This what you’re looking at is the left (passenger) side of a 1994-’96—take a deep breath, now—Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear Chamonix Super Select 4WD. The nine additional words after that (pity this one hasn’t got the Crystal Lite Roof or there’d be twelve) aren’t actually part of the model name, they’re just, y’know, serving suggestions
If you’re not an All Outdoor Player, you might not know that “Chamonix” is the winter-prep package: easy-to-clean carpeting and upgraded upholstery, twin batteries, limited-slip differential(s?), that sort of thing.
If you’re not Canadian, you might not know that vehicles more than 15 years old can be imported to Canada regardless of (non)compliance with Canadian national vehicle emissions regulations and safety standards. Used vehicles from Japan are common especially in BC with its relative proximity to Japan. the Mitsubishi Delica and various flavours of Toyota Land Cruiser are among the most frequently seen here.
Now, what’s that in the gauge pod perched atop the dash to the left of the column shifter?
Why, it’s an attitude indicator (van’s, not driver’s), presumably to tell you when you’ve rolled the van. I guess it goes with the territory when you’re an All Outdoor Player.
Check out the extremely configurable seating configuration abaft of the front row; this is what’s meant by “Space Gear”:
Gratuitous glamour shots of the MDSGCSS4WD. That pole sprouting from the left extent of the front bumper bar has a little light on top. It’s to show the driver where is the left front corner of the vehicle; Japanese parking spaces have scanty room for error or anything else.
At the rear there’s a positionable mirror to let the driver see just what’s goin’ on back there, though I can’t quite work out how it’s meant to be used.
The 15-year rule just means the car gets into Canada, though; it still has to pass whatever inspection the buyer’s province may impose, and sometimes there are problems. Japan drives on (so their headlamps are for) the left side of the road, and buyers sometimes get caught between unscrupulous dealers and slack inspectors. And if there’s nothing such as a US- or European-spec right-traffic headlamp for whatever crazy Japanese thing you’ve bought, well…erm…y’see, the thing is…uh…hey, look! It’s a Japan-market Toyota van that’s had ’93-’97 Chrysler Concorde headlamps hacked, glued (yes), and door-edge-chrome-trimmed into the originals:
No such monkeyshines are called for on a Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear Chamonix Super Select 4WD; they sold them in Continental Europe, so right-traffic headlamps can be purchased and swapped in. And one of the
few nice things about Canada being an English/French a French/English bilingual country is that it moots the question of whether it’s pronounced “CHAM-uh-nicks” or “shah-moh-NEE”. As for seeing to overtake on a 2-lane highway or coping with drive-thru windows and border guard shacks clear all the way across the car from the right-hand steering wheel, you’re on your own in either language.
I’ve always liked Toyotas, I grew up with Toyotas in the family. I only drove one Mitsubishi, a 1980s Delica van.
Wish we had some of these here in California! Everyone here goes so nuts for the few leftover Westfalias that prices are sky and choices are scant. Oh yes, there are plenty of road hog motor homes, but precious little for those who prefer a smaller camper.
Haven’t Mitsubishi SUVs featured atitude indicators since the 1st Monteros hit North America (in the 80s?)? I also seem to remember(perhaps incorrectly?) that atitude indicators were available on some Isuzu SUVs.
I like the idea of small AWD vans, but think a small AWD station wagon would be more practical.
Witty, well written, informative, short and to-the-point. Thanks.
Seeing RHD vehicles in right-hand-driving locales always gives me pause. I’ve never driven on the “wrong side” of a roadway or of a vehicle, but I’d imagine that I’d find it unsettling (although with an automatic transmission it might not be quite as challenging or disorienting as with a manual). Just as unsettling are the upholstery patterns in that rig. That is sensory overload defined. I might fear sudden-onset epilepsy if I had to take a long trip in a rear seat of that thing. Interesting vehicle though.
I think you’re justified in looking askance at the idea of driving a wrong-hand-drive car for general purpose use (as opposed to specialty service such as rural postal delivery, parking enforcement, etc). Seems RHD vehicles in Canada are 40% more likely to be in a crash than comparable LHD vehicles.
I wonder if that is due to the people who drive RHD vehicles are more risk-taking than people who won’t?
At least in this 4×4 van some of the disadvantages will be nullified, eg you would be able to see over most traffic.
