CC Outtake: Late 60s/Early 70s Mazda Porter Van – “May I Take Your Luggage, Sir”


I really enjoyed Paul’s article last April on his “once in a lifetime” drive of a Subaru 360 minicar.  It spurred me to take a few snaps and scribe a few words on this lonely, little blue “kei jidosha” that sits in a parking lot in an industrial area on our regular Sunday walk-route here on the outskirts of western Tokyo – it’s a late 60’s or early 70’s Mazda Porter Van.IMGP2356

The Porter was Mazda’s entry in the popular minicar class in Japan.  It was built from 1968 to 1976.  For a great overview of kei cars from the 1970s, including some contemporaries of the Porter, see contributor GN’s superb post here.


Initial engine was a 358 cc four cylinder, four stroke unit that put out a mighty 20 horsepower.  Later, in 1973, a 359 cc two-stroke upped that figure to 35 hp.


The Porter came in two body styles; a small pickup and a station wagon (called a van).


The Porter name was also used for a small forward control pickup called a Porter Cab.


The interior of this one isn’t in too bad of shape – perhaps there are some spare parts in the box…


Like the Subaru 360, this is a very tiny car – on the right is a second-gen Prius, not a big car by any means but it looks like a Ford Excursion next to the Porter.


It’s sat in this same spot for at least the past ten years, so either it has a loyal owner who is just waiting for the right time to restore it or it’s been abandoned and is living on borrowed time.  It appears someone is at least regularly wiping down the exterior as it doesn’t have a build-up of dust and grime.  Can’t figure out why the owner just doesn’t throw a car cover on it – just take a bicycle cover and stretch it a little…


I’m still hoping the owner has plans to give it a little TLC and get it back on the road – perhaps some Sunday we’ll walk by and find it looking like this…