You’ve never heard of the Mitsubishi Bravo before and we don’t blame you. Half of our staff hasn’t either, but at least we know a thing or two about Kei car (pronounced “kay”). Kei cars are the smallest and most affordable street legal vehicles sold in Japan. They’re regulated by size, displacement and power, have been around since World War II, and still remain popular today.
Most people that drop a lot of money on a right-hand-drive JDM import would invest into something like a Skyline or Silvia. The last thing on their minds would be a Kei car or microvan, right? Joe’s been around Japanese cars all of his life but the moment he laid eyes on this particular Bravo earlier this year, his mind was set.
The mini Mitsubishi weighs just a hair more than a Smart car, but comes packed with more functionality and flavor. Surprisingly, there’s ample room whether sitting in the front or rear, which Joe can attest to as he’s not a petite guy. There’s also plenty of space in the trunk, making it a more than capable vehicle for a weekend road trip or serving as a parts runner.
Aftermarket modifications remain minimal outside of a set of Enkei wheels, two-tone vinyl wrap job, steering wheel and upgraded sound system, but that’s all the Kei project really warranted. Joe explains that he enjoys the Bravo with his wife and young daughter, who’ll likely inherit the microvan once she’s old enough to drive years from now.
Before our photoshoot was done, Joe threw me the keys to take it for a spin around downtown L.A. and let me tell you, this thing is wicked fun to drive! Perhaps the slowest thing I’ve ever got behind the wheel of, but I’ve never been waved at or given a thumbs up in so many instances within a 10-minute window. From folks just admiring its cute stature, noticing the right-hand-drive, or giggling at the computerized Japanese voice when I’m in reverse (you’ll have to watch the video to know what I’m talking about). Yes, this Kei van is one of the coolest JDM things I’ve seen all year, or maybe I’m just having major withdrawals from not visiting Japan in 2020…
1994 Mitsubishi Bravo Super Exceed Details
53hp; 49 lb-ft of torqueENGINE 660cc four-cylinder engineDRIVETRAIN three-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel-driveFOOTWORK & CHASSIS stockBRAKES stockWHEELS & TIRES 15×7” Enkei Enkei92 wheels; 195/50R15 Hankook Ventus tiresEXTERIOR 3M Light Pistachio and Satin Silver vinyl wrap by Gotch Design; JDM reverse alarm; 3D printed rear emblems; 1997-spec side mirrorsINTERIOR NRG Innovations wood grain steering wheel; HKB Boss steering wheel hub adapter; LED lights; custom sound system with 6.5” Sundown subwoofer