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Mileage: 123,500 km (76,739 Miles)
Engine: 4D56 Turbo Diesel 4-Cylinder
Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic Transmission with Overdrive
Exterior color: Dark Grey / Black
Interior: Grey Cloth
Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) 25-Year Import Exemption
Altimeter & Inclinometer
180-Degree Swivel Rear Captain Chairs (Forward or Club Seating Configuration)
Rear Climate Controls
Remote Lift Gate Door Lock
The Mitsubishi Delica is the one of the coolest, most capable, unique, and simply the best 4x4 van for the buck period. These awesome little vans are finally legal in the United States thanks to the 25-year import exemption rule—and they were worth the wait! They offer Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro coolness combined with Japanese reliability and turbo diesel power. The third generation Delica, known as the Delica Star Wagon, was derived from the Toyota Land Cruiser-like Mitsubishi Pajero SUV, but adapted to van form. The Exceed trim package is well spec’d with projector headlights, altimeter and inclinometer gauges, front and rear bull bars, side and rear steps, power windows, air conditioning with rear controls, seven passenger seating, and enough mirrors to shoe-horn it through the crowded streets of Tokyo with ease. The 4D56 four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is one of Mitsubishi’s most reliable power plants, producing a buttery 145 foot pounds of torque and respectable gas mileage of around 20 mpg. The tall ride height and short overhangs give it legitimate 4x4 capability. An efficient boxy design allows significant interior room, while keeping the overall size in check (it is smaller than a Tacoma). Large windows allow excellent visibility for driver and passengers, the rear being aided by a panoramic sunroof. These vans have a cult following worldwide and Canada has been importing them for the last decade thanks to a 15-year import exemption rule. Parts and repair guidance can be sourced through Internet suppliers north of the border and online forums. The Delica fits the Colorado outdoor lifestyle perfectly, making a great rig for camping, cycling, rock climbing, skiing, or just hauling 7 adults in comfort and style. Life is too short for boring cars!
Mitsubishi Delicas are one of our niche vehicles at Glen Shelly Auto Brokers. We have imported several through the 25-year import exemption rule. This 1991 Delica Exceed has only 123,500 kilometers (76,739 miles); low mileage is common for Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars. It has been legally converted to U.S. spec with a State of Colorado assigned VIN number, digital mile per hour speedometer, and a clean Colorado title. All original emissions equipment is intact and we pay for and ensure that it passes emissions in Colorado. The tall seating position and large greenhouse provide excellent visibility. The visibility and lots of mirrors make it a very easy to drive—even from the right seat. I wouldn’t say its fast, but it has a noticeable torque improvement over a Vanagon (I have a 1991 Vanagon Carat). Everywhere it goes the Delica gets thumbs up, smiles, and lots of attention. If you really want to blow people’s mind, you can put your dog in the left front seat and act like you are along for the ride!
The paint and finish of this Delica are very good for a 25-year old vehicle. The grey and blue two-tone paint under white bull bars and trim are an eye-catching combination. There are a few areas of opague clear coat, the worst being on the front panel and roof. There is a dent on the right hand side, forward of the rear wheel that looks like someone may have grazed sign pole at some point. From what I can tell, it has been pulled, but not filled. Importantly, there is no rust; the undercarriage is clean and corrosion-free. The windshield and side glass have no cracks or chips. There are large review mirrors in addition to front and rear parking mirrors. The left side mirror glass is cracked, but still usable. All trim is intact, as are the factory mud flaps. The projector headlights are excellent, as are the marker and indicator lenses. Fifteen-inch white wheels match the bull bars and are straight with no bends. They are shod with Yokohama Geolander H/T-S all season tires.
The interior condition is consistent with the exterior. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet is in good shape, with no rips or tears. The seats are very good shape with no tears or failed stitching. A large center console has cup holders in the lid. Rear captain chairs are mounted on sliders and rotate 180-degrees to face forward or rearward. They fold flat, along with the rear bench seat to form two narrow beds. Either can be un-bolted if you want to build out your own bed or cabinets. The rear heat, fan, vents, and air conditioning controls work, as does the front rear blower master switch. The sunroof and large rear windows provide lots of light, which can be blacked out by rear curtains and the sunroof shade if desired. Power windows and the rear lift gate lock work. The sunroof does not open, but the switch and motor work (I suspect bad tracks). It is closed and does not leak. The heat blows warm and the air condition blows cold (front and rear). There is no stereo (JDM stereos operate on different frequency bands), but a large double din slot will accommodate the head unit of your choice and/or more storage. The only glaring interior imperfections are a few small stains on the rear carpet, a dark line on the front passenger seat, and the some separated fabric on the sunroof shade.
Japanese vehicles from the 1990’s are some of the most reliable vehicles of all time. They are the perfect sweet spot of mechanical evolution, but lack the over-complication of modern vehicles. Diesel engines are wonderfully simple and able to endure significant abuse. Delica is a simple vehicle mechanically that can be serviced by any competent diesel mechanic. We have put several hundred miles on this example and true to form it runs great. The 4D56 engine idles smoothly and pulls strong. The glow plug controller was bad when we got it, so we bi-passed it with a manual “Wilson” switch. It only requires activation on the first start of the day, which will result in a little smoke. The transmission shifts smoothly and the four-wheel drive engages on command. Automatic hubs make shifting into and out of four-wheel drive easy. The suspension is compliant and very comfortable on poor roads, even with heavy-duty rear springs—not tooth jarring ride of a Sports Mobile. The brakes are firm, but do have light pulsing when hot. Machining the front rotors would improve this. New rotors can be sourced from the link provided in the FAQs below. Overall it in great shape, but this is a 25-year old vehicle and will need continued care.
Right Hand Drive / JDM Imported Vehicle FAQs
Right Hand Drive: Driving a right hand drive vehicle is as easy a left hand drive—don’t be intimidated by it. The Delica is one of the easiest right hand drive vehicles to drive thanks to excellent visibility and ample mirrors. I teach performance driving and would be happy to give any necessary instruction required to develop confidence driving from the right seat.
25-Year Rule Import: Owning a 25-year rule imported vehicle is legal according to Federal regulations, as long as it passes emissions. The only states that have extra requirements are California and Hawaii. California requires 1975 and later vehicles to be CARB legal, which the Delica is not. You would need to have it independently tested ($1500 per test at most labs) and CARB compliant in order to get it CARB certified. Hawaii is even stricter, making it cost-prohibitive to certify a 25-year rule car there.
Parts Supply and Maintenance: Any good Diesel Mechanic can work on your Delica; they are very simple vehicles. Parts can be sourced via online sources. There are a few aftermarket parts dealers out there, but https://www.amayama.com/en is our favorite source. The easiest way to find the part you are looking for is by vehicle VIN. Lead-time on parts is usually 1-2 weeks, so plan accordingly.