This 1986 Toyota Master Ace Surf is a wonderful machine to behold, or rather, in which to be held. The spacey 80's futuristic exterior identifies equally with cruising city streets lit with yellow sodium lamps reflected in bas-relief mirror-sheen murals as it would offroading on the moon. Aesthetically an example of what every "van-dad" wishes their soccer-practice booger mover was when it was their parents doing the soccer cleat and juvenile phlegm hauling in 1986. In simple terms: this van is cool. Like actually cool, not ironically cool.
Featuring a dual-zone climate control system that is true dual-zone in that it is controlled by two AC circuits, electronically controlled curtains, pop-up sky lights, swiveling captains chairs, a rear bench that folds up agains the sides for ample storage OR that folds down into a bed, a original 4 inch CRT television mounted to the ceiling, an era correct aftermarket Pioneer sound system, and so many more secrets, this van is a wonderland of discovery without every leaving the vehicle! This Grand Saloon model comes outfitted with all the things any practical city crawler might need, such as a fantastically small "Cool & Hot Box" that can either run the coolant circuit or the air conditioning circuit through small radiators inside it to provide cooling OR heating for snacks and drinks up to and including, hot curry from your favorite Curry House, 4 bottles of 1000-Lemons, or 6 500 ml cans of Sopporo. It even has plastic ice trays that it can use to make ice when on the cooling circuit!
But if more 1980's gadgets than you'll ever use aren't quite enough to get your van-life brain rambling, then the sheer capability of this well-equipped off-roader will. That's right, I said off-roader. Equipped with the same suspension and drivetrain componentry as the much venerated Toyota Hilux Surf of the same era, this Master Ace Surf features all the best things you look for in your next mountain climber. The transfer case with options for low 4WD, high 4WD, and high 2WD is mated to a factory 5 speed manual transmission. Manual locking hubs ensure you don't spin any tires climbing out of mud or gravel. All of this is powered by the torquey and extremely reliable 2 Liter, 4 cylinder 3Y-EU fuel injected gasoline powerplant tucked under the passenger seat, capable of 132lb-ft of torque at 3600rpm. Further proving this van's desire to take you into the dirt is a wonderfully 80's styled altimeter and inclinometer on the dash in front of the passenger seat. This is so that your ride along can alert you to the fact that you're about to roll over, even though by the time they notice, it's way too late to do anything but kiss those glass sunroofs goodbye!
Given that you don't take this beauty and roll it off the side of the mountain (though honestly, this would take a very.... talented individual to accomplish), the glass sunroofs, appropriate labelled in giant text "Skylite Roof", pop up to allow maximum airflow to your passengers, and provide a surprisingly convertible-like sensation when driving down the road with them open. These can be covered by factory headliner covers that clip in and blend into the ceiling for privacy and sun protection for your passengers. Additionally, this Grand Saloon comes with Toyota OEM lace seat covers that contrast nicely with the pristine original velvet seats and almost shag carpet. Truly this interior is wonderful to sit in and admire.
There's much more to be said about an optimistic 1980's Japnese economy producing some of the craziest and sturdiest cars of all time, but the rest of the story for this piece of history is up to you. Whether the streets of downtown, the dunes of coastal Florida, or the mountain tops of the Appalacians, this Toyota Master Ace Surf Grand Saloon (imagine saying that in a Japanese accent) is ready to take you anywhere, maybe even to the moon.
In full clarity, this example is not perfect. It has minor paint imperfections, including some cosmetic rust bubbles here and there. The antique TV and reception system is not functioning, though all the componentry is there, including a very rad hard-wired remote control and OEM antennas, not that you'd get much reception anyway. The 90s updated head unit plays MINI-DISK (not tape or CD) and functionality is hit or miss. The A/C currently does not fully function, and the price is reduced to reflect this. We may repair it if time allows, and price will be updated accordingly. All drivetrain componentry works and shifts are buttery smooth.
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