Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Van
When Chrysler had such a smash hit with the K-derived minivans of the 1980s, Toyota USA needed some kind of family hauler bigger than the Cressida, Camry, and Tercel wagons. The solution, from the perspective of the suits in Aichi, was obvious: Americanize the TownAce mid-engined van and ship it west ASAP!
Here’s an ’84 Toyota Van I found in a Charlotte, North Carolina, wrecking yard last month.
Toyota wanted to call it the Van Wagon in North America, but Volkswagen’s lawyers started swiveling their cannons in Toyota’s direction when the similarity to the Vanagon name was noted in Wolfsburg.
They love Car-Freshner Little Trees in Charlotte, maybe more than anywhere else. Black Ice is the most popular Little Tree in American junkyard cars, by the way.
I see plenty of these vans in wrecking yards, though I don’t photograph most of them. So far, I have documented this frighteningly rusty ’84, this art-car ’85, this ’86 van conversion, and this ’86 van conversion.
As you might expect, most of these vans have astronomical mileage figures by the time they retire. Their successor, the Previa, was similar in this way.
Looks like it has been around the dealership block a few times.
There’s some body-filler-and-paint (or maybe that’s roofing cement) rust repair, which probably works better in North Carolina than it would in, say, Illinois.
The Japanese-market ads for this van are far superior to the American ones, so that’s what I’m sharing here.
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It looks like this even had the ice maker - I can't imagine it was effective - did anyone ever try to make ice cubes? And does anyone own of these, or was this the last one to exist?
I remember the commercial with the lady excitedly looking around inside then popping out of the sunroof and saying, “it’s a condominium!”