There are quite a few G-Wagens around Japan. Why should it be any different here? Those things are everywhere, be they in full Russian mafia-style black or well-worn ex-army green, you’re guaranteed to run into those boxy Benzes in virtually any country. But they’re expensive. Luckily, the Daihatsu Midget II is not.
So here’s what you do, if you’re in the land of kei cars: find a 1996-2002 Midget II van, paint it black, tint the windows, add a touch of bling and a Mercedes star on the front – and voilà! Instant classic. Instead of wasting money on an imported gas-hog, you’ve taken the G-Wagen’s best attributes and put them on your trusty JDM microvan.
There are many other benefits. Instead of having a thirsty and cumbersome 4×4 that will attract undue attention from the local constabulary, you are riding in a thrifty go-cart that can park anywhere. Maybe you’ll say that the Midget II’s tiny mid-mounted 3-cyl. engine is too weak to haul hundreds of kilos of stuff. But who hauls anything in a G-Wagen?
With the money you save by using the Midget II, you can one day hope to put a down payment on an actual G-Wagen. If you start now, you might get there in a couple decades. Don’t worry, the G will still be around, though it will have gone full EV by then, probably. If not, maybe Daihatsu will have designed a 3rd generation Midget. So you buy one of those, paint it black, tint the windows, put some bling on it…
Curbside Classic: Daihatsu Midget II, by David Saunders