When Chrysler hit a huge sales home run with the front-wheel-drive K-car-based minivans in 1984, Toyota USA was right there with a competitor: an Americanized version of the TownAce (also known by the what-were-they-thinking name of MasterAce) van. While the Toyota Van (sold alongside Toyota Trucks, and it disappoints us that the Camry wasnt renamed the Toyota Car at that point) had a mid-engined/rear-drive layout, the engine lived beneath the front seats and thus allowed a cargo area comparable to that of the front-wheel-drive Voyager and Caravan. Heres a faded and rusty 86 with a 5-speed manual transmission, spotted in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard a couple of months back.

With their unkillable 4Y pushrod engines (rated at 102 horsepower), these Vans tended to keep going for decade after decade. This one has a funky interior and the rust may have eaten into important structural components, so its time came earlier than most. I see many of these vans in the big U-Wrench yards these days, as many of them are finally wearing out at age 30+.

I dont photograph most of the discarded Vans I see, preferring to focus on the weirder Previas and their superchargers, but this van has the extremely rare 5-speed manual transmission. That makes it the van counterpart to the Toyota MR2!

Source: Autoweek

February 13, 2019