Here’s one of the coolest vehicles you might’ve forgotten about. It’s a 1986 Toyota Van.
Sold in the U.S. for the 1984-1989 model years, Toyota‘s Van is somewhat of a forgotten relic of 1980s Japanese car design. Referred to as the Vanwagon in early marketing materials, Toyota was forced to change the name to the eponymous Toyota Van in response to a lawsuit from Volkswagen, which presumably took issue with Toyota using a name so similar to its own Vanagon. In the U.K., on the other hand, the Van was sold as the Space Cruiser (alongside the Land Cruiser), and in its home market in Japan, it was sold as the Toyota Master Ace Custom Super Surf. Can’t make this stuff up!
Here in the U.S., there were three trim levels: CRG, aka the Cargo Van, and LE and DLXaka, the Limited and Deluxe editions — both of which were passenger models and were referred to as the Wonderwagon in Toyota advertising.
Both body styles were available with 4-wheel drive from 1987-1989. Third-party upfitters got their hands on a lot of Toyota Vans as well and are responsible for designs with pop-tops and unique window layouts — no doubt devised to compete with the VW Vanagon Westfalia camper.
The one for sale here — one of just two listed on Autotrader — is a 1986 model with 160,000 miles on the odometer. Looking at the windows, it appears that it might have started life as a passenger van and has since had its rear seats removed, turning the rear into a large cargo area. According to the description, it’s offered with some camping gear, including a two-burner propane stove and refrigerator. Located in Southeastern Ohio, it uses a 5-speed manual transmission and has an asking price of $8,800, making it one of the more expensive Toyota vans out there. Find a Toyota Van for sale
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