Curbside Outtake: 1973 – 80 Nissan Caravan (E20) – The Box the Toaster Came In

This mid-1970s Nissan Caravan has been roaming our suburban Tokyo neighborhood for several years. The owner had parked it in different locations but appears to have decided it’s a keeper and it has now established residence in a rented spot in a nearby parking lot.

Lots of nice patina here – this van has evidently lived a full life. The white wall tires are brand new and a nice period touch. Perhaps the owner is starting his restoration from the bottom up.

These 60s-70s-80s Japanese forward-control vans were built to be functional, as most were marketed to merchants and tradesmen. You can’t get much more boxy than this but it certainly optimizes interior space.

Configured for passenger duty, as this one is, it could carry ten. Four engines were offered: 1.6, 1.8. and 2.0 liter gas, and a 2.2 liter diesel, all four cylinders.  I couldn’t snap any interior pictures but one article says these have a 5 speed manual transmission with a floor shifter that measures 80 cm – some 2.6 feet. It was not known for precise shifting…

I’m hoping the owner is just making it drivable and leaves the exterior as-is.

Fun Fact: The Caravan was sold through Nissan’s Bluebird dealerships; an identical model called the “Homy” was sold by Nissan’s Prince stores. In Australia and New Zealand these models were known as the “Urvan.”