Imagine all the places you could conquer in a lifted, off-road-spec Mitsubishi Delica: a jungle safari across Kenya, overlanding in the snowcapped mountain ranges of Alaska, exploring the tropical rainforest in Brazil - you get the picture. These thrill-seeking vibes don't exactly come off when you're driving around town in your Land Rover, G-wagen or 4Runner; however, picture yourself behind the wheel of this 1995 Delica Star Wagon, and you begin to believe this old school adventure-ready, all-wheel-drive van can make your wildest expeditions come true.
I won't get too deep into the history of the Delica, but briefly: Mitsubishi started producing them in 1968 and they were unfortunately never sold here. Delicas started out as mostly commercial pickup trucks and delivery vans, with consumer/passenger models not being introduced until ten years later. Many journalists and fans refer to the Delica as a lovechild between the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero and a common minivan. Throw in the fact that it's four-wheel-drive and can easily be turned into a camper you can sleep in and the end result is one of the most capable JDM overlanding vehicles of our time.
Today's example is a fourth-generation model and a turbodiesel model that calls Taipei home. A gentleman who simply goes by the name of Lai is its owner. There's not a lot of horsepower in these vehicles but enough torque and grip to overcome obstacles and navigate any type of uneven terrain thrown at it. Lai made some modifications to handle those obstacles by installing a 3-inch lift kit from Pro Comp, stronger axles and beefy mud terrain tires from Cooper. Some other cool modifications include a one-off titanium exhaust, custom bull bar, lots of lighting (he's integrated the on/off switches into the center console), dual roof racks and a rear-mounted ladder.
Inside, he's ditched the stock rear seats for a reclinable, futon-like bench with storage compartments underneath. On the Delica's ceiling, there's a metal rack that allows for additional storage, plus there's a ton of other trinkets and little touches scattered throughout the cabin. My personal favorite is the holder for his cigarette box just behind his Nardi steering wheel. Should also note there's an onboard air compressor so Lai can use any air tools he might need or inflate his tires when circumstances call for it.
I realize this is a bit of a departure from the regularly scheduled programming here at Super Street, but hopefully you're able to appreciate what builders are doing outside of the typical realm. It's no mystery that the truck and overlanding community continues to grow in our neck of the woods, and with the Mitsubishi Delica now legal to import thanks to the 25-year-rule, perhaps it won't be long until we see more of these popping-up at our local car meets and favorite OHV trails.
Special thanks to photographer John Mu for going out of his way to shoot these gorgeous photos of Lai's Delica in the forest and by the ocean for us.
1995 Mitsubishi Delica Star Wagon Turbo Diesel 4x4
HOMETOWN Taipei, Taiwan
ENGINE 2.5-liter 4D56 turbo diesel engine; TF035 turbo; 4M40 intercooler; custom titanium exhaust
DRIVETRAIN three-speed automatic with overdrive; G2 axles, 5.38 ring and pinion
FOOTWORK & CHASSIS Pro Comp 3" lift kit; ARB compressor, air locker
WHEELS & TIRES 15x10" -46 wheels; 33x12.50R15 Cooper Discoverer STT Pro mud terrain tires
EXTERIOR ComeUp 9,000 lb winch; Hella fog lights; custom bull bar, roof racks, ladder
INTERIOR custom interior and backseat/bed; VDO gauges; Nardi steering wheel