The Mitsubishi Delica is a range of trucks and multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) built by Mitsubishi Motors since 1968. It was originally based on a small pickup truck introduced the previous year, also called the Delica, its name a contraction of the English language phrase Delivery car. This truck, and a commercial van derived from it has received many names in export markets, being sold as the L300 (later L400) in Europe and New Zealand, Express and Starwagon in Australia, and plainMitsubishi Van and Wagon in the US. The passenger car versions were known as Delica Star Wagon from 1979 until the 1994 introduction of the Delica Space Gear, which became simply Space Gear in Europe at least. The most recent version (not available as a commercial vehicle) is called the Delica D:5.
In Japan, the Delica Cargo nameplate was used on badge-engineered Mazda Bongos between 1999 and 2010. Since 2011, theD elica D:2 name has been applied to a rebadged Suzuki Solio.
First Generation (1968)
The production of the Delica light commercial cab-over pickup began in July 1968. It received the chassis code T100, in line with the recently (January 1968) introduced "T90" Canter. Using a KE44 1,088 cc engine producing 58 PS (43 kW), its maximum payload was 600 kg (1,323 lb) and had a top end speed of 115 km/h (71 mph). A year later, in line with consumer needs, a cargo van and a passenger van were added to the lineup. The passenger van, discontinued in 1976, was called the 'Delica Coach' and could seat nine people in three rows of seats. The engine was later upgraded to 62 PS (46 kW).
After a fall 1974 facelift, the Delica received a new nose with lots of plastic cladding and double headlights, now mounted beneath the swage line. It was now known only as the "Delica 1400", as this was the only engine with which it was available (mention of a Delica 1200 is most likely apocryphal, perhaps an issue of confusion arising from the "120" chassis code). A longer wheelbase (T121) 1-ton truck was added in 1976. In March 1971 a slightly facelifted version, called the Delica 75, arrived. This (the T120) received a small grille rather than the naked metal front of the earliest Delicas, and a new 1.4-liter Neptune (4G41) engine rated at 64 kilowatts (86 hp) was added to the lineup. The smaller 1.1-liter engine may have remained available in a 600 kilograms (1,300 lb) version of the truck but soon vanished entirely.
In export markets, this car was sometimes called simply the Colt T100 / T120.Record, a Greek manufacturer of agricultural vehicles, cribbed freely from the Delica T120 design (using the same windshield, for instance) for their "GS2000" truck.
Second Generation (1979)
The Delica series was replaced in June 1979 by an all new design, bringing overall width up to the maximum 1,690-millimetre (67 in) dictated by Japanese regulations for "compact" vehicles. Suspended at the front by an independent wishbone construction and a leaf spring at the rear, the Delica also features a sliding side door and one-piece gas strut tailgate. The line-up was expanded to include ten model variations encompassing a wide variety of passenger (eight-seater in thrree/two/three configuration), cargo and recreational applications. A four-wheel drive option was made available in 1982, a first in the Japanese van market. Engines were all four-cylinders well known from MMC's passenger cars and included the 1,439 cc, 80 PS (59 kW) Saturn (4G33) and 1.6-liter Saturn (4G32) engines. A 1.8-liter Sirius (4G62) version producing 100 PS (74 kW) appeared in May 1980, and a 2.0-liter Sirius (4G63B) petrol version became optional in 4WD versions from November 1983. A 2.3-liter Astron (4D55) diesel appeared in October 1982 and was replaced by the larger 2.5-liter Astron (4D56) in 1986.
The four-wheel drive version of the Delica was first introduced to the Japanese market in October 1982. This versatile vehicle utilized a modified version of the Mitsubishi Pajero's chassis, albeit usually with smaller engines (originally only the 1.8-liter gasoline).
Chrysler Australia introduced the SA series Delica to the Australian market in April 1980 under the name "Chrysler L300 Express". After acquiring control of the Chrysler Australia operations in the same month, Mitsubishi Motors renamed the firm Mitsubishi Motors Australia in October 1980. This resulted in the rebranding of the L300 Express as a Mitsubishi. Fitted with a 1.6-liter engine and four-speed manual, both van (three-seater commercial) and wagon (eight-seater) variants were offered, with the commercial (van) version available with or without side rear windows. The utility (pickup) version was not sold in Australia, as the L200 Express covered that segment of the market. In November 1981 the SB series was introduced, now fitted with radial ply tires on larger diameter wheels, thus increasing the payload capacity from 925 to 1,000 kilograms (2,040 to 2,200 lb). The following month, Mitsubishi introduced the high-roofed luxury "Deluxe" trim, fitted with electric sunroof and cloth upholstery. The next update to the SB series arrived in October 1982, resulting in the "Deluxe" trim being renamed "Starwagon" and gaining a larger 1.8-liter engine—offered with a five-speed overdrive manual or optional three-speed automatic. Mitsubishi extended the availability of the 1.8-liter engine to the lower-specification variants, albeit, in automatic guise only.
