By on April 13, 2015

08 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t use the Miserable Econoboxes tag as much as I should, but I’m using it here fore shore, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuinely punitive commuter appliance than the wretched Subaru Justy (the two-wheel-drive version, that is; the four-wheel-drive Justy, particularly when dressed in a weird early-90s paint color, is a lot of fun for mud/snow hoonage). As incredibly cheap, disposable subcompacts, just about all the 2WD Justys (Justies?) got scrapped at least a decade ago, so I don’t see many in wrecking yards now. Here’s one!
11 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI know that there will be those who claim that they got 400,000 maintenance-free miles out of a Justy, and those who claim that some other miserable econobox (the Ford Festiva? Yugo GV? Pontiac (Daewoo) LeMans?) was worse, but it’s hard to argue with the Justy’s combination of washing-machine-box interior, three-cylinder engine, and not-quite-ready-for-real-world-use CVT transmission.
14 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least this one has a proper 5-speed manual transmission.
05 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to pin this down, but it is possible that the Justy was the last car sold new in the United States with a carburetor (another candidate is the early-90s LTD Police Interceptor with 351W engine). By 1993, though, even the lowly Justy (or at least this one) came with EFI.
13 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinNo way of telling how many miles are on the clock, since Subaru took a page from Detroit’s book and used a five-digit odometer in this car.
12 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinBad as the Justy was, you could get one for $7,463 in 1993. Yes, if you just had to drive a new car in 1993 and you were too skinflinty for the (still miserable but much better) $7,858 Toyota Tercel or the $7,995 Mazda 323, and for some reason the Suzuki Swift ($7,299), Geo Metro ($6,710), and Ford Festiva ($6,991) didn’t seem right, you could get a Justy. Even the ’93 Hyundai Excel— still pretty vile at that point but nowhere near as hateful as the earlier versions— could be purchased for just $6,899.
07 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, bad as the Justy 2WD was, it was a car. That meant that it beat the hell out of public transportation, and it meant that a working stiff could get afford a shiny new commuter (with warranty) on a modest salary. I mention this because I’m still getting shit for having written that the ’14 Mitsubishi Mirage was perfectly tolerable by Miserable Econobox standards, while John Pearley Huffman believes it is worse than taking the bus (Jason Torchinsky, one of the only writers to agree with me that the Mirage wasn’t so bad, tore Mr. Huffman a new one over that). Terrible little entry-level econoboxes today are so much better than their counterparts 20 years ago that everybody who reviews one today should be forced to spend a week in a ’93 Justy prior to driving the new car.


Such a smart boy!

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85 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Subaru Justy...”


  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Last car sold with a carb was an isuzu pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Car. Car is not the same category as truck. I thought we decided the final truck with carb category was won by the Grand Wagoneer for 1993.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        The Grand Wagoneer is special because even in ’93, it was NOT a feedback carb – it was jetted at the factory and retained that mixture for life.

        The Hitachi carburetor used on the Isuzu 2.3 was a high-tech feedback carb with an O2 sensor and an electronic brain for mixture-control.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          When did cars switch to feedback style with electronic involvement?

          Hard to believe in 1998 or 99 there were Grand Wagoneers under factory warranty driving around, with ancient carbs.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          The Grand Wagoneer that was sold in ’93 was a trim level of the Grand Cherokee and it was fuel injected. The last factory carbureted Jeep was the ’91 Grand Wagoneer (SJ) that dated back to the early 60’s.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “The Grand Wagoneer is special because even in ’93, it was NOT a feedback carb – it was jetted at the factory and retained that mixture for life.”

          You mean it was jetted at the factory and the mixture gradually drifted to whatever or some variation on whatever during its service life. ;)

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Speaking of which, for the first time ever last week I saw a circa 2002 S10, but it was an Isuzu. I only noticed it because I thought, “Hey, that S10 has a weird front.”

      They really must have sold very few of those, whatever they were called, for me to only see one in my life. That’s the same number of McLaren MP4-12C’s I have seen.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Isuzu Hombre is what you’re looking for. Much like the last “Mitsubishi” Raider, an oddity that came to exist for purely monetary gain. At least that was the the idea, as none of them moved without big money on the hood. The only reason to buy one over the identical S-10 or Dakota was the Japanese brands had longer warranties, but terrible resale value. See Toyota Corolla/Geo Prizm

        I understand that the domestics “stole” their small trucks from their Japanese partners from the late 70’s until the S-10/Ranger/Dakota appeared. But it didn’t work very well in reverse in the early 00’s.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Ah ha, thanks. I had heard the name before, but I had always thought the Hombre was the later version name of the Amigo (after it got more rounded styling).

          http://zombiedrive.com/image-model/5257-1997-isuzu-hombre-8.jpg.html

          In certain colors and wheels, it has a little Trooper-truck look about it. The one I saw was just boring green.

          • 0 avatar

            The last version of the Amigo was actually named the “Rodeo Sport”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It made sense to me too, even.

            You graduate from being a “friend” to “brother!” That’s how much better the new Amigo was.

            (In my mind.)

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            @madanthony: I love when a different vehicle is advertised as being a Sport!

            And now Mitsubishi sells an Outlander Sport, which seems to still just be the Outlander…

      • 0 avatar

        Oh. That’d be the Isuzu Hombre. Indeed, they are rare; I’ve only ever seen one.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I had an 89 Isuzu pick up, i am pretty sure it was FI. Was the 2.6 liter that ate heads.

  • avatar
    AmcEthan

    izusu kept carbs as an option until 1998. they were standard on izusu amigos and pickups until 1994. both my 1993 amigo and my 1997 have carbs. IMO runs just as good as the EFI ones do. millions of vacume lines.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The Subaru Justy was the first mass produced car sold in the U.S. with the CVT.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This HAD to be terrible in CVT format – the CVT is just now becoming mildly acceptable to use in 2015.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      They were pretty bad in CVT. When I worked for AAMCO, we never saw enough of them to get hard reliability numbers, but the CVT was expensive to repair (IIRC around ~$2800CAD) and parts were hard to find. Unless the only internal failure was a snapped pump shaft (semi-common and easy to fix), the conversation usually went something like: “So, your car needs a new transmission. We can scrap the car for you, or you can donate it to the Kidney Foundation.”

  • avatar

    My wife had just learned to drive in ’92 and wanted a small 4WD grocery getter so I bought her a Justy sedan with the ECVT tranny – learning to drive was one thing, learning to drive a stick was another. Color choices at our local Subaru dealer were white or that garish nineties metallic turquoise that was everywhere at the time, so we got a white one. A decent little grocery getter, the Justy gave reliable and rust-free service for a decade (in southern Ontario yet) until the ECVT started whining. Various transmission shops told us it wasn’t worth the $1200 estimated repair cost so off to the scrapyard she went. The Justy that is – still got my wife even tho’ she whines on occasion.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    My roommate in college had one of these, same color and everything. It looked about as beat as this one does, with almost 20 fewer years on it. But, as you say, when the option was riding in the Justy or walking, it looked pretty sweet.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      How do cars that are a couple years old get ruined so quickly?

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Careless, neglectful owners. The sort of people who never change the oil, drive on bald tires, and have trash in the car piled up to where you can see it two lanes away. Their homes look just like the car.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Its like some people have NEVER washed or waxed a vehicle it in entire lifetime. Both my current vehicles are over 12 years old and LOOK new. Granted I’m in FL with no salt, but how much effort is a bucket with some soap in it? Same with the interior. Have these people never heard of a vacuum? Or Armour All? For something that is normally the second most expensive purchase (after your home) why the mess? It has to be lack of pride because a car vac is 75 cents at the gas station.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Your cars are 12 years old, and thus have clear coat, and you should not use soap on them.

          Clear coat means anything should wash off with just water and a sponge, as soap or detergents aren’t great for the clear coat. They break it down.

          Any stuck things like bugs or tar can be removed with a specialized solvent – just make sure you rinse the area afterward with water.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Huh? Never heard that one before. I use a car-specific shampoo mixed with water for regular washes, and a dish detergent based wash at the end of winter for a better clean to lay down a fresh coat of wax on. I understand not washing a car with detergent regularly (like I once did in highschool with an old Civic, with Tide laundry detergent no less). But are you saying using ‘car shampoo’ is somehow bad for clearcoat?

          • 0 avatar

            Using just water and a sponge to wash your car is an express train to scratches and swirl marks. Clearcoat is simply a top coat of paint without any color in it so it’s not like it’s fragile or going to slide right off. I’m not sure where you heard that clearcoated cars can’t be washed with soap but whoever told you that was a moron. Even your owner’s manual will likely tell you to use a ‘soap formulated for vehicle paint’, i.e. no dish soap. I’ve been using car wash soap and microfiber wash mitts and drying towels on my car since day one and it still looks brand new. You should have seen my 2004 Santa Fe at 145,000 miles….even on a car with notoriously bad paint, it was all still there.

            Soap that is designed for car paint (single-stage or clