In ourÂ last Rare Rides entry, we saw a SaleenÂ sportingÂ a lot of engine and little room, carrying a maximum of two physically fit human beings inside the cramped cockpit. That’s assuming neither of them brought any baggage, emotional or otherwise.
Today, we’re going in the other direction. I present to you what is undoubtedly the most intense passenger vehicle Toyota has ever produced: MEGA CRUISER. And it’s in full capital letters for a reason.
Our far-out find today comes from the superb purveyor of all things Japanese Domestic Market: the Goo-net Exchange. Right off the bat, we shouldÂ address the flat white elephant in the room. The United Nations Blanco colored truck above was obviously meant to capture a piece of the HMMWV market for Toyota. This example comes from 1998, which is not entirely clear until you take a look inside at the driver’s command center up front.
Camry, Tercel, Corolla. Everyone at Toyota raided the corporate part bin in adding components to createÂ this ergonomic wonder. Undoubtedly, these bits will work forever without fault, but it would’ve been nice if someone at Toyota put more consideration into the Mega Cruiser’sÂ design. The Camry’s PRND2L isÂ unexpected here; a long manual would seem more at home in this utilitarian beast.
According to the ad, this rigÂ features a 4.1-liter turbodiesel engine. Beyond that, the English translation on the site is hilarious.
…smooth handling,parking help,relaxable,no ABS,no ESC,barely damaged…
So IÂ did someÂ poking around onÂ Wikipedia for more information.
Toyota produced the Mega CruiserÂ from 1995 through 2002,Â mostly for military usage. It found a home at the Japan Self Defense Forces as transportation for infantry, heavy mortars, and surface-to-air missiles. When purchased by civilians, there was heavy taxation because of Japanese dimension regulations and the annual road tax. Perhaps a member of the BB who’s familiar with the Japanese regs could share some figures on the annual fees a vehicle like this would carry.
And carry it can, as six people of generous proportion can fit inside in stadium-style seating. Seats are covered with ’90s pattern Toyota Golden Age (Â© gtemnykh) cloth, which lasts approximately 126 years.
Cargo capacity is decidedlyÂ not at a premium. Put whatever you want back there. And the wheel arches look like a great place for several jump seats, and might getÂ theÂ passenger capacity up to 10.
Unfortunately, this majestic vehicle was only sold in the Japanese home market. Intended as a test bed for designs which would trickle down into the mass-produced SUVs on offer from Toyota, the model was not a financial success for the company. It does offer front, middle, and rear locking differentials. And four-wheel steering. Like a Prelude. Or something.
Current asking price is 9,800,000Â¥â€Ž, which is a bit over $85,000 US dollars. It’s old enough for Canadian importation, and TTAC confirmed with Ontario-based Bonsai Rides that it’s eligible. Canadians, go get it!