The Last CC Of Its Kind Still On The Streets: 1988 Mitsubishi Van (Delica)

The title “Last CC Of Its Kind Still On The Streets” is a new CC series I’m starting to document the sole survivors of their genre here in Eugene. I’m starting to notice that more and more cars that were once ubiquitous on the streets here are quickly disappearing. So I’m going to document them while I still can.

The first one up is this Mitsubishi Van, which inspired the series. It was officially imported to the US for a few years (MY ’88-’91, if I’m right), as well  These were very modest sellers, and rarities on the street even in their time. And although there were a couple still out and about here a few years back, it’s been a couple of of years since I’ve seen one. Meanwhile, there are more and more Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Delica vans of this generation showing up here, but they’re quite different in almost every way, so they don’t quite qualify in the same way as the originals.

This is the kind of Delica that’s coming in to replace the lowly Mitsubishi Van (sorry about the fuzzy focus). We’ll take a closer look at it soon. But let’s just say that with its turbo diesel engine, 4×4 drive, and a lot of other accoutrements from the Japanese off-road (but never off-roaded) van fad days, exept for the basic boxy body, these are in a different league altogether.

I’m pretty sure that these US-bound Vans all came with the automatic, which was hooked up to the classic 2.4 L Mitsubishi 4G64 four. The engine sat between the seats, of course, and it churned out some 107 hp. More than enough for the job.

There used to be this home-brewed “Van-Up” version in town, but it’s long gone, along with the others. Kind of practical, actually.

Mitsubishi, Toyota and Nissan all jumped into the minivan market in the late 80s after the explosive success of the Chrysler minivans. Obviously, they had to adapt their old-school vans for the job, which in the case of the Nissan (above), didn’t work out too well. Severe issues with engine compartment overheating led to fires, and Nissan had to buy back all of them. A few apparently escaped the buy-back and resulting crusher; this one was one of my best early finds. Never seen another again.

Unlike the Nissan, the Mitsubishi Van and the Toyota Vans quickly developed reps for being essentially indestructible, which explains why there’s still so many of the Toyota versions around. The Toyotas sold quite well too, especially so on the West Coast. My tribute to the Toyotas, the offical vans of Eugene, is here.

This Mitsubishi looks like it’s had a pretty full life. I suspect it’s not long for this one anymore. But who knows; I might see it again five years from now.

“The Last CC Its Kind Still On The Road” series has officially started. That’s the cue for another Mitsubishi Van to pop up.


William Stopford’s Full History on the Misubishi Delica/Express/van is here