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We took a trip to Japan’s ultimate aftermarket show to find the best new parts available in the mini truck motherland. As always, the show didn’t disappoint! Check out the cool parts and custom mini trucks that were on display this year, and let us know which parts you’re going to put on your mini truck!
See Japanese Mini Trucks For Sale
By far the best display of mini trucks and vans was at the Daihatsu booth. They had three Hijet-based mini trucks on display, all of which brought a unique flavor of fun and practicality to the table. They seem to be kicking off a kid-friendly marketing strategy and their booth was totally fun for all ages! We’re glad to see an automaker getting the next generation of gearheads excited about mini trucks, engines, and automotive adventuring in general. Here are their latest mini truck concepts.
Japan’s technology and culture is world famous, and the ultimate intersection of those worlds is Vocaloid, computer generated pop stars. Hatsune Miku is one of the most famous vocaloid singers out there, and she doesn’t let reality get in her way. She has thousands of real life fans across the globe and plenty of merch to sell in her Hijet pop-up shop.
This retro-themed Hijet was converted to be a little merch store. The application is really clever and would make for a great display for any local business who wanted to sell wares at street fairs and festivals. Notice how the tables and the billboards also serve as the walls of the box enclosure on the bed. When the shop is closed you can simply pack everything up and fold the tables up into the walls. Daihatsu always knows how to keep it fun and practical.
Light You Up” is Daihatsu’s new company vision that “encourages you to express yourself freely and vigorously.” This is one of the most vigorous Hijets we’ve seen, that’s for sure. The paint has more sparkle than a lush bath bomb factory, and the subwoofer “fog lights” would fit right in on a West Coast Customs pimp my mini truck special.
This is based on a Hijet Jumbo, which features an enlarged cabin for a bit more space inside. We dig the clever use of the Jumbo’s rear cabin window as an equalizer. And the whole DJ setup in the bed looks functional and fun!
We’re not sure if those steps pack up nicely into the bed with all of the other equipment, but you probably wouldn’t need them to. One of the great benefits of mini trucks is that they’re so easy to get in and out of. Bed heights are low enough to easily load and unload cargo while standing, or to simply climb in and out of the bed. Definitely easier than modern pickups and their high belt-lines.
To further the practicality, you can see this whole stage setup packs nicely into the bed with a hard cover that comes down like a clamshell. This is totally a custom setup that Daihatsu whipped up, but it proves that mini trucks can be adapted to do just about anything!
The interior is the icing on the cake! Who needs cup holders when you’ve got the golden mics!? Combine these with the microphone shifter you you’ve got a karaoke master’s dream whip. Excuse us for a moment while we track down the karaoke version of “Don’t Stop Believing”.
This is definitely the most adventurous rig that Daihatsu had to offer this year, and we love it! It sort of looks like a miniature version of a Dakar Rally Truck from its Toyota cousin, Hino. It’s not just looks either, this little Hijet has all you need for a day of mountain climbing. You could even get some practice in right on the side of it!
This concept is also built on a Hijet Jumbo, with the extended cab from the factory. They’ve added a roof basket with a lightbar for some late night climbing sessions. This and the side-mounted tool box seem to be the only off-the-shelf modifications on the truck, everything else is quite custom.
The bed is the real star of this rig. It features a full metal frame to hang all of your cargo, as well as the enclosed walls and hatch to lock everything up tightly. For some true overlanding action, there’s even a mattress in the back so you can do overnight mountain treks.
The mostly stock interior shows how far mini trucks have come in 2020, with modern amenities like automatic transmissions, climate control, navigation, and more. It wasn’t so long ago that mini trucks were very bare-bones vehicles. It’s nice that you can get some creature comforts in them if you want to.
The Honda Vamos was one of the predecessors to the modern Honda Acty mini truck, based on the Honda TN360 truck that started the lineage. This one has been restored into a nautical themed beach cruiser by FAF, and it looks sweet.
The woodwork is really where this truck shines. These finely finished boards can be found on the floorboard and across the bed behind it. The additional trim on the dash and steering wheel all looks exquisite.
Whitewall tires with tri-spokes sticking out to give it a bit of a SLAB vibe. The bars on the back complete the whole boat/beach vibe nicely. We’d love to cruise down through Okinawa in one of these any day!
The all new Suzuki Jimni is arguably the hottest kei car out there right now, but don’t forget that Suzuki makes some other awesome off-roaders. This humble Suzuki Every van has been given the Jimny treatment, and we dig the look of it! It’s also sporting a lift kit and a roof-mounted tent to cover all of your camping needs. Even though you can’t get the new Jimny in the states, you could totally get an Every and fool your friends with this kit!
This is a great example of what mini trucks are really capable of. This Deck Van features an aggressive lift kit, some beefy tires, and a solid front axle swap. We’ve got no doubts about the capabilities of this truck, it could go just about anywhere.
Just looks that that suspension, isn’t it lovely?
What makes this truck even better is that it’s a Deck Van! Deck vans are built off of the Hijet Cargo mini van platform, but have an open cargo area behind the rear seats. You get the benefits of a full 5 seater front cabin and the van’s sliding door to go with your bed and tailgate. We’d call it the best of both worlds, wouldn’t you agree?
Car show builds are meant to show us the absolute limits of capability and creativity. This Suzuki Carry is getting pretty close to that threshold. This build features a full frame exoskeleton and completely reworked suspension. We were a bit sad to see this hidden behind some new G-Wagens in their display, this should be front and center!
The rear-mounted spare tires are a great touch, giving it that trophy-truck vibe. We’d love to see what this thing is capable of out on the trails.
There’s a trend among Japanese aftermarket companies to make every off-roader look retro, and we love it! The 70’s vibe is strong with these side graphics and round headlights. Bonus points for the smiley face fog lamps, those are always a win!
This Every isn’t all show either, featuring a roof-mounted tent, beefed up suspension bits, and just about everything you’d need to do a major overlanding trip in your micro van.
There were so many nice Hijet’s on display this year and Tarbow’s “Bug Truck” was definitely up there on the top of the list. This truck features a custom front fascia with a really retro looking grill, and a nice overall old-school package.
The back of this Hijet is remarkable as well. From top to bottom it’s been redone in nice wood paneling, with shelves and racks for storage or sleeping. There’s even a curtain to separate the cab from the back for extra privacy when camping overnight. This is an extremely custom job and the craftsmanship is excellent.
How about a blinged out Suzuki “S” to go along with your 13” rims? These luxurious Suzuki badges will make your Carry shine among the pack. Though we think the Hustler is a bit more fitting of a name to receive the bling treatment. Might just get one of those to hang from our neck, what do you think?
This was a showing of some of Japan’s top parts manufacturers and custom shops. Most of the parts you see are only available on the Japanese market, and it can be hard for non-Japanese speakers to get a hold of them. Contact us if you’re looking for any mini truck parts, factory or aftermarket, and we’ll get them to you.