Surf’s up, JNCers! Since today’s installment of our 2011 New Year Meeting coverage coincides with Valentine’s Day, let’s take a look at some of the vehicles with a little more volume in the back. You know, something that Ken and Mary might choose to retire to after a long day of frolicking in the fields.
We saw plenty of tentoumushi in Part 04, but they weren’t Subaru 360 Customs. In 1960s Subie parlance, “Custom” means “wagon.” It makes more sense when you consider what Fuji Heavy Industries expected first-time car owners to do with their kei jidosha — go surfing. The 360 Young SS (seen in the lead photo) actually had an indentation in its otherwise dome-like roof for the purposes of board hauling. It just looks a bit funny when the board is about twice as long as the entire car.
Much of the wagon action this year came in the form of kei cars and compacts. Among the plethora of Mitsubishis lurked a few Minica Vans. You can tell it’s a kei when the fender mirrors are practically sitting on the headlights.
Hey, if the wagons still don’t have enough cargo space for ya, there’s always one-box vans. You can still see kei vans by the hundreds swarming around Tokyo today, but few have the style of the Subaru Sambar 360,
If you thought this was a Toyota Liteace, take a closer look at the badge. It’s a Daihatsu Delta Wide, in awesome 70s brown and groovy stripe-age. Of course, ToMoCo owns Daihatsu, so this actually is a rebadged Liteace, but that headlight trim is Kool Moe Dee.
And if one-box vans aren’t big enough, there’s always the wide open bed of a pickup. This is a pickup version of the Honda StepVan, which did indeed come from the factory in this configuration, although the two-tone paint, bizarre wheels and custom trailer did not.
Like with the Datsuns above, chopping it in half and adding a bed was a Japanese pastime as common as dipping sushi in shoyu. The Mazdafarians did it with the Familia, among others, but the resulting Mazda Familia Pickup is a rare one indeed.
[Photos by Jason Kusagaya]