July 6, 2020

We're back! Thank you for your patience during the move.


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New Member - UK

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Explorer98
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

New Member - UK

Post by Explorer98 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:00 pm

Hey guys!

Just found this very nice place after buying my second Astro. Had an '87 around 25 years ago then this one came along recently and since it wasn't full of teak, tassels and twinkly lights (rare over here!), I just had to have it!

Bought it as a '96 but a bit of work based on the VIN reveals that it is in fact a February '98 van so we're already winning!

It's a 4.3, 2WD LT - Japanese export model (as many which come to the UK seem to be) and it hasn't exactly been loved but it will be now.

Best to you all, Jon.

So begins the journey...!!
'98 Astro LT, Japanese Export model now with me in the UK. Thus begins the restoration......!

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timelessbeing
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Re: New Member - UK

Post by timelessbeing » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:31 am

Welcome Jon. I never knew these were sold in the land of the rising sun.

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Herbie
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Re: New Member - UK

Post by Herbie » Wed Jul 08, 2020 3:27 pm

timelessbeing wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:31 am
Welcome Jon. I never knew these were sold in the land of the rising sun.
Yep, the Astro/Safari has a surprisingly strong following in Japan. Bordering on fanatic-levels of support there, in that wonderful Otaku way that so many Japanese sub-cultures manifest.

Of my meager number of instagram followers, probably a full 10% are from Japan and most have their own awesomely clean vans.

Welcome, Jon!
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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timelessbeing
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Re: New Member - UK

Post by timelessbeing » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:44 pm

Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing photos of these vans from Japan with extreme body modifications like enormous wings n stuff. But I just assumed they imported them. I have also seen people in the UK and Germany with conversion vans. But I don't think I've never seen photos of a right-hand-drive Astro. So yours was made in a Japanese plant then, Jon? Fascinating. I wonder if there are many differences. :-k

Explorer98
I am merely driving my van
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:11 pm
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How many wheels are on an Astro van? (4): 4

Re: New Member - UK

Post by Explorer98 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:43 am

No, it was built in the good ole USA - Baltimore I believe - but just to a slightly different spec and still LHD. Reading the RPO sheet, there's something different in the emissions (probably more relaxed than the US in '98), it has a metric dash (as first I thought it might be Canadian) and the lights are different a) because Japan drive on the left and b) their rear lighting requirements are more akin to ours here in the UK.

The radio would have been different but that was lone gone when we got the van.

One great advantage (for me) is that the Japanese model has a different rear bumper with recessed reversing lights. These just happen to be identical to the rear fogs fitted to my '99 Ford Explorer so my Astro now has one white and one (rewired) red to comply with UK law. SO much neater than a crappy bolt-on thing hanging from the bumper!!

What made this one special is that it's mega-rare over here to find a factory MPV (passenger van). What we usually get from Japan are the Starcraft (et al) conversion vans which arrive with huge front bumpers, high roof conversion, hideous teak interiors (visibly screwed to the plastics) and an interior generally reminiscent of a Victorian brothel.

Not my bag I'm afraid! I like my 'extras' to look like they've always been there - hence my use of a Metra kit to integrate my double-din stereo. I just can't do with bits 'hanging off' my vehicles.

It's all about the finish doncha know! I like things to be tidy.
'98 Astro LT, Japanese Export model now with me in the UK. Thus begins the restoration......!

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