This Toyota Mirage RV is not an illusion
If your New Year’s resolution is to sell all your possessions, build a custom camper, and hit the open road, we just found the perfect starting point. This 1982 Toyota Mirage we came across on eBay is a retro time capsule that hits all the right (weird) notes. Just look at this thing! Doesn’t it inspire you to dig through boxes to find all your old Huey Lewis tapes?
There’s a good chance you’ve never seen a Toyota Mirage, even if you’re a vintage camper enthusiast. For its economy and versatility, the Toyota Pickup was a favorite for camper conversion companies of the late 1970s, and the Mirage is the rarest and strangest retro Toyota camper, of which there were many. If you want to stand out among the droves of the Toyota Chinooks, Sunraders, Warriors, and Dolphins, the Mirage is your best bet. Just remember that novelty is a doubled-edged sword; be prepared to have your hammock time cut short by a lot of curious campers.
Retro campers are gaining popularity among the #vanlife crowd, and dedicated adherents to this lifestyle often completely overhaul their vehicle interiors while preserving a classic exterior look. One upside of the Mirage is that its designers focused on aesthetics more than their competitors. The one-piece fiberglass shell appears as either curved or angular depending on where you are standing, but it somehow looks cohesive. Like a spaceship or boat designed by Picasso.
The custom, curved front spoiler with amber driving lights is a feature only seen on the first couple years of Mirage conversions, when these campers still used the third-generation Toyota Pickup as a base. From 1984 on, Mirages wear a typical forth-generation Toyota Pickup front facia with no extra styling. (Cue sad trombone noise.)
Just because it looks funky doesn’t mean the Mirage lacks utility. This particular camper is well-optioned and can comfortably sleep four adults who don’t hate each other. The kitchen features a built-in sink and plenty of storage, but it’s unclear if a stove and refrigerator are included. None of this will turn away anyone looking to restore such a Mirage, as they’d will likely swap out any old appliances for new, more efficient ones.
The Mirage offered two floor plans with different door locations. The 1982 Mirage featured here has the most popular floor plan with a rear door. The back hatch hinges at the top to create an instant canopy, while also allowing bikes or an ATV to easily be stored inside. This comes at the expense of a true bathroom, but a composting toilet was offered as a compromise.
The other floor plan was the practical choice and featured a typical side entrance with a full bathroom occupying the rear. But if you were a gearhead who couldn’t sleep without your motorcycle by your side, the rear hatch option was a no-brainer. Notice the hinges at the top of the rear hatch. The entire panel opens so you can load an ATV!
Overall, this Mirage is in good shape. The exterior is solid, and some minor work will get it looking brand-new. The fiberglass shell appears to be in good shape and its single-piece construction should be resistant to leaking. The listing claims the camper runs well and just needs an alternator. 45,000 total miles means it’s likely sat for some time, but the 22R engine should be reliable enough to get you anywhere. Though, with only 97 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, you won’t be getting there quickly.
This 1982 Toyota Mirage sold with a winning bid of $8700 on eBay, but it’s still listed on Copart. Maybe the eBay deal fell through?
Considering how values have been skyrocketing for old Toyota Pickups, the current $8500 price listed on Copart is very tempting. Whoever the next owner is, they will have a strong start to what could, with a little elbow grease, turn into a totally unique camper.