Little Big Box! 1980 Suzuki Kei Class Van

I must have just beaten Scotty to writing this one up, so I’ll try to do it justice! This tiny little big box (you’ll understand in a minute) has been recently imported from Japan. It’s waiting for you in Seattle, Washington and is listed for sale here on eBay. There’s a buy it now price of $5,000 but the sellers are entertaining lower offers. And it’s got a Turbo!

Japanese “Kei” class vehicles are limited to 660 cc engines, so naturally they need to be small to retain adequate performance. As it turns out, with a turbo and a screaming little three cylinder engine, this little box is capable of cruising at 65 miles per hour and will get over 40 miles per gallon doing it. A five-speed transmission makes it as fun to drive as possible!

Now here’s what I was talking about: this van may be small on the outside, but has an unbelievable amount of space efficiency. Look at how much room there is! It looks to be in awfully nice shape for over 100,000 kilometers of use (that’s about 62,500 miles for the non-metric system folks).

As you can see, you’ll have a little bit of repair to do. This is the passenger side door lock that’s apparently been missing for a while. Since I can’t see this doing over 200 miles per hour, I can only assume that NASCAR-style duct tape was not used for the appropriate temporary repair. The seller also tells us that there’s a loose piece of trim as well.

What a nice looking interior! Yes, you’ll have to get used to driving on the right, but it does have air conditioning for your comfort. And if you are wondering, it is legal, so far, although some paperwork has to be finished. So what do you think? How do you like this little big box? Would it look good wrapped under your Christmas tree?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    I love kei-cars! Well, not this one, which strikes me more as excessively tiny than bizarre….

    If you have a yen for the 660cc Japanese oddities, I’d suggest looking further and hunting up, say, a Mitsubishi Dangan or Toppo, Suzuki Cappucino or gull-wing-doored Autozam (Mazda) AZ-1. Or a Honda Beat. All excel at providing maximum Strangeness-Per-Mile (well, the Beat doesn’t, but it’s a real, albeit minuscule, Sports Car).

    I particularly loved the Autozam, which was like driving a shrunken Porsche 917. There’s nothing like having a turbo wastegate doing its thing inches from your ear! And the AZ-1 was quick enough to make freeway use possible. Except, that is, that people kept staring, and thus didn’t concentrate on their own driving…..

    Seriously, I’d check this one out VERY carefully if it grabs you. The messed-up passenger-side door lock makes me wonder if the little thing failed the rigorous tests all Japanese cars must endure after a few years, and was shipped out to avoid the crusher. Photos posed in front of shipping containers make me think it’s right off the docks, too, and might pose registration problems in many states.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Ray, you’d think these would be a hit, even though, it looks like half a loaf of bread. The problem is, many of these vehicles don’t conform to US standards, and here’s the list of states with limitations. Someday, this will be a hit, or vehicles like this, but for now, the SUV is still king ( with 4×4, 4 door pickups close behind).
      http://www.tfltruck.com/2014/08/heres-the-skinny-on-mini-truck-legalities-in-each-state/

      • RayT Member

        Howard, when I was very, very young I expected to see King Midgets and electric Shopperettes flooding the roads, too!

        The things I find least tempting about this Suzuki is what appears to be an atrociously high center of gravity. Add the short wheelbase and li’l bitty wheels, and I don’t know which would be scarier: going ’round a corner or being hit by a crosswind!

        When I first drove a kei car — in Japan — I was all set to try to sneak one into this country. It would, after all, exceed the U.S. speed limits of the day, was fun, practical for city use, and a fuel-sipper. After a while, I realized that I was thinking of it as a toy, and ignoring the practicalities of driving in the U.S. If I had three or more cars for Real-Life Driving, I might succumb to the urge, even now.

  2. sir mike

    Oh God send it back quick please….

  3. Leo

    Not road legal in the US

    Leo

  4. Lumpy

    Parkades and drive thru’s would certainly be an issue….let alone trying to pass someone.

  5. Scotty Staff

    That’s a nice find, Jamie! I love these little vans, they’re the perfect size for me, even though I think I’m taller than this one is!

  6. Jeffro

    It would be great to drive this. On flip side though, I’ve had Hot Wheels that are bigger than this.

  7. boxdin

    Tiny inside, not enough room for American sized peoplel

  8. gene

    No U.S. title, and getting one might turn into a huge pain.

  9. Paul R

    Park it where you want and leave the keys in it, It won’t get stolen.. Ever! LOL!

  10. Van

    It would be great for delivering pizza. But an extra large pizza might be to big.

  11. Bruce

    Looks like the seller put two different years in the eBay auction. It is also identified as a 1990. So, being more than 25 years old, it is completely legal to register and drive in all states except CA (due to smog testing), just like any other car 25+ years old.
    Only “illegal” and unable to be registered if it is one of the kei cars coming into the country younger than 25 years and imported for use off road only.

  12. Randall

    Tiny little car with tiny little wheels for tiny little people. I could get this for my 5 year old grandkid to play with out in the back yard.

  13. CarNut from Winnipeg Member

    Better to go next size up for Japanese vans. Mitsubishi Delica is the one I want someday. 4×4, turbo diesel…

  14. John vreeland

    Ok, this for the “Lost in Space ” TV fans, yeah you two! Anyway, if you are one of the two, you will rember their “transporter” that I swear was this vehicle type left to the prop custom guys. Do you remember the “transporter” being attacked by some alien…..which was in fact an auto car wash of the time period? Like to hear from the two fans out there, way out there!

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