2k: 5 Gears, 7 People: 1991 Toyota Previa
If you were asked to make a list mid-engine cars, equipped with manual gearbox, optional all-wheel-drive, optional supercharged engine, and seating for seven…you would probably struggle to find the answer. However, the truth is you’ve seen (and heard the screaming supercharger that sounds like a fountain pen being dragged across a chalk board) of this vehicle many times and been none the wiser, until now. Find this 1991 Toyota Previa offered for $2,500 in Seattle, WA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
The Previa was available from the factory with optional all-wheel-drive
(standard was rear wheel drive), a manual transmission and an optional
supercharger. The supercharger boosted the 2.4 liter inline-4 (in the
car shown here) from the base 135 to 160 horsepower. If you ever want
to known if a Previa is equipped with the roots-type blower, there is a
very simple test — start the engine and if you hear something that
sounds like someone has shoved a flute into a cat’s rear-end and is
trying to play it like a bagpipe, its got the blower. The ear piercing
shrieking sound indicates the supercharger is equipped and functioning.
This one won’t have that problem unless you swap the S/C from a
slushbox equipped Previa because Toyota never sold one with manual trans
and supercharger together. That shifter is connected to a transmission/engine that was layed over on its side to fit under the front row of seats.
See a better cheap family hauler with a fun side? email@example.com
"…something that sounds like someone has shoved a flute into a cat's rear-end and is trying to play it like a bagpipe".
Well, there went another perfectly good cup of morning coffee, out my nose. Thanks DT!
Bravo! I say, BRAVO!
Yeah, these things do have a UNIQUE sonic character to them…
Mind you, that doesn't make them FAST, but it does at least make them DIFFERENT.
Dang, I read the intro and thought you had found someone who had created a real unicorn by mating all three together (manual, S/C, all-trac). My aunt actually bought one of these new with a manual……using the phrase "rubbery" to describe the shifter is an affront to rubber. I still like the idea though—the world needs more stick shift minivans.
Oh Crap. I'm laughing so hard my eyes are watering…
I have to admit, I find these things very interesting and not bad to drive. The seats and seating position are a whole lot better than most minivans, and the view out the nose and the ability to know where the corners are is infinitely better than anything sold now.
Okay, so the powertrain orientation makes it a little less space-efficient inside, it predates all the gadgetry like foldaway seats and motorized doors everywhere, but around here at least if you look at the number of these things still on the road as a percentage of the number originally sold, it beats the Chryslers and most everything else of similar age with a stick.
Ever seen what the engine looks like in one of these? It's laid over flat on its right side, and the engine accessory and radiator fan drive is a big long thing something like a foot and a half long projecting off the front of the engine. It's a little weird, quite unique, and if GM had done it it probably would have been a disaster and dropped in two years, but like I said these things seem to survive.
My slushbox S/C All-Trac looked exactly like the one pictured below. This one featured here on DT has been repainted, the stock wheels have been replaced, it does not appear to be an All-Trac and isn't supercharged. Still a great van, though. Bought wisely, these are a no-lose proposition. Drive it and maintain it for however long you own it, then sell it for as much or more (but not much) than you bought it. I know I did. My wife liked it so much that she insisted on a minivan as her next vehicle. Why not another Previa or a Sienna, you (didn't) ask? Because the Previa is missing that all-important feature; a driver-side sliding passenger door. That really limits the utility of the vehicle, just as it did with every other van (maxi or mini) since the dawn of time. The MPV was more compact and sporty to drive in comparison to the Sienna (pick a gen) and was a better choice for us at the time. And it continues to be! We don't have any desire to replace it anytime soon.
Doesn't it look like they're selling it for $19.00? Mine had different OEM wheels too, I think.
Oh, and PLUS the OEM stereo has been replaced in the DT featured car. That may be because they wanted more power but I thought the original stocker wasn't half bad. And you can pick them up all day on weeBay for pennies and not have to deal with the tiny chicklet buttons on the aftermarket unit.
BTW, since nobody would wonder such a thing as I do/did, those second row buckets (or the bench, as it is in this van) can be removed, despite what everybody says. It's just a couple of bolts and out they come! I used to take the second row buckets in mine out a lot. A couple of minutes and a socket wrench is all you need. It's HUGE inside with the third row folded up and out of the way and I always wondered why they didn't make a camper version. Maybe they did.
had a secret crush for these ever since I saw the bad guys driving them in Harley Davidson & The Marlboro Man
Damn it. Now my curiosity has gotten the best of me. I hope my cat will understand.
**cough!** Speaking of crushes, back in '98, this is the van that pulled out in front of me when I was on my '96 Kawasaki ZX-7R… locked up the rear wheel and parallel broadsided it at speed. Solid ride…………………. **flashback/convulsion!!**
Oy. Not good.
Indeed K2. It could have been A LOT worse though. By the time I spotted Me-maw roll out into the road I was able to slow it down to about 45-ish mph. (speed limit was 60 and in all candor I was going the speed limit at that time) Considering the impact blew out every window in the van (except the front), I got off "easy" with a lacerated spleen, bruised kidneys and a banged up left knee. Silver lining: she had good insurance and they were cool. Put some money in the bank + paid off my mint, one owner '91 Twin-Turbo 300ZX that I had recently pick up.
I've only laid down a bike twice, knock wood. Once while parking on a San Francisco hill; hopped off to open a gate and heard a crash behind me. Oops, that was stupid. The other time, I saw it coming -a similar situation to yours, I think- and I laid it down instead of hitting them head-on. Thankfully, I was fulling suited up and was even wearing a spine protector. Back then, only weirdos who thought they were Ducati racers did such things. Boy, was I glad I was a weirdo. Most of pals wouldn't even deign to wear a bucket on their heads. I once met a guy with no chin because of such a decision and that made up my mind toot sweet.
Those injuries you suffered sound distinctly uncomfortable and unpleasant. I'm sorry you had that happen to you. Price of riding, though. Other drivers are always the danger.
That TT sounds awesome, though. Do you still have it?
Wood knocked! Good on ya for the gear. I especially love the guys who latch the helmet to the back of their bike. It's like… why even carry it with you!?
Sold the 300. It was 5 years old when I got it, but with only 28k. I drove it daily and a lot. Had a little over 80k on it 3 years later. Great car. Kept the motor stock, but had ECU, air intake and full exhaust done. Supra's were still quicker (with similar upgrades) but not by much.
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Ha! Yeah…it's bizarre. I also don't understand people who ride wearing shorts…and sandals?!? Sorry to hear you don't have your TT any longer but sounds like it was a great car for you. Do you ride a Can-Am and why is the Spyder RT-S SE-6 more costly than the other models?
I had an AllTrac Previa and dearly loved it. A lot of the smaller parts on these (windshield wipers, brake lines, random fasteners) seem to be turning into unobtanium though. I had trouble getting parts for it before the rust became terminal.
@EmmyJ; I'm still curious about what automotive journalism you've written and for whom. That's very cool and I'd like to read some of your work!