Must Not Look: 1991 Toyota HiAce 4WD

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!


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  1. Don

    Kind of cool😎

  2. PaulG

    Whoa…I found my new favorite eBay seller.
    Although I prefer the Delica vans he has on his page, this Toyota is super cool.
    Bet on it bringing close to 15K

  3. Perry has a couple and pile of Delicas. I love my Delica. Diesel, 5spd, manual is an amazing vehicle.

    • PaulG

      Perry, Thanks for that link, and a Delica and a Pajero Evolution have been on my list for years.
      BTW, my wife is from Christiansburg…

    • Chebby

      Wow, their prices on classic cars are eye-watering.

  4. Coventrycat

    Cool. But you’d think they’d scrub the blue off the tire letters before taking pictures.

  5. Cubs win

    I wonder if these are tsunami cars. Look at the mud/water mark in the side door track. Maybe these were the vehicles the ones floating around in all those Fukishima videos and now they are pawning them off here.

    • audifan

      Wow, that’s one of the most ridiculous and unfounded comments on here in a long time. It’s not funny either.
      If you did a little research, you might have found out that Japanese authorities check vehicles for radiation before they can enter the port to be shipped out.

      • Cubs win

        Yeah and I’m sure that’s 100% accurate.

    • Kmoe

      Cubs win,
      Radiation is easy to detect. The devices used to do so are highly accurate and have to be cerified regularly.

      • Cubs win

        I didn’t say anything about radiation.

  6. Ethan

    I’ve been eyeing the delicas for a while now. So much more affordable than the VW synchros (and a lot cheaper) plus the turbo diesel. I just wonder what the maine winters would do to the metal.

  7. Gerry Member

    Hi Ace’s are still very pricey here and hardly ever found in junkyards most are run to over 300K km and then some low mileage ones like this are go in the $15k plus range.
    Not mud that’s the often over used spray grease that you’ll find in all sliding door tracks here in Japan,
    None of the tsunami cars would have made it on the market and were not even allowed to be sold for parts (not to mention that not all of the area hit by the tsunami were close enough to Fukushima to get any radiation exposure)
    My friends C2 corvette was swept away and was crushed along with all of the other cars recovered to this day he is fighting the insurance company to recover something of its value.

  8. Doug

    Hi, I bought this van :) It is being shipped to me in California as I type this. Fingers crossed!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the update Doug! Let us know how it goes.

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