Cruz was a wild three month ride in New Zealand. We bought him the first night we landed in Auckland, in the pouring rain. We found him on backpackersforum.co.nz a few minutes after it was posted. We ended up buying Cruz for $3500 NZD.
He was a 1991 Mitsubishi Delica 4x4, 4 cylinder turbo-diesel. The Delica is such a bad ass rig. However, we found it very crammed on the inside and had a very awkward interior setup. It's only saving grace are the very maneuverable back seats. Both fortunately (money saving wise) and unfortunately (design wise), the van was already built out. Both back swivel seats were left installed and the bed folded on top of them when they were reversed and pushed to the front. There was little room underneath the bed for storage, but other than that literally no other options for storage. It came with a pretty awesome cooker and a shitty cooler and really shitty chairs.
We had a very small budget for our vehicle and already exceeded it with our van purchase so re-doing the interior was out of the question. So, we headed to the Mecca of cheap things anywhere in NZ, K-Mart. We bought storage shelves and containers for the backend and a few random baskets for it. After our last van, Damon, this was a major step down of functionality and design, but we figured it's only 3 months; so, we could handle having a terrible build out and only basic necessities, while basically living out of our backpacks. The only power we had was our beloved Anker 21W foldout solar panel and a 26800mAh Ravpower portable power pack. So, yes, we were those grungy travelers with power strips out charging multiple devices.
Lucky for us, NZ is pretty chilly even in the summer. So, we never had to use a cooler or deal with ice. We would just store everything under the bed where it stayed nice and chilled. We used our cooler to store bread products. We had to buy containers for under-bed food storage, after we discovered that we had picked up a mouse along our travels. We finally caught our tiny furry roommate, Arthur, towards the end of our trip.
Cruz ended up being a pretty awesome van. Other than one major break down involving the starter motor, which had ground out the ring gear. That caused some transmission issues and ran about $1600nz to get everything taken care of. Other than that, it ran like a champion, especially after the repair.
Easily the best things on the Delica are the 4x4 and ground clearance. We now had the freedom to go on the beach, ford rivers, and climb to secluded camp sites. If we had the opportunity to buy a Delica in the US for what I paid, I would definitely snag one. However, they are rare and expensive. We figured, if you were a solo traveler and were able to take out one seat and not have the folding bed, add some cabinetry to one side, then, you would be set. We found it very crammed in the van all the time. If it wasn't for the seats to sit normal an upright, I would have lost it in that small space.
Ideally, this van would be amazing to build out for road tips and surf trips but, living in it full time wasn’t ideal. It’s easily one of the most versatile mini vans on the planet, and I’ve seen some amazing Delica set ups on line but I wouldn't live out of one for the long term.