Toyota LiteAce 4x4: Far East meets Wild West

This retro Japanese passenger van is actually an off-road tool for the modern day cowboy

The Toyota LiteAce was a cult passenger van, which became a huge hit in America for families carrying a large number of their children around with them in the 1980s and ‘90s. Yota Imports, a Phoenix-based importer and restorer of classic Japanese domestic market machines, is selling a 1991 LiteAce Wagon 4x4, which for better use of words looks like the automotive equivalent of a space hopper.

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This rare vehicle follows a trend of Japanese minivans being customised and painted to create an illusion of an alternative history where every off-roader and sportscar was in fact a passenger van from Japan. This 116,000km model follows that alternative retro styling to a tee, with a colour scheme that is a homage to Sony’s old Dynamicron L-500 and L-750 video cassette tapes. Sadly there isn’t a cassette player on board.

The ride height has been raised significantly to necessitate the larger wheels and massive tyres, and of course the fact that power goes through both the front and rear axles. When your foot’s on the throttle, the power will be coming from a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine, meaning this will be a rare sight and smell, even if you’re taking your Toyota passenger van into the depths of the Wild West.

Falken Tire, the provider of the massive pieces of rubber that separate the car from the road, have promoted the vehicle in a typically dusty and desolate Wild West setting in a video on Facebook, which can be seen here.

The car has a five-speed manual gearbox, lights, air conditioning and ceiling windows for every one of the passengers (whose idea in the automotive world was it to get rid of that last one, honestly), a spare wheel, beefed up suspension so you can cross the rough terrain while being chased by men on horseback, folding seats, a tunable radio and a cigarette lighter.

Yota’s asking price is $20,000 (£15,500, €17,750), and that’s perfectly affordable for a car that is a combination of Clint Eastwood, Hayao Miyazaki and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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