I used to drive an LHD Citroen DS in London UK, and didn’t actually find it to be much trouble. The only time I really noticed it was when entering/leaving a parking lot which required tickets, or when trying to overtake a very slow vehicle on country roads.
Rear mirror: I think it’s meant to give a view of whatever is directly behind the rear bumper. You would use it when the car is in reverse and you’ve turned your head to look backward. I’ve never used one myself, but I imagine it’s quite helpful for parallel parking in tiny spaces.
Yep, virtually all JDM used import vans people movers that arrive in New Zealand by the boatload have those rear mirrors. Think of them as the analog version of a reversing camera.
My parents’ 1985 Toyota Townace Super-Extra (aka Toyota ‘Van’ in the USA) had one, and it (like all such mirrors) was heavily convex so gave quite a decent view of whatever it was you were about to reverse into/run over. Yes, very helpful for tight parking, and moreso if the vehicle is fitted with a towbar – you can reverse up to whatever you’re about to tow and line the towball and trailer hitch up perfectly.
Unfortunately those nifty rear window drapes are right in the way of the mirror!
I once saw a Toyota MR2 which has been privately imported. The rear windscreen was covered in words done in an outline font, something like “MR2 middle engine spaceship for seriously sporty guy” …..weird!
If that attitude indicator is typical of the type, it’s only accurate when the vehicle is stopped. That means if you’re already at the tipping point…oops, too late!
All the private pilots in the room are thinking “Accelerate North, Decelerate South” right about now.
Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear Chamonix Super Select 4WD….
What a name, AND, there isn’t one good line on it inside or out……. Woof.
The name is silly but the flexible seating is NEAT. A rolling living-room complete with curtains.
American cars tried similar arrangements briefly around 1916 (eg Detroit Electric, center-door sedans) but then abandoned the idea forever.
I looked hard at buying an identical one, and probably should have pulled the trigger – it was just a bit more than I wanted to pay though. Although it was over 10 years ago, the moment I saw the first picture I remembered the seat fabric – it was even more intense in real life! Not sure I could have lived with it for too long.
In this vehicle’s home market of Japan, grownups—old enough to vote, pay taxes, etc—fuel a brisk business in the likes of Hello Kitty seat covers. No foolin’. I’ve never understood why, but perhaps it’s to do with upholstery like this.
Delica Space Gear by its self is probably the best name I’ve heard for a product this decade! and it could be applied to a cellphone, video game console, maybe an energy drink? Awesome!
Thankfully these are now too old to be imported into NZ but there are already thousands of them in the wrecking yards.
Too *old* to be imported? That’s pretty much the opposite of how we do it here, where 25 years is the newest vehicle that can be imported (if it wasn’t sold here in the first place).
Is there an age where it becomes legal again under a classic status, or is it completely impossible to import anything older than whatever that limit is?
Yep once a vehicle is 20 years old it can be imported again.
I had one of those new in 2004! Being a company van, it was the lo-spec version of the Delica sold here as the L400, so although it had the extra-long wheelbase and the extra-high roof, it didn’t score a long badge…let alone side windows or carpet… To console myself I bought Delica Space Gear pop-out cupholders (visible in the interior photot above between the radio storage pocket and the ashtray/lighter) and monogrammed and fitted floor mats. But ’twas still a large van with a short name…
Love the seating fabric. Almost as cool as in the 1976 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham –
OW MY FREAKIN’ EYES!
Is that the Toronado Grandma’s Armchair edition?
Or it looks like the integrated pop-up child seats in newer Volvos
Imagine if all car makers did something similar with their vehicle names, for example: Volkswagen Golf Chip Fooler TDI Diesel Wink-Wink Hatchback.
Driving a RHD drive car on the left side of the road is pretty natural. I have spent some time in Australia and of course that’s the norm. You adapt pretty quickly as you sit right next to the median and controls fall to hand. More manual transmission vehicles there too than in the States it seems so that is a consideration, but again it’s just adjusting to shifting with the left hand rather than the right.
These are cool vehicles. I see them around here in Coastal Oregon off and on. I think they are great for utility purposes and as daily transportation.
There is a reason that LHD vehicles are driven on the right side of the road and vice versa. Terror can strike in many situations where the driver cannot see around vehicles in front of them. It’s possible to adapt. You have to drive defensively. Playing Speed Racer in your JDM Type R or your Skyline or Steve McQueen in your RHD XKSS replica (though a small batch of new ones is on its way) doesn’t have a real bright future here in the states driving on the right side of the road.