The other day, we looked at what is likely the last US-market Mitsubishi van in Eugene. But now, more and more of these JDM (Japanes Domestic Market) Mitsubishi vans (Delicas) are washing up on our Pacific shores. Maybe they’re amphibious too; which wouldn’t surprise me, given their many other exceptional qualities, most of which are incorporated right into its name. But that’s a cultural trait; the Japanese seem to like long names with lots of information in it. And let’s face it, this is as Japanese as a vehicle as it gets, and it is rather a Jack of all trades. Does that also mean a Master of None?
I’m only speculating, but my guess is that some or many of these compact 4WD diesel vans are only being put to proper use once they find their way to Oregon. I suppose some of them were in Japan too, but its hard to overstate what a huge fad/boom 4WD vehicles were in Japan, starting in the 80s. Just about everything had a 4WD version; even my Scion xB was available in 4WD in Japan. And these were predominantly city cars. The Japanese have the ultimate “me-too” culture, and if 4WD vehicles are cute and in, well then one just has to get one to putter around the crowded streets of Tokyo.
Yes, this is a Chamonix version of the Delica Star wagon.
It’s full name can be found here, right on its side. And yes, it was “Especially Designed For All Season Skier”. The tip-off is right there: what the hell is an “all season skier”? I love Engrish. Having worked at a tv station in LA that had a lot of Japanese programming (along with about 15 other languages), I got a deep immersion in Engrish, Japanese culture, and their love for long and highly descriptive names. This one captures them all.
True confession: there was a time when this would have been pretty much my ultimate vehicle. I was infatuated with diesels in the late 70s, early 80s (I’m long over them), 4WD, vans, and, ah, Japanese culture. It’s a common phenomena of younger men, to lust after one vehicle that does it all, most importantly, be able to function as an urban escape pod and engender dreams of trips to Tierra del Fuego, or across the Sahara. And this is just the ticket.
And I’m still pining for a turbodiesel, 4WD camper van, just a couple sizes bigger. Age does prefer a bit of comfort to go along with the escape (or fantasies of it), so now it’s a Sprinter rather than one of these. but the appeal is not lost on me.
But back in 1980 or so, I would have given been in hog heaven in one of these.
Stephanie and I started our life together in my ’68 Dodge A100 van, which was our escape pod to get out of LA on the weekends and out into the mountains or desert. This would have been perfect, if perhaps a bit narrow for me.
A proper folding bed that encompassed this are would have done the trick. Although it is smaller than the Dodge.
A young guy can dream, eh? I was aware of these at the time, because I’d see them in ads on those Japanese tv programs. There’s nothing like them either—the Japanese tv ads of that time—I should do a post on a bunch of them.
It appears there’s a bit of an issue happening with the shifter for what must be the transfer case. Hmm; getting parts for these is not going to involve the local Mitsubishi dealer. Well, there’s bound to be some adventure in owning one of these; one kind or another.