Curbside Outtake: Early 1990’s Starcraft Starquest Ford E-Series Recreational Van – A Long Way From Home

As I’ve mentioned before, taking a stroll on a Sunday afternoon through our suburban Tokyo neighborhood always turns up something interesting.  Last weekend was no exception – sitting back in the weeds near an older apartment complex was this early 90’s Starcraft Starquest conversion van on a Ford E-series chassis.  I had to shake my head a few times – I thought I was back in my old neck of the woods of central Ohio…

Starcraft made quite a few of these vans from 1977 to 2001, and at least one made it across the Pacific.

The company is no longer in the recreational van business but does assemble shuttle buses using the current Ford Transit chassis.

Couldn’t look inside or under the hood, but it’s likely to have the superb Ford 460 cu in V8 – a great engine whether in an F-250 or a Continental; smooth, torquey, OK, maybe just a little thirsty.  The Triton 6.8L V-10 replaced it in 1997 – not a bad run, almost 30 years.

One has to wonder, what is the allure of an out-sized, gas guzzling, fake-wood paneled American van to the average Japanese consumer when there is no shortage of economical Japanese conversion vans.  Toyota’s HiAce makes for a very nice one – either recreational or small camper.  It comes with a thrifty 3.0L 4 cylinder turbo diesel and is right-sized for Japan’s small streets.

If I had run across the owner I would have tried to diplomatically ask the question – but its unlikely I’ll have the chance – this one had an abandoned vehicle notice on the windshield – 30 days to move it or the local constabulary will haul it away.

Being a teenager in the ’70’s, I’m familiar with these van’s reputation as “Dens of Iniquity”.  I never had one, nor any of my friends, so don’t know if it’s true, but I can’t help thinking, what if GoPro cameras had been invented in the 1970’s…