Ok, so it’s a Caravan not a Homy… but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it’s currently say outside my house! Yay! Yes, the E23 arrived in Southampton a few days ago and after a bit of paperwork and more wallet draining by Her Majesty’s Taxman, I was able to go and collect it from the docks. I am so happy to have got hold of one of these beauties before the prices climb out of my reach. The journey was uneventful, with my latest workhorse tow wagon, a 2005 Hyundai Terracan, not even breaking a sweat…

The E23, and the E20 before it, were both sold here in the UK, for earlier van badged an a Datsun E20 and the later one as an Urvan. Both are almost extinct here and, as we only really got them as panel vans or minibuses, most got worked to death, before the final battered survivors were shipped off to Africa in the 1990s. The few left are ones that have been converted to campers, but I really didn’t want a camper, especially as they all seem to have been fitted with elevating roofs.

We never got anything close to the spec of this Caravan SGL. This is closer to being a people carrier than anything else. Inside, there’s seating for eight and a good degree of versatility in the rear, which allows the seats to fold flat into a bed. There’s also the option of rotating the centre bench to face the rear. The rear compartment also gets its own separate heating system, although unusually for a JDM model, no air conditioning on this one. The interior velour is in a glorious shade of coppery brown, with the patterned sections of trim in what looks much like a miniature Porsche Pascha pattern. Aside from a couple of small cigarette burns, the interior is in pretty nice shape.

Underneath, there’s the good old SOHC two litre Z20 engine, with a floor shift 5 speed. The engine starts up right away and sound good. This is a twin spark version which is also equipped with a catalytic converter, despite having a carburettor. The steering is power assisted, but there are few other luxuries such as power windows. However it makes up for that by having an absolutely massive electric sunroof in the rear… which sadly doesn’t seem to work at the moment. Oh well, there’s the first job on the list! Actually, it’s the second… the first job was to fit the lovely wood rim Izumi steering wheel, which I’ve been saving for this van!

The body is in perfect shape underneath, but there are a few rust bubbles appearing here and there, although none look like they will be a lot of work to fix. Paintwork shouldn’t be difficult with it being white, however it’s not the original colour (it was silver) so I don’t know what actual code colour it is. I plan to locate all the parts with which to change the front and and bumpers to the early style E23 as i think it’s a better look. This one has already been converted to round headlights as it would have originally been twin rectangular lights so that’s a bonus.

First things first though… I need to get at through an MOT test and registered before i can do much else. I can’t see much that will need doing, other than adding a rear fog light to meet UK regulations. Then I’ll be looking at replacing the polished Nissan Elgrand wheels it currently has, with something a little more attractive and getting the ride height sorted.

Hopefully in little more than a couple of weeks it’ll be on the road!

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