Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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.

If you like these junkyard posts, you can reach all 1600+ right here at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand!

Join the conversation
3 of 36 comments
  • Ryanwm80 Ryanwm80 on Dec 18, 2018

    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?

  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Jan 05, 2019

    I remember the commercial with the lady excitedly looking around inside then popping out of the sunroof and saying, “it’s a condominium!”

  • Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
  • Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
  • Brett Woods 2023 Corvette base model.
  • Paul Taka Hi, where can I find 1982 Honda prelude junkyards in 50 states
  • Poltergeist Make sure you order the optional Dungdai fire suppression system.