1993 Toyota HiAce Limited
Many believe the golden age of Japanese automotive engineering was between 1985-1999, and our Toyota HiAce Super Custom Limited is the perfect example of this. While most Americans were cramped together their shoddily built Grand Caravans and boring Pontiac Montanas, the Island of Japan receives people carriers that are the envy of the world. This Toyota demonstrates how vans should have been designed; with tons of useful space and storage, great tech features, and a drivetrain built to stand the test of time.
From the outside, this HiAce has a distinct road presence. Its cab forward design allows for low overhangs, great visibility, and massive interior space. The short nose has been improved by upgraded headlamps for better visibility, and a rare Hotrod cowl cover for appearance. Subtle polished chrome accents have been added all along the body, from the front grille, to the exterior door handles and rear vents. Both front and rear fascias have been updated with Hotrod units, the lower air dams really enhance this Toyota's look. The neutral hues of the tan two tone paintwork shines well, a nod to the era and style that was commonplace at the time. Furthering the chrome theme, a matching set of Altstadt 17" wheels noticeably adorn all corners. Besides a small amount of surface oxidation (about the size of a quarter by the rear wheel) the body is straight and in good shape. Light window tint provides better cooling and privacy for those inside, and is a great subtle styling cue to those viewing this van from the outside. The rear hatch opens wide for easy loading, and even has an additional rear mirror to keep the rear bumper safe from approaching parking obstacles. Durable metal step sides have been added to aid entry for front drivers and passengers, and this HiAce is actually equipped with a power sliding side door.
Once inside, Toyota's engineering really shines. Clever use of space gives passengers the ability to store tons of gear, while still moving comfortably about the cabin. The cognac colored cloth is in wonderful shape, devoid of any large rips, tears or stains. The soft cloth liberally lines the doors, arm rests, floors, and seats. While domestic vans utilized hard plastics and bottom dollar materials these designers at Toyota did the opposite; outfitting the cabin with upscale touches and soft touch materials. These HiAces simply showcased how much better the Japanese emphasized interior comfort compare to their stateside competitors. For this reason we see 4 massive glass sunroofs, power front seats, and a digital climate display and gauge cluster. The A/C blows cold and has separate rear controls so everyone can find a happy medium. The snazziest bit of tech comes from a power sliding rear door, its controls accessible to driver and rear passengers. To add a bit of luxury, wood and leather accented door pulls have been installed, complimenting the linen privacy curtains. A sculpted custom drink holder and service tray on the passenger side hides even more storage from the large glove box. The rear seats can be adjusted a number of ways, the coolest being the bed configuration, a must have for road trips.
Perhaps this haulers most desirable trait is its venerable power plant. The 3.0L 1KZ-TE 4 cylinder is a legendary diesel. While many owners will put over half a million miles on this mill, ours has only 121k original verified miles. Upon the turn of the key, the large 4 cylinder grunts to life, with a familiar diesel clatter. A new battery ensures even cold starts aren't an issue. Its gobs of torque isn't just impressive on the city streets or interstate, making the HiAce capable in inclement conditions. The automatic transmission shifts smooth, without any hesitancy or jerkiness. The long wheel base gives a premium ride, and easily soaks up large bumps in the pavement. Don't let your experiences in a Ford Windstar, Chevy Uplander, or Chrysler Town & Country leave a bad taste in your mouth; buy the best!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.