Junkyard Find: 1994 Toyota Previa LE With 376,407 Miles

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1994 toyota previa le with 376 407 miles

Ever since the 1998 model year, Toyota has sold a big, American-style minivan with the engine in the front and cupholders throughout the interior. Prior to that, though, American Toyota shoppers looking for a new van had to take an innovative mid-engined machine designed entirely with the Japanese home market in mind: First the TownAce (known as the Van here) and then the Estima (known as the Previa here). The Previa was too small and too underpowered to compete head-to-head with Detroit minivans, but those who bought them found that they lasted for decade after decade. Here’s one in a Denver-area yard that got pretty close to the magical 400,000-mile mark.

I see plenty of Previas during my junkyard travels, though I concentrate on the rare All-Trac versions for this series. 376k miles is impressive, though, and so I deemed this van worthy of documenting. Sure, it’s no 413k-mile Tercel 4WD, but then what is?

It appears that this Previa was working as an electrician’s van during its final days on the road, and so it’s full of wire nuts, screws, conduit hardware, and so on.

It’s a plain old front-wheel-drive van with automatic transmission, but at least it still has a supercharger and mid-mounted engine (a 158-horse, 2.4-liter straight-four laying down sideways under the front seats, with the blower and other accessories located far forward and powered by a long shaft from the engine).

I added this knitted cross to my collection of religious mirror-hangers on display in my garage.

You’ll find one in every car. You’ll see.

For links to more than 2,100 additional Junkyard Finds, please visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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2 of 39 comments
  • Dmulyadi Dmulyadi on Dec 13, 2021

    I thought they are either Rear wheel drive or AWD only not front wheel drive? can someone confirm with me?

  • Zackman Zackman on Dec 14, 2021

    The Previa was always highly regarded, but I never liked them - probably the design put me off - or - I was still against buying foreign cars at the time. Learned my lesson after being burned repeatedly by Chrysler garbage! I wonder if Toyota vehicles are still as reliable as they used to be. Seems like Toyota is trying to out-GM GM, which is not necessarily a good thing. Having never owned a Toyota, I wouldn't know, but we do own a Honda CR-V (Wifey's car).

  • Tassos Government cheese for millionaires, while idiot Joe biden adds trillions to the debt.What a country (IT ONCE WAS!)
  • Tassos screw the fat cat incompetents. Let them rot. No deal.
  • MaintenanceCosts I think if there's one thing we can be sure of given Toyota's recent decisions it's that the strongest version of the next Camry will be a hybrid. Sadly, the buttery V6 is toast.A Camry with the Highlander/Sienna PSD powertrain would be basically competitive in the sedan market, with the slow death of V6 and big-turbo options. But for whatever reason it seems like that powertrain is capacity challenged. Not sure why, as there's nothing exotic in it.A Camry with the Hybrid Max powertrain would be bonkers, easily the fastest thing in segment. It would likewise be easy to build; again, there's nothing exotic in the Hybrid Max powertrain. (And Hybrid Max products don't seem to be all that constrained, so far.)
  • Analoggrotto The readers of TTAC deserve better than a bunch of Kia shills posing as journalists.
  • Lou_BC How do they work covered in snow, ice, mud, dust and water? Vibration?