Automotive

Glass-roofed Delica 4x4 mini-camper van chases starry-night adventure

Glass-roofed Delica 4x4 mini-c...
The 2003 Delica 4WD Crystal Lite Roof makes a compelling little all-terrain mini-camper van
The 2003 Delica 4WD Crystal Lite Roof makes a compelling little all-terrain mini-camper van
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The 2003 Delica gets a little rougher and tougher thanks to its off-road bumper with bull bar and winch
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The 2003 Delica gets a little rougher and tougher thanks to its off-road bumper with bull bar and winch
Japanese Auto Imports creates a rugged mini-camper van
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Japanese Auto Imports creates a rugged mini-camper van
The sleeper platform includes a lift-up storage compartment
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The sleeper platform includes a lift-up storage compartment
Along with its four rear glass panels, the Delica comes with an electric sunroof
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Along with its four rear glass panels, the Delica comes with an electric sunroof
Refrigerator drawer inside
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Refrigerator drawer inside
Interior electric control center
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Interior electric control center
Extension sleeper panel installed and ready for a mattress
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Extension sleeper panel installed and ready for a mattress
A little camper van we've come to know as "Crystal"
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A little camper van we've come to know as "Crystal"
The 2003 Delica 4WD Crystal Lite Roof makes a compelling little all-terrain mini-camper van
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The 2003 Delica 4WD Crystal Lite Roof makes a compelling little all-terrain mini-camper van
Slide-out kitchen to the left, plumbing storage on the right
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Slide-out kitchen to the left, plumbing storage on the right
Drawer for cookware and tools
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Drawer for cookware and tools
Slide-out table and workstation
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Slide-out table and workstation
Righthand drive
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Righthand drive
That white access hatch is rather clunky, but the rest of the conversion makes for a rather attractive, little camper
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That white access hatch is rather clunky, but the rest of the conversion makes for a rather attractive, little camper
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Australian import and camper conversion company Japanese Auto Imports announced an updated lineup of Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 camper vans on Friday. One of the more convincing little 4x4 mini-camper vans we've seen, the company's latest Delica build features a slide-out kitchen with triple-burner stove, plenty of all-terrain equipment, and a raised bed set under a panorama of roof and side glass. It can spend its Saturdays and Sundays hunting down waves and trailheads, its nights delivering planetarium-grade cosmic viewings, and its weekdays doubling as an everyday commuter for small families.

Listed for sale now, the new mini-camper comes built atop a long-wheelbase 2003 Delica 4WD Crystal Lite Roof. As such, we're going to call it Crystal from here on out, both because it lacks any type of succinct model name and because that Crystal Lite Roof is a big highlight of the van. Four rectangular glass panels near the left and right roof edges give the rear cabin clear views of the skies above. That's a nice addition in a regular van, but in a camper van with rear bed, it means that campers can enjoy a view of the starry night sky, just as they would in a mesh-roofed tent. Electric-powered sunshades prevent all that glass from making the van too bright and warm before those campers are ready to rise in the morning.

Slide-out table and workstation
Slide-out table and workstation

Japanese Auto Imports describes Crystal as designed for carrying four people around during the week before serving as an ultimate weekend getaway for two. It has four seats, and unlike other Delica camper vans we've seen, carries all its camping equipment at the rear so there's no central kitchen taking up elbow room during regular everyday commutes. The camper furniture isn't readily removable, though, so cargo space will be limited to what fits atop the bed and inside the storage drawers and nooks.

The rear-integrated camping block packs everything campers need for overnight journeys, starting with a sleeping platform up top. The main surface combines with a front extension to provide enough room for two people to lie down for the night. The van doesn't include a mattress so owners will have to bring their own.

Slide-out kitchen to the left, plumbing storage on the right
Slide-out kitchen to the left, plumbing storage on the right

The rear face of the camping block houses the slide-out kitchen with three-burner Dometic gas stove/sink combo, cutting board worktop and deep storage drawer. The cabinets to the right hold hardware like the hot water heater and plumbing fixtures.

The inside face of the camper block has a fridge drawer for cold storage, a slide-out tabletop for dining and laptop work, and an electrical control center with display and outlets. Power comes stored in a 230-Ah battery with charger, and a slim roof-mounted solar panel enjoys a snug, custom fit between the glass roof panels above.

Along with its four rear glass panels, the Delica comes with an electric sunroof
Along with its four rear glass panels, the Delica comes with an electric sunroof

Along with 4WD, the base Delica van includes a ruggedized front bumper with bull bar and embedded winch. It rides on Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires. The 2003 van has been around the block to the tune of 112,779 km (70,078 miles), but it includes some modern updates like a Sony Stereo with Apple CarPlay and a reverse camera. Japanese Auto Imports lists the full camper van for a price of AU$52,888 (approx. US$41,000), before government fees.

Crystal brings a pretty cool, functional layout inside what we consider to be one of the most adorable 4x4 vans on the planet. The only real knock on it is the roughly hacked-on access hatch on the driver-side rear panel, but so long as it stays sealed, it should prove itself only a cosmetic issue.

That white access hatch is rather clunky, but the rest of the conversion makes for a rather attractive, little camper
That white access hatch is rather clunky, but the rest of the conversion makes for a rather attractive, little camper

Japanese Auto Imports also offers other camper layouts for the Delica and additional van models like the Toyota Hiace and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Its primary business of importing and selling Japanese vans and crossovers directly, without camper conversions, will appeal to those who want to build out their own camper rigs.

Source: Japanese Auto Imports

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