By on May 26, 2011


Sometimes I wonder how it’s even possible for some vehicles to slip through all the steps that should stop them from washing ashore on Crusher Island. Something as useful as a kei-sized dump truck, for example.

12″ wheels, gasoline engine, fits in tight spots yet carries a respectable load. The Mitsubishi Minicab is ungodly rare in North America, so it’s likely that all of the parts on this one will get melted down for scrap.

I’m tempted to get the electric hydraulic pump and ram from the bed for some as-yet-undreamed-up project, but I’ve already got 19 weird junkyard projects in line before this one.

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28 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Mitsubishi Minicab Dump Truck...”


  • avatar

    Holy crap. I wonder what problem caused the owner to get rid of that. I would love to have that as a daily driver!

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    Half of me says to rock that thing as the wickedest camper since the Westfalia, the other half wants to steal the dump mechanism for my Tacoma. Both halves would get a long fine if not for the third half that wants to leave the dump mechanism under the camper to get rid of unwanted guests…

    • 0 avatar
      Slow_Joe_Crow

      You were beaten to it, Romahome in the UK used to build class C motorhomes on the similar sized Suzuki Carry/Bedford Rascal chassis. Oddly Romahome now uses the Citroen equivalent of a Transit Connect for their builds.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I bestow my “seal of approval” upon the critter.

    http://tinyurl.com/3w9j4xj

  • avatar

    The Island of Catalina in California is lousy with these things. Golf carts and these mini trucks, often with 2 extra seats in the bed, are the most common form of transportation there.

    I would guess that this one was imported for off-road use only by a farmer or rancher and maybe got caught riving it on the street one too many times and had it impounded.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Been there. Seen them. True. They fit that environmeny perfectly. Up in Napa, CA, there are Tuk-Tuk-style vehicles in use around town! Somehow, they fit, too.

      Probably un-related, but somehow fits (tell me where!), in Hollywood, you see those cheap tourist conveyances which are nothing more than full-sized vans with the roofs cut off and a whole bunch of seats welded on to give tours! Personally, I’d never ride in one of them, but the double-decker buses are cool and we did ride on one of those!

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      My college had a fleet of these for landscaping, each marked with a “Not For Road Use” sticker. The grounds crew would drive them on the sidewalks or on-campus access roads but only on the street to cross from one part of campus to another.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      This one looks like it was donated to a charity it running condition by the stickers on the windshield.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Maybe the owner needed a flux capacitor, or johnson rod, or muffler bearings available only in Japan?

  • avatar
    Banger

    I sorely wish the feds would allow these things on our roads. They look ridiculously practical and they get ridiculously good fuel economy. And they’re probably ridiculously easy to maneuver around your property with loads of mulch, gravel, etc. I’ve called my Ranger a “motorized wheelbarrow” before, but these trucks would be even better at that job.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Let these on our roads? Ha! That would be ridiculous! …But I like how you think. Yes, I viewed my old Ranger as a “wheelbarrow” as well, and it performed admirably.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      And people scoff at the “deathtrap” smart?!?
      This thing is death trap, plain and simple.
      It may be useful, but it sure aint safe.

      • 0 avatar
        Banger

        So let me decide if I want to drive a deathtrap, then. You know, an old Chevy isn’t exactly a paragon of safety, either, (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joMK1WZjP7g if you haven’t already,) but you don’t see automotive enthusiasts condemning them as “deathtraps” that don’t deserve a place on American roads. I don’t get the double standard.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        So we have to take our general social cowardice and obsession with being ‘safe’ off road, too? I never asked for the government to nanny me into health and safety, and if anyone had asked, I’d have said that I’m perfectly capable of making my own decisions.

        I’m thoroughly sick of ‘safe’.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Actually, they are street-legal on most roads in most states. (Taking the literal meaning of “most,” as in … more do, than don’t.) Typically they’re limited to 45 MPH or sometimes 35 MPH streets, and the EPA requires that their gearboxes be permanently modified to prevent the use of higher gears (basically they weld in a blockoff plate in Japan).

      If you know people with access to auctions in Japan you can buy them for under $2000 all day long. We exported an ass-load of these to Africa a few years back. Of course, no telling what the tsunami did to the used-market supply… I haven’t bothered tracking it.

      But yeah — you can drive them on the roads more often than you’d think.

    • 0 avatar
      Smorticus

      I used to see these all over the roads and even on the interstate in south Mississippi when I lived there. These were very popular and our local Boneyard- Barry’s U-Pull-it (unbelievably cheap prices there) would have them frequently. I used to see a camo one of these with camo bass boat seats on pillars bolted to the bed and a rifle rest welded all the way the bed and over the cab. It was a 4wd drive model with little knobby tires. Totally road legal.

  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    you can have the bed, so I can put huge tires on and a slant six behind the cab for a mid-engine rock crawler.

    In my dreams.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    You’d think every guy with five acres or more could use one of these for keeping up the place. It’s a shame it ended up in the scrap yard – I’ll bet those wheels have never even been off it.

  • avatar

    These are in use in Canada not just for farm use but catering, landscaping, parts delivery etc and are perfectly road legal. They’re becoming quite popular up here, so much so the new car dealers are getting together to try and ban the import of RHD vehicles, in the name of safety of course, nothing to do with lost sales.
    I believe the US mandates they be restricted to off road use with a 25 MPH speed limit.

    • 0 avatar
      Banger

      That’s pretty much it, in a nutshell, T.W. Resellers have to install a shifter gate that prevents the trucks from being shifted beyond second gear, which is a de facto speed limiter of ~25 mph on most of these little trucks.

      I suspect as you do that most of the opposition is from automakers who are afraid we won’t feel the need to buy a full-size pickup truck for weekend runs to the dump, with safety being the convenient “reason” for their opposition to having these on our roads. I’d love to have one of these for most of my “truck” use and an efficient wagon or hatch like my wife’s Cube for daily driving duties.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        The opposition is from the EPA because none of these carry their blessings and apparently will rape and kill all the birds and flowers and bunnies at the first opportunity. Oh yeah, and piss in the lakes. Terrible business, these little trucks.

        Every year of every model of engine that you want to bring in requires an expensive, complicated “laboratory” certification — for each person or company who wants to sell that year/engine combo. It just isn’t worth the hassle for most companies.

        The transmission blockoff plate prevents shifting into higher gear and the EPA also has to certify the design of your blockoff plate. I’ve heard of people who get back in there with a plasma cutter and rectify the situation, but I’m sure this is just urban legend (cough).

    • 0 avatar
      MoppyMop

      I believe the US mandates they be restricted to off road use with a 25 MPH speed limit.

      Yep. Go to pretty much any large college campus and you will see a ton of these little guys running around.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    They’re all over South Dakota – the kei-car trucks that is. Most of them are plain pickups; there’s a few panel-trucks.

    I made some inquiries about buying one…seems that, the problem (in SD) is there are no dealers; a buyer has to deal with the manufacturer or importer; and has to take a certain quantity of them to get a sale.

    I don’t know how they’re handled at Customs. But, they’re registered as motorcycles in SD.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      There are quite a few dealers in the US, primarily up north. The guy at SuperMiniTrucks.com in Oklahoma has been around awhile and often has a lot of good inventory. There was another one in MI but I forget his name, he’s big, too. They aren’t hard to find with a few minutes in Google.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    jkl;adsiowrga;jlvlahpwe;hdASB$#!+$#!+$#!+$#!+$#!+. . . those are 4x100s. The search for affordable 12″ wheels for my Haflinger continues.


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