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Japan Owner's Clubs Part 2 - Japan Delica Family

In this series we continue to take a look at some of the Mitsubishi 4x4 owners clubs that were prominent in Japan in the 1990s. Last week's post covered the largest Delica club in Japan, the Delica Owner's Club. With over 1400 members, we have actually been fortunate enough to speak to a few people who were a part of the DOC in its hay-day. Their notes helped form both that piece and this one.

This week it's all about the Japan Delica Family (JDF). While not the largest club, it certainly had plenty of members, reaching 150 in the late 90s across multiple prefectures in Japan. It was founded much later though than most clubs in July of 1994. As it turns out, this is because JDF was originally the Chubu branch of the Delica Owner's Club we discussed in part 1. In early-mid 1994 they broke off and formed their own group of members calling themselves the Japan Delica Family, and in doing so, caused some "bad history" between the two groups.

Their mission statement is in line with most camping/4x4 clubs of the region/era. Stating, "In order to make the most of the Delica, our club emphasizes outdoor life, deepens horizontal connections [Note: Horizontal in this context means relationships between two people of the same socio-economic class], and values all family member relationships with each other. Volunteer activities are incorporated in to each event to carry out 'friendly interaction with nature'. With regard to cars, Mitsubishi motors cooperates with the motto of comfortable cars, comfortable nature, and fun clubs."

The Japan Delica Family was the first club we really became aware of, as a few Delicas have been imported to the United States with their stickers in tact. In an effort to bring a part of this culture stateside, we partnered with Delicas Northwest to create MNFR Part Number: DC002, our Delicas Northwest Family sticker. This limited run of about 15 ended up on a few vehicles who showed up at meets at the right time to get one for free in 2018.

Sticker locations seemed to vary, but as you'll see in the photos below there were a few primary spots. Below the front and rear windshields on the driver side seemed to be the most popular for the standard half-moon logo design. With large full-window sized dye-cut stickers often being seen on the rear most side glass. On rare occasions from what we can tell, dye-cut stickers were used on the lower body panels.

Interestingly, Mitsubishi Pajeros were included as members in a few occasions like the photo below. We replicated this and put some of the Delicas Northwest Stickers on Ben's Montero to keep the tradition going.

With the size and prevalence of this club, it was easy to uncover photos of member cars. We've gone a little deeper this time, not only including more photographs, but we'll cover modifications and owner info as it was available to us.

Mitsubishi Delica
Takeuchi Mura with his van

Belonging to Takeuchi Mura, his Delica Star wagon features a Shizouka off-road service high lift kit. Built with a mix of off the shelf and custom parts, giving the van 3" of additional room with upgraded torsion bars up front and Dune shackles in the rear. He also moved to Rancho shocks, with two additional struts added to the rear end for stability. Keeping it moving he used Pro Comp 15x10" wheels with BF Goodrich 33x12.5" Mud Terrain Tires. Lifting this one up so high needed a propeller shaft spacer to correct the geometry as well.

The side step bar is from Machiyama, with a 4x4ES rear ladder and roof rack installed as well. His total cost of modifications at the time was around $14,000 USD.

Delica Starwagon belonging to Nishio Kochi of Aichi Prefecture.
JDF stickers seen on the front and side of the primary van, and rear/side of the background van.

Yuro Kida from Osaka was one of the few Delica Space Gear owners we were able to find during our research that belonged to Japan Delica Family. While there weren't many modifications done at this time (1998), he mentions that he is interested in continuing to work with JDF and upgrade his car more. Modifications we could find a record of include a JAOS rear ladder and yellow JAOS mudflaps.

Makoto Ohashi stands next to his L300 Star Wagon

Makoto Ohashi out of Toyama Prefecture stands next to his Super Exceed Delica Star Wagon. Built in what we'd consider to be a way that very much encapsulates the era and location, Makoto refers to it as "Kurokan Style".

JAOS mudflaps, an extreme rarity these days adorn all four wheels in a bright yellow. One of three colors available for the L300 Star Wagon (others being red and a medium gray). While a Terzo/PIAA Ladder walks you up to the Aiba Works roof rack. A lift was added, and while we can't confirm the exact specifications it appears to be 2", to fit the 30.5" tires and 16x6.5" wheels.

That ends it for today's post on the Japan Delica Family. However, with so many cars and members, we have more than enough content to write up another group of vehicles. Like what you're seeing? Leave a comment below.

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