A Classic Case of “While I Was In There…”
Last week we introduced you to Ward Hayward, and his super cool L400 Delica Space Gear Van, nicknamed Gandalf. Beyond the sliding rear door, this turbo diesel 4X4 Mitsubishi has about as much in common with our North American minivans as Gandalf does with Dumbledore. Sure, they’re both wizards, but they exist for very different worlds.
Ward’s Delica started off pretty stock, but like many of us, Ward got the bug, and soon he was happily modding it to suit his needs better. I asked Ward to document some of his, after he’d said he’d “made a few changes.” I think once he started writing them down he realized there was quite an extensive list!
Light Bar Leads to CB
I started with upgrading the stereo. [I] couldn’t get any radio stations and the weird disk reader it had. I couldn’t even find disks in Japan for it? I added front fog lights and rear LED flood lights, switches and relays as well as indicator LEDs in the factory unused switch holes. I then removed the factory volt meter from the gauge pod on the dash and added a boost gauge, picked up a small digital volt meter and installed that in the dash where a blank unused switch was.
Daytime running lights were a requirement for the inspection. I then decided it needed a light bar (all 4X4’s need a light bar) so I welded one up, moved the antenna to it and used the factory antenna mount as a cable entry point to bring the antenna cable and power wires out. I saw a few Delicas on the auction sites that had a parking pole on the left side of the bull bar [but] I could not find one any where so I decided to weld a tab on the bar and make my own. The bull bar needed to be removed and repainted anyway. I found a CB antenna to use as a pole and figured if I’m going to put an antenna on it I might as well attach it to a CB. That meant getting a centre console to put between the front seats so I had a place to mount the CB.
Need a Bigger Spare? Build a Roofrack!
From there I found my spare tire was factory size and my wheels and tires had been upgraded to a larger size. I needed a bigger spare [so I] bought that and found it wouldn’t fit under the back end in the basket. Now I needed a roof rack: that also meant a ladder to get the spare up there. The roof rack had to be as low profile as possible to accommodate the spare and still fit under my 8 foot garage door. A bit of time planning and some time in the garage with a conduit bender and a welder and I had a roof rack and ladder. I added space to it to accommodate a couple of fuel cans and some storage. This was my most fun project to date and looks damn good too if I say so myself.
Necessity is the Mother of…
The next project came out of necessity. After a camping trip out to the west coast and back we found the rear door worked great as an awning when we stopped for lunch but we needed a table. I designed and welded a small folding table that attaches to the rear door latch ring. [There is] lots of room for our lunch and maybe a cold beverage or two. My daughter sewed a great storage bag to hold it and allows it to be stored securely at the back door.
Unicorn Teeth Belong on a Unicorn So…
My most recent mod was a snorkel. They are as hard to find as unicorn teeth, but I found one for sale on the Delica Canada Facebook page and couldn’t turn it down. It took a few hours to install and weirdly enough has increased my fuel mileage.
What’s Next For Gandalf?
My next project is to upgrade the speakers. My son Taylor is a 12 volt technician at Visions. He has built a sub box to go between the front seats. It will hold an 8 inch down firing sub, the amp, a power inverter and my CB, will have cup holders and a few other special features. The factory speakers have been going one by one. It’s definitely time.
I have also purchased an oil catch can, just need to find a location under the hood to install it.
Somewhere down the road an exhaust gas temperatures gauge will happen too. It will mount in the gauge pod in the empty slot where the inclinometer used to live.
We will keep in touch with Ward, and update this project in a future article, once he and Gandalf have pulled off some more magic.