The word I've heard is that these were made special order for the Japanese market but the order was rejected because they were the wrong shade of orange and were subsequently dumped into the mail-order market as bare OTAs... which is exactly how I got mine circa 1992. The shade of orange of my 'scope is a brighter orange, less of a "pumpkin" orange of an original C8.
I'm not sure if "wrong shade of orange" means "not classic C8 orange" or maybe a special shade of orange that means something in Japanese culture as was implied by the person who told me that story. A quick Google search tells me that orange stands for Happiness and Love in Chinese and Japanese culture.
It also has the older style, ribbed rear cell.
Examination and comparisons by experienced observers says that mine is pretty good C8, optically. It has Starbright coatings. I used it on a Super Polaris mount until recently getting back into the astrophotography hobby, when I put it on an Atlas (which I love).
Does anybody have any more information on these scopes or can confirm/deny the Japanese-order story I have?