Crown Comfort taxi on Honshu has large chrome capped wing mirrors. Now, you’re probably wondering, “I can see the appeal for styling, but why would a service vehicle like a taxi use those novel mirrors?” Well, there’s actually some sound Japanese wisdom behind their reasoning. Although the field of vision in fender mirrors is generally smaller than door mounted mirrors, they do offer some benefits—especially for Tokyo cab drivers.