Family Hauler Survivor: 1986 Toyota Van

Andrew TannerBy Andrew Tanner

When I was a kid in the late 1990s/early 2000s, it seemed like these old Toyota vans were everywhere. A neighbor of mine had one sitting in his backyard for most of my childhood, and I always thought it was the coolest looking little van. Compared to the typical minivans of the day, this boxy old Toyota stood out in the crowd, at least to me. Of course the one offered here on eBay is much nicer than the one I remember from my childhood, because that one had moss growing on it, and this one has what appears to be a babied 45,000 original miles on it. With the prices of 1980s Japanese vehicles rising every day, $7,500 for an immaculate survivor doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me, and if I had the need for a van I might be on my way to Tennessee to check it out!

Everything about this van has funky 1980s Toyota written all over it. The angular design on the wheels and the boxy taillights coupled with the trapezoidal body create a look that can only be described as retro-futuristic. This Toyota is a leftover from a simpler time of imported vehicles, when sometimes vehicles made it to the US market directly from the Japanese Domestic Market, with minor changes. This van would look right at home on the streets of Japan just as well as parked in front of a grocery store in urban 1990s United States.

The seller, who appears to be the third owner of this van, states that this is the third Toyota Van he has owned and that it is in the best condition he has ever seen. Based on the condition of the interior alone, I do not doubt that statement. The seller has an AutoCheck report that verifies the number of owners and the 45,000 mileage claim, though this van is so nice cosmetically I don’t think I would need to see it to be convinced.

Perhaps two of the coolest features on this van are the headlight configuration and the rear moonroof. The plentiful rectangles on the nose give this van a very symmetrical look, as well as a very 1980s vibe. The rear moonroof is my personal favorite feature, as it is automatic and slides back opening the majority of the passenger compartment to the sky. The seller states that this feature is very functional, and very cool. If I were in the market for a family hauler right now, this Toyota Van would definitely be on my list. I would almost feel bad putting miles on it! Would you drive it, or preserve it as it is?

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  1. Mike

    Don’t forget about the mini refrigerator on the passenger side floor.

  2. jdjonesdr

    I’ve used these for years as messenger vans. Great little trucks.

  3. Glenn

    The engine is very hard to access from above or below the van. Shop repairs can be expensive on this model.

  4. gene

    Great van , until you have to do engine work. Than you will quickly appreciate
    Toyota engineering .
    In the past , most shops would refuse to get involved with engine repair on these.
    My shop was one of them.

    • Ken Carney

      Same here in Florida. Once these vans developed engine issues,
      the next stop was always the crusher.

  5. MrB

    Not sure why you’re so worried about engine problems. It’s an 80s Toyota, maintenance was surprisingly a snap as they provided access all over the place for virtually every maintenance item, and the little 4 banger was tough as nails. 140k repair-free miles on my 84 and if that ain’t good enough, you’re dreaming.

  6. Paul R.

    Almost as ugly as a Pontiac Aztec!

  7. Steve

    I used to bang it out with a coworker in one of these in the early ’90. Same year, same color, OMG if this is from Orlando it might have my DNA all over it…………lol

  8. Dave

    Indeed, engine access is horrible on these boxes.

  9. Tim W

    one of my all time favorite vehicles. The engine problem wasn’t so bad. I once swapped a water pump in a parking lot at work. Mine ran and ran, had 235k on it when I donated it, and I got rid of it because the body was starting to rust through. If I needed a van I would jump at this.

  10. 68 custom

    the only other Toyota vehicle that used this motor was a forklift making it hard to find engine parts, not to mention the lack of access to the engine compartment.


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