Engine fires are a matter for the courts! Toaster vans existed in North America at some point, and to be honest so few noticed. Victoria is littered with old Toyota Vans. Maybe that was the problem; names. The Toyota Van was literally the name they were sold under, Van was uncreative but a utilitarian approach the Japanese companies took to tell North Americans they were making mini-vans long before the Caravan....wait, there's more?
The fact is Toyota was not alone on this venture into cheap people movers, or...many loaves of bread. The Mitsubishi Delica is the most commonly imported vehicle in Canada, or at least Western Canada. Roads littered with diesel space wagons running a muck with cargo loads of latte soaked geo-hipsters. The thing is, we already had them. I present to you the Mitsubishi Wagon:
Yet another terribly named vehicle. The Mitsubishi Wagon/Van was a LHD version of the Delica. Apparently a Chinese built version was sold in Mexico as the Dodge 1000. Why looky, there's one now!
Slowly we work to the more interestingly named. I apologize, this next photo is the only one I can muster up, it was given to me by a friend Via Facebook. Dylan managed to find a Nissan Vanette in a Junkyard. Although slightly more interestingly named than the rest to this point, the Vanette had the potential to take on those darn reliable Toyotas, had the Vanette been reliable. The Z24 motor was so cramped inside the Nissan shell that engine fire problems endlessly plagued owners enough to sue Nissan, and ultimately each and every one was recalled and destroyed. No wonder you never heard of them. Update: Original USDM sales Ad!
Last but almost completely unheard of is the Kia Besta. James and I found this little guy in Hamilton long long ago. A port of the Mazda Bongo, also sold as a Ford in some other markets, the Kia Besta was part of the introduction of the Kia brand to North America. Larger than the rest the Besta never took off, yet I know mini truck lovers across North America would drool over one now, knowing they were just a rebodied chassis of the Mazda B2200.
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Spoke to the owner of the bongo. They said a dealer purchased 3 for a special order for some new immigrant something or other or soemthing like that(they couldnt remember) and they flaked and left the deposits behind, dealer was stuck with them, sat for 2 yrs unsold until ^above purchased it for "cant recall, but extremely below what they cost) as if i should of been jealous. Remember seeing it since i was a little kid, as i live up the street.
Interesting car. That Vanette has been there for 2 yrs. They took the engine out and the rear diff and probably mistakenly shipped it to africa with a bunch of parts(they do lots of shipping) I think the insurance slip was still in the glovebox, id love to give the old owner a car and hear the story.