Arnold Klappe was on an ambitious overland tour of East Africa when he saw an unusually angular Japanese van that spoke to his adventurous, West Coast soul.

It was his first glimpse of the famed Mitsubishi Delica, a boxy, diesel-powered vehicle that strongly resembles the iconic Volkswagen vans of a bygone era.

“Everyone has those thoughts: ‘If I won a million dollars what would I do?’” Mr. Klappe says. “I’d buy a Delica, modify it a bit – and drive it around the world.”

When Mr. Klappe returned to Canada, he was delighted to find vintage Delicas shipped across the Pacific from Japan were enjoying a mini-renaissance in his native British Columbia. Their niche popularity has spawned a Delica drivers’ club. But there are also safety concerns about Delicas, with various provinces and organizations across the country mobilizing to prevent even more of the vehicles from washing up on Canada’s shores.

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