From May 1983, the L300 Express received rectangular headlights in chrome surrounds as part of the SC iteration. The SCalso featured newly-designed black resin bumpers and adjustments to the front suspension spring rate to improve ride and handling. The four-wheel drive version, badged "4WD", came in October 1983 as a 1.8-liter model with floor-mounted five-speed manual only, therefore becoming a seven-passenger model by losing the front-row center seat. After another facelift in late 1984, the car became the SD series, introducing better equipment and black headlight surrounds along with a black trim piece between the headlights on "Starwagon" and "4WD" trims. The SD revision also upgraded the "4WD" to a 2.0-liter engine, with the 1.8-liter standard issue in a new long-wheelbase commercial (van) model. A final minor update, the SE series appeared in 1986.
This generation has been production in the Philippines since 1987 as the "Mitsubishi Versa Van" as well as the Cab/Chassis variant where local coach builders assemble rear bodies for passenger and cargo hauling purposes. Variations such as the FB (Family Business), PET (Personal and Equipment Transport), WT (Water Tight Aluminum Van) and DS (Drop Side) have been made to cater to those needs. In 2010, an extended rear body variant for the FB variant called the Exceed was added.
This generation is still in production in Indonesia as the "Mitsubishi Colt Solar L300", equipped with the 2.5-liter 4D56 diesel engine.
In South Korea, Hyundai built the second generation Delica as the "Hyundai Porter", replacing an earlier model with the same name. South Korean production of this Porter continued alongside the third generation Delica, which was marketed by Hyundai as the "Grace". This Porter was replaced by an indigenously developed third generation Porter in March 1996.
From 1997 to 2000, the car was sold by Mahindra & Mahindra in India as the "Mahindra Voyager", but priced too high it was taken out of production after only a little over two years. The Voyager did meet with some success as an ambulance, but this association only further prevented prospective private purchasers.
Third Generation (1986)In June 1986 the Delica underwent its third full model change. More aerodynamic than previous versions, its monocoque body and extensive safety features proved very popular in Japan's fast-growing recreational vehicle market segment. The more rounded design was referred to as "soft cube" styling by Mitsubishi. Passenger versions continued to be sold as Delica Star Wagons, which became just plain "Starwagon" in Australia. The commercial version is called the "Express" in Australia.
Although the subsequent L400 Delica and Delica Space Gear were introduced in 1994, the L300 Delica (van versions only) still remained in production in 2007 for export markets. In Japan the commercial Delica range was replaced by a badge-engineered Mazda Bongo under an OEM deal which began in November 1999. However, as of 2011, the commercial version of the third generation Delica remains on sale in Australia where it retains the "Mitsubishi Express" badge.
A large range of engines were available, from a 1.4-liter up to a 2.4-liter petrol, and also a 2.5-liter diesel and turbodiesel. Rear- or four-wheel drive, several bodystyles and two different wheelbases made for a particularly extensive lineup. The four-wheel drive chassis was based on that of the contemporary Mitsubishi Pajero, although parts are seldom interchangeable.
Cargo versions are built by the China Motor Corporation in Taiwan. This generation Delica was also built under license by Hyundai of South Korea, where it was called the "Hyundai Grace" or "Hyundai H-100" in some Eurasian markets. Launched in December 1986, this version originally received the twin headlights as used in the US market versions, but after a front-end facelift the new more aerodynamic version received thinner and more rounded headlights. This version was called the "New Grace". Both the 2.4-liter gasoline and 2.5-liter turbodiesel inline-four engines were available, both Mitsubishi designs. Hyundai terminology resulted in the 4D56 diesel engine being renamed D4BX / D4BA.
From 1987 until 1990, Mitsubishi sold this model in small numbers in the United States as the "Wagon" for passenger versions and "Van" for windowless cargo versions. The US versions all received a 107 horsepower (80 kW) version of the 2.4-liter 4G64engine. For model years 1990 and 1991 an LS version of the Wagon was added. Taiwanese-produced CMC Delica vans are sold in Mexico as the Dodge 1000 as of July 2007.