I’ve been reading about these Japanese kei-vans converted to look like VW buses for a long time, but never saw one myself. Until one day, there it was, parked in a student housing project, looking all the world like a baby bus abandoned by its mother.
This one started out as a ninth generation Suzuki Carry (1993-1999) van, but there’s also kits to convert a Subaru Sambar. A 657cc three-pot mounted low just ahead of the rear axle powers it. It’s not hard to see why it got picked for the conversion.
Looks a bit tall and tippy, but with that engine way down under the floor, the center of gravity probably isn’t that bad. The Vancouver, B.C. plate explains its existence, although I see a few ex-JDM cars around that seem to have sprouted Oregon plates without being old enough technically. Maybe it’s not all that hard.
This one’s an automatic too, a three-speed. Automatics have been quite popular in Japanese kei cars and other small vehicles there for some time, more so than in Europe. Blame the atrocious slow traffic in the big cities.
Unlike Mama-bus, baby bus only has two rows of seats.
And a cargo area behind that. Bright and cheerful in here.
It looks a bit sad from the front, though. Do you miss your mommy?
It looks like it needs some love. Would you take it home?