Thanks to the rise of #vanlife, SUVs and trucks aren’t the only vehicles capable of wandering off the paved path. And when it comes to overlanding minivans, the Mitsubishi Delica Japanese van has a particularly strong following. But given that Mitsubishi didn’t sell the best versions in the US, importing one can be an exercise in patience. Luckily, if you’ve been looking for one, Cars and Bids has an opportunity for you with this 1994 Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear LWB 4×4.
The Mitsubishi Delica L400 is a minivan made for overlanding and off-roading
The early Mitsubishi Delicas were fairly basic cargo vans for deliveries, Hagerty reports. That’s where the name comes from: ‘delivery’ and ‘car.’ But in the early 80s, the Japanese automaker gave the van four-wheel drive and a modified version of the Pajero SUV’s chassis.
The boxy third-gen 1986-1993 L300 swapped the body-on-frame design for a unibody, Autowise reports. But its chassis still has Pajero roots, Automobile reports, and it has an off-road-friendly solid rear axle and the 4WD with 2-speed transfer case. Plus, it was available with a large number of accessories, including limited-slip differentials, chilled storage, digital temperature gauges, and skylights.
However, its mid-mounted 2.5-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine has several known issues, not least of which is its relative lack of power. And its cab-over design, while intriguing, puts the front seats over the axle, which makes riding over bumps more uncomfortable.
The 1994-2007 Mitsubishi Delica L400 Space Gear (yes, that’s the full name) resolves several of these issues. Thanks to an intercooler, its 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine doesn’t have the same overheating issues, Crankshaft Culture reports. Plus, with 140 hp and 232 lb-ft, it has 54 more hp and 112 more lb-ft.
Also, while the L400 still has a Pajero-derived chassis and 4WD system with a transfer case, the latter is more advanced than the L300’s version, r/Delica sub-Reddit users report. That’s because it has a setting that mimics a modern AWD system. And you can lock the center differential, HonestJohn Classics reports.
The Mitsubishi Delica L400 also has several interior and exterior upgrades over the L300. While it doesn’t have the boxy styling, the L400 is quieter and comfier to sit in, SingleTrack World forum users report. And because of the front-mounted engine and further-back seating, it’s safer and more spacious. The L400 also has upgraded suspension and better handling, DelicaForum forum users report.
The 1994 Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear LWB 4×4 on Cars and Bids
Mitsubishi offered the L400 Delica Space Gear 4×4 in two different wheelbases. The 1994 example currently listed on Cars and Bids is a long-wheelbase model, hence the ‘LWB.’ The LWB model is preferable for highway cruising, Japanese Classics reports, due to its extra stability.
While many Mitsubishi Delicas have turbodiesel engines, this 1994 Space Gear LWB 4×4 has a 3.0-liter gasoline V6. It’s the range-topping engine, Motor1 reports, and makes 185 hp and 195 lb-ft. It’s linked to a 4-speed automatic, the 4WD system, and a limited-slip rear differential.
From the factory, this 1994 Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear LWB 4×4 has transparent roof panels, fog lights, a front bull bar, running boards, a sunroof, and A/C. The 3rd-row seats can fold flat, as can the 2nd-row captain’s chairs. The latter can also swivel. And there are three dashboard-mounted digital gauges: an inclinometer, a compass, and a battery voltmeter.
The van also has a few aftermarket additions. It has a 2” suspension lift, Bilstein shocks, 31” tires, and a trailer hitch. It also has an aftermarket Boss CD/MP3 player and a backup camera.
This particular Mitsubishi Delica has a few imperfections. There are scratches on the wheels and various body panels. Plus, there’s some underside rust. And the bull bar is missing its Mitsubishi emblem.
However, Cars and Bids reports the selling dealer has performed a significant amount of recent work. It lubricated the suspension and serviced the A/C. The dealer also replaced the transmission, differential, and transfer case fluids, as well as the oil and coolant. And the tires, front brake rotors and pads, and batteries are new, as are the spark plugs, spark plug wires, air and fuel filters, and the timing belt.
What makes this van a bargain?
As of this writing, this 1994 Mitsubishi Delica Space Gear LWB 4×4 is listed on Cars and Bids at $5700 with four days left in the auction. With just over 118,000 miles on the clock, it’s a well-maintained example. And it’s below the average market value, especially given its relative rarity at the moment.
Due to the 25-year rule, L400 Delicas have only just become import-eligible. As a result, there aren’t many in the States. But examples offered through importers like Japanese Classics and Duncan Imports typically hover in the $15,000-$20,000 range. And earlier L300s usually go for $10,000-$14,000 on Bring a Trailer.
So, if you’ve been eying an overlanding van, this Delica’s price just might be right.
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