Picking up their dream car: a right-hand-drive 1994 Mitsubishi Delica van

'my husband, Andy, and I flew late last month to Fort Myers, drove back to Portland in our new-to-us right-hand-drive 1994 Mitsubishi Delica van'

I notice that Oregon requires a VIN inspection along with emissions inspection. It’s also stated that proof must be provided that the vehicle meets all Federal and EPA requirements and that some out of country vehicles will not meet Oregon’s requirements.

Wonder if they gave any thought to what’s going to happen the first time they step up to the auto parts counter and ask for a whatsit to fit a 26 year old oddball van.

Last year, the local Subaru dealer had a really old (late '70s-early '80s) Subaru Sambar mini (VERY mini) van on display. They had imported it from Japan, and I noticed that the interior was in very badly-worn condition. The only salesman who was around didn’t know for sure, but he thought that they bought it as a curiosity to display in front of the dealership, and not to sell it.

I’m not sure if that salesman was right or not, but after a couple of months the Sambar disappeared from the front of the dealership. I really hope that nobody bought it.

The fact that is it older than 25 years explains HOW they got it into the country at all! The laws got changed a number of years back that allowed anything 25 years old or older can enter the US and be driven even though it doesn’t meet EPA, equipment or crash test requirements.

There was a US version sold up until 1990 in the US.

I hope they did their homework with Oregon before they bought it so it can be registered and driven!

I remember seeing a few of those Sambars come in when I worked for several Subaru dealers. People would get upset with us because even we could not get a lot of parts for them and they would generally sit out back collecting dust because both the dealer and car owner were between a rock and a hard place. That’s the price you pay for being “unique” and sans the ability to work your own way through those problems.

My comments on whether or not the vehicle will be accepted was based on info from the OR website.
They refer to form CF 7501 and that states the vehicle brought into the country must be for personal use and cannot be resold.
So does this mean the guy in FL screwed up by selling it since he’s the one who imported it and it’s obviously not for personal use?

I can’t even imagine the grief those people would get here in OK trying to title that thing. Many years ago I bought a 1941 Harley Servi-Car. The trike had a clean, clear CA title, certificates of inspection from the CA DMV, Orange County sheriff, LAPD, and CHP.
I also had from OK certificates of inspection from the OK County Sheriff OKC PD, and the OHP.
And STILL they would not issue me a title and tag for it. The only way it got resolved was my taking off work early on a Friday and going in person to the Tax Commission at the state capitol. After almost a month of wrestling…

There was a paper notice pasted on a side window of that old Subaru Sambar mini-van, stating that it was not legal for highway use in The US.

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I could not open the link, but Oregon is not the only state with a Portland.

If that is their idea of a dream car, they have “set the bar really low”. I think I actually feel sorry for them.


There’s a specialist in these vans right in Portland Oregon, sells them but also offers parts and service for similar vans. May not by everyone’s cup of tea but I get the novelty factor.


If I was in the mood for something like that, I’d go with the Toyota Van, sold here, normal driver’s seat, parts available:

I have a friend on a subaru forum that imported a Sambar (“sammie”) a couple of years ago. He knew what he was getting into. Gets his parts from Japan and does most of the work himself and enjoys tooling around in it and answering any questions people have about it.

Well, then I guess I shouldn’t tell you my idea of a “dream car”, lest you laugh too hard and spit all over your monitor.

Oh, go ahead and say what it is . You might provide someone the amusement they need.


It would be an adventure to own a Toyota Sera at least for awhile. But they’re $10,000 for what is otherwise a early 90’s Toyota Tercel with butterfly doors.

If you like the early 90’s Tercel, which I did, you’d really like the early 90’s Paseo, which had the same interior but a much better engine. I hardly ever see any Tercels on the road, and it’s been years since I saw a Paseo. Even the much more common Celica has become rare.

I’ll post a pictures later, spaceship body on a Tercel platform. Give me a crx or Miata from the early 90"s.images_toyota_sera_1990_1_b

This is basically the same as a local “dream car” but the guy put Alpina badging and vinyl cerbon fiber wrap everywhere possible. .