Ever since the 1998 model year, Toyota has sold a big, American-style minivan with the engine in the front and cupholders throughout the interior. Prior to that, though, American Toyota shoppers looking for a new van had to take an innovative mid-engined machine designed entirely with the Japanese home market in mind: First the TownAce (known as the Van here) and then the Estima (known as the Previa here). The Previa was too small and too underpowered to compete head-to-head with Detroit minivans, but those who bought them found that they lasted for decade after decade. Here’s one in a Denver-area yard that got pretty close to the magical 400,000-mile mark.
I see plenty of Previas during my junkyard travels, though I concentrate on the rare All-Trac versions for this series. 376k miles is impressive, though, and so I deemed this van worthy of documenting. Sure, it’s no 413k-mile Tercel 4WD, but then what is?
It appears that this Previa was working as an electrician’s van during its final days on the road, and so it’s full of wire nuts, screws, conduit hardware, and so on.
It’s a plain old front-wheel-drive van with automatic transmission, but at least it still has a supercharger and mid-mounted engine (a 158-horse, 2.4-liter straight-four laying down sideways under the front seats, with the blower and other accessories located far forward and powered by a long shaft from the engine).
I added this knitted cross to my collection of religious mirror-hangers on display in my garage.
For links to more than 2,100 additional Junkyard Finds, please visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
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