The precursor of the Minica was the Mitsubishi 360, a series of vans and Kei trucks introduced in 1961. Designed for the lowest kei car vehicle tax classification, it was powered by a 356cc engine producing 17PS (17hp/13kW). After the successful introduction of the Minica, the 360 continued alongside until 1966.
The first Minica was first introduced as a two-door sedan based on the Mitsubishi 360, with a front-mounted ME21 359cc twin cylinder two stroke air-cooled engine driving the rear wheels, transverse leaf springs in front and beam axle/leaf springs at the rear.
In 1966, the Mitsubishi Minicab cab-over pickup truck was launched to replace the Mitsubishi 360. Powered by the same air cooled two-stroke 359cc engine as the Minica, it came with cargo gates on three sides to simplify loading and unloading.
The second generation Minica was introduced in July 1969 with a three-door sedan body, 359cc OHV engine and coil springs front and rear. Two 2G21 SOHC water-cooled powerplants were optionally available, the Red 28hp (21kW) engine and the Gold engine fitted with twin SU carburetors developing 38hp (28kW), which was fitted as standard to the GSS sport model. A two-door wagon body was added in December, which would remain in production until the fourth generation in the early 1980s.