When importing its creatively named Van between 1983 and 1989, Toyota wisely kept the most lavishly outfitted versions outside the US, in deference to their general crudeness. In Japan and other markets where high-speed stability and performance were lower priorities, the van was known as Town Ace, more openly reflecting its optimization as a suburban people carrier, ill-suited to US freeway duty. That hasn’t stopped a cult following from developing around these vans; while the Mitsubishi Delica is perhaps the most prominent vintage, feature-laden Japanese cabover import, its cult appeal is far from singular.
If the regular Toyota Van we got was seen as equipped to face off against Chrysler’s short wheelbase “Magic Wagons” in basic and LE trim, this Town Ace Super Extra is more like an answer to a Chrysler Town and Country had one existed in original short wheelbase, 2.2/2.6 form back in 1984.
This version’s facia indicates it is at least an ’85; another facelift came in 1989 and this generation Town Ace continued until January ’92, or about a year after the US market got the brilliant, expensive Previa. If you think supercharged, duel-sunroof’d versions of that van were loaded, however, models made for the Japanese market (in both wide and narrow body format) took gadgetry to a whole new level, in much the same way as this high-roofed Town Ace outdid the Toyota Van we knew in the ’80s. Thanks to Passin’Gas for this portrait of Toyota’s mid ’80s contender in the unique world of kitted-out cabovers.