While putting together my last Goo-Net Showdown, I was contemplating making a bonus Showdown with a really special theme.
That theme is of some of Japan’s more unusual commercial vans.
Unlike a usual Showdown, I’ll be featuring a wide variety of models, varying from small kei car based models to more unusual larger machines.
Let’s start off small, shall we?
The first contender in this massive bonus Showdown comes from Mitsubishi.
This is the 1987 Mitsubishi Minica Walkthrough Van, based on the fifth generation Minica, which was the first front-wheel-drive Minica, with the first four generations being RWD.
This generation was also much more modern looking than it’s predecessors.
Interestingly, the Walkthrough Van existed alongside the Minicab, which was closely related to the Minica, hence the only difference in name being whether there was a ‘b’ at end or not.
This model was around before modern kei regulations allowed a maximum engine displacement of 660cc.
The listing says it’s a 550cc engine, but I honestly can’t tell if it’s the 546cc G23B I2 or the 548cc 3GB1 I3, since the G23B was discontinued after 1987, and the 3GB1 was introduced the same year.
The car is mostly stock, with a couple custom touches like the wheels and wooden steering wheel.
Oh, and it’s got a manual transmission.
With 84,000km/52,195 miles, this little Mitsu is listed for 270,000 yen/$2,420.39.
We stick to the kei theme with this next one from Suzuki.
The 1992 Suzuki Alto Hustle took a bit of a different approach, with mainly being a plain Alto with a raised roof in the rear, giving it a rather Volkswagen Caddy-like look.
The Alto Hustle was a rather short lived model, only being built from November 1991 to October 1993, or almost exactly two years.
Like the Minica above, this one comes equipped with a manual transmission, but has a larger engine. Under the hood, Suzuki’s 657cc F6A I3.
The condition of this little Alto isn’t perfect, with a damaged right rocker panel and some easily visible rust, as seen above.
It’s got less on the odometer, though, with only 68,000km/42,253 miles on it. and the price is cheap: 180,000 yen/$1,613.59.
Wrapping up the kei section of the Showdown is this 1989 Daihatsu Mira Walk-through Van.
Once again, we have a small kei car turned mini box van.
This one is another pre-660cc model, this one with Daihatsu’s 547cc EB 3-cylinder under the hood.
And, yet again, it’s got a stick shift.
On top of that, we see yet another wooden steering wheel, like the Minica.
But then there’s mileage and price.
37,000km/22,990 miles, and a price of 580,000 yen/$5,199.35, making it, by far, the most expensive of the three kei vans.
Now, we go up in size for the next one.
Introduced in 1989, the Toyota Deliboy was intended as a smaller alternative to their Quick Delivery.
Sharing many mechanical parts with the LiteAce, including it’s 1.5L 5K-U I4 with 70 hp, it proved to be rather underpowered.
Sales were low, but the Deliboy stayed in production until 1995.
This bright yellow example above is a late model 1994, in the longer 502 configuration (the shorter model was known as the 202).
Following the trend seen above, this Deliboy also has a wooden steering wheel.
This is also the first of these vans that has a picture of the odometer in the listing, with 141,995km/88,231 miles.
A larger van also means a larger price: 780,000 yen/$6,992.22.
Now, we get to the big vans. These models, based on smaller commercial trucks like the Toyota Dyna, Isuzu Elf, and Nissan Atlas, are among the largest vans to come out of the factories in Japan.
Let’s start with the most common, the aforementioned Toyota QuickDelivery.
The vast majority of people familiar with the QD will know it as a common van used by Yamato Transport, the Japanese courier company globally known for it’s ‘Kuroneko’ logo and green/tan fleet of vehicles.
Over the years, the QD has shared mechanicals with Toyotas like the Dyna, Toyoace, and HiAce.
This example was manufactured in February of 2000, and the first QD rolled off the lines in 1982, essentially Japan’s take on American contemporaries like the Grumman-Olson Kurbmaster (or specifically in this case, the Kurbmaster Junior) and Chevrolet Step Van.
This QD is a bit special, as it is equipped with a 2.7 liter engine running on Liquefied Propane Gas, which is mated to a manual transmission, and rear wheel drive setup.
The mileage on this QD is listed at 132,000km/82,020 miles, and the price is listed higher than the vans shown above, with this one priced at 1,480,000 yen/$13,267.30.
Things are gonna get a little more unusual from here on in.
Next up is the Isuzu Begin, based on the extremely common Elf.
This 2002 Begin is powered by a 3.1L diesel engine, mated to...you guessed it, a manual transmission.
The styling of the Begin is certainly quirkier than the more mainstream styled QuickDelivery, with halogen headlamps surrounded by grey, unpainted plastic and unusual looking grille.
Mileage is slightly higher than the QD, with 133,000km/82,642 miles, and the price is higher as well, at 1,580,000 yen/$14,163.74.
Lastly, we have a quirky Japanese commercial van with a claim to fame.
This example, manufactured in June of 1993, is an excellent example of how kooky Japan can make their commercial vehicles.
It also appears that it’s been possibly configured to be a bit of a mobile office or something, and even comes equipped with an Onan (division of Cummins) generator, so there’s a bit of America in this as well.
The engine is smaller than the Begin, equipped with a 2.7 liter diesel.
This Atlas Loco also has the lowest mileage of this bunch: 31,000km/19,262 miles, and the cheapest of the larger vans at 1,360,000 yen/$12,191.57.
Now, this leaves one question...which of these vans would be your personal choice for a business vehicle?
Would you go smaller with a kei car based van, in the middle with a Deliboy, or big with one of the larger vans?
The best part? Instead of three choices, this time you get seven to choose from. Choose wisely.