JDM Compact Karting Van - Build Thread

Your eyes are not deceiving you, it is right-hand drive. It’s a Japanese import. They were only available there and a couple other markets like Australia and the Middle East.

The guy I bought this from imported it to the US in May.

Try and keep up Bob! :wink:

Just mount front tires on the rear hubs, pull off the nerf bars and rear bumper and it’ll make it through the 53 inch opening. Thats 4 bolts and 6 lug nuts, super quick and easy.

Hah! Thats my life story!

So no drive through McDonalds for you!

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Got the frame for the kart platform welded up and got my tables put in.

So my dad and I brainstormed this quite a bit. This framework is four pieces, so it can be easily removed and stored when I don’t need it. I wanted to make sure whatever I put in here for racking is easily removed and if possible, doesn’t drill holes into the van. That way when I go to resell this thing, it isn’t Swiss cheese, as I imagine the next owner isn’t going to move karts with it. Or maybe they will see this build thread and buy it expressly for that purpose!

It’s got tabs on the sides to keep the tables in place. We will be powdercoating it and then putting some rubber tubing on the tops of the frame to keep the tables from sliding forward and backward.

The cool thing about this frame is it leaves basically all the room underneath for storage, with no supports in the way, so we should be able to get a kart stand and other junk in there more easily. I’ve got some milk crates for storage too which will go under, and I’ll be cramming whatever else where it fits in there too.

When I get to the track, I’ll be able to pull the stand out, pull the kart out onto the stand, pull the tables out for work space, and then I’ll have easy access to all the things under the framework. And if I needed to huddle up in the van for inclement weather or to take a nap or whatever, I can pull the framework out really easily.


or, make a bed attachment for the framework! Take out your kart, slide in a bed, and boom, instant comfort


If you weren’t claustrophobic, someone could conceivably sleep on the floor under the platform (I climbed in there, it’s cozy), and someone on top of the platform, so it could serve as a nice little camper!

Velcro a tablet to the underside and you can watch your onboards while you sleep :joy:

Honestly lots of people like small spaces for sleeping. It can be comforting. But after a long day of karting youll probably want all the room and cushions you can get

Nice looking fabrication.

How are you securing the kart? I have had good luck using a snowmobile ski tie-down across the back of the frame.

Thanks, my dad’s the fabricator, so I can’t take credit for the welds.

The van has cargo hook tie-downs in the back, basically right near the feet of the framework. So I’ll be running ratchet straps from there, up over the table and over the frame of the kart front and rear.

I think you bought too soon…

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I just saw that one too. I think a wrap job may be in my future…

I’m hunting down a Nissan Homy/Caravan or Toyota Hiace for the next van project after this one. Love the “one-box” design of those vans.

The Koyen Collection begins?

The Koyen Kollection is the name of my great uncle’s restaurant up on Washington Island in Door County Wisconsin. Stop in for fresh fish, Friday fish boils, a beer, or live music!

We need a bigger garage before I can start collecting goofy import cars.

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@tjkoyen 's version of this, but with Japanese import vans. :grinning:

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Not true. At drive-throughs the passenger does the ordering or you just drive through backwards! :rofl: :rofl:

I grew up riding around in my Dad’s 1972 Datsun 240 Z, right hand drive with a 5 speed manual gearbox. Exclusive to the Japanese market. In fact he bought it in Japan brand new while he was stationed in Thailand. That thing was a Beast back in the day. I remember us taking it on the Autobahn in Germany, through one of the unlimited speed sections. Pop opened it up, dropped a gear and it just pulled to nearly 200 Kph (124 Mph) before he backed out of it. I also remember seeing fuel gauge needle dropping as it started sucking the tank down under such heavy acceleration and speed.

Another funny story was when I around 4 or 5 years old, I would be sitting in the passenger seat holding up his windshield squeegee like it was a steering wheel and pretend I was driving. It got us pulled over by the Military Police a few times. It was pretty funny seeing the look on their faces when they walked up to the car and realized I was not the one driving. The first few times, my Dad would chuckle, but after that I think he was getting annoyed. I always found it hysterical! :rofl:


Keep this up and you’ll need to build a shop or a pole barn to house these vans, lol.

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Finally drove on down to Franklin Motorsports today to pick up the new whip and see if the hamster van can eat a whole kart.

With rear wheels off, it allllllmost fits. Pods could probably squeeze through but easier to just take one off, along with the rear bumper. Then it rolls right in onto my platform. Strapped down to the cargo tie-downs and it’s pretty nice and stable in there.

Need some curtains or to tint the rear windows so it doesn’t look like I’m displaying the kart to the public…

The plan was to get it set up and give it a couple break-in sessions before my coaching session this afternoon, but I was way behind schedule so I didn’t get a chance to get it out today.

Not many free days left before the track closes for the year so hopefully I can get it together and get a day in yet this year. Hard to believe the season is already winding down.


That steering wheel is a thing of beauty!

The van itself looks rather racey with the BBS wheels.