1994 Mitsubishi Minica Dangan 4
The End of the Kei Wars
When the “Bubble” economy of Japan went bust in early 1992, automotive companies had a big problem. Would they be able to find buyers for the high-end luxury and sports cars which they spent millions of dollars developing? Unfortunately, because of the sunk costs of development, the companies were forced to produce and try to sell the vehicles they had created for a booming Japanese economy. As we can see now, the companies were forced to cut costs for future development and cars in the late 90’s were less than inspiring when compared to Japanese cars from the 80’s and early 90’s. One of the biggest victims of bubble burst was the 4 seater sports kei car, and the one that ruled them all: Mitsubishi’s Minica Dangan 4.
The Minica Dangan 4 was a marvel. Front and rear disk brakes? Check. Full time 4WD? Check. Twin scroll turbo? Check. Worlds smallest 20 valve engine? Check. ABS? Check. On top of that, it was a 4 seater. Kei vehicles at the time were (and are still) mandated to be 64 hp or less, so that’s what Mitsubishi claimed it made and called it a day. The engine was designed in the “if 4 valves/cylinder is good, 5 valves/cylinder is even better,” era. While real world applications don’t show any significant gains over a 4 valve/cylinder engine, the technology needed to get this done in such a small package is amazing, even 25 years later. It can most likely be said that we will never see another 5 valve/cylinder kei vehicle again until technology catches up to the vision of 80’s and 90’s engine designers. The engine is said to be close to a motorcycle engine in terms of power curve with the twin scroll turbos helping to gain boost quickly. Maximum power is made at an amazing 7,500 rpm with a 9,000 rpm redline.
The Full-time 4WD also meant that you could drive in any weather condition on any surface. Creature comforts such as AC and power windows meant you could do it comfortably. Front and rear disk brakes and power steering meant that you could get there safely and 4 seats meant that you could do so with 3 other people.
The Mitsubishi Minica Dangan 4 is finally available for legal entry to the USA and buyers are snapping them up. Other kei 4 seater such as the Daihatsu Mira Turbo and Subar Vivio RX-R are also available in Japan for reasonable prices. Japan Car Direct can help you find your own kei car or truck as well as any other JDM or import car for very reasonable prices. Please contact us today for all your full service import needs.