One thing I always hate to do is look at other variants of project cars I own. Whether it’s finding out I like a certain year better, or there were better options for an earlier or later model, it’s best not to spend too much time sweating the details. So while I do love my Toyota HiAce project dearly, this later model 4WD variant here on eBay could easily tempt my loyalty. Not only are they still useful for camping, but they have more go-anywhere functionality than my RWD van can offer.
The HiAce lived on in different forms after my model year, which was basically the second-generation of Toyota’s clever people-mover. Later versions like this one still relied on diesel power like mine but also moved towards becoming more user-friendly and accommodating for passengers. It’s a far cry from my HiAce, which was basically used as a workhorse for commercial purposes or small businesses like a courier service. This HiAce has luxuries like carpeting and a few power features! Then again, it’s more stuff to break.
This particular van was imported direct from Japan, and I’ve noticed a string of these 4WD HiAces coming in via a dealer in Pennsylvania. I’m not sure if this particular vehicle has been bought and resold once already or if it’s the same vendor, but PA must be an easy state to register JDM and other gray-market vehicles, as there’s also a dealer specializing in bringing in BMWs from the early to mid-1980s located there. Interior-wise, the HiAce is nothing special, but this one looks like it’s not entirely unfamiliar compared to any other Japanese vehicle sold in the US at the time.
Other unique features included on this later-model HiAce are captured here, such as the rear-facing HVAC controls and the huge dual sunroofs. Backseat passengers also got their own radio head unit as well, effectively paving the way for the dual-zone entertainment features so commonplace in modern minivans. This HiAce has just over 52,000 miles, which is a pittance for a diesel-equipped Toyota. All I can tell you is we fired mine up after God knows how many years of inactivity and my shop said it was one of the smoothest-idling diesels they’ve heard – so I at least have that going for me. Bidding is low at the moment, and there’s no reserve on the listing. Join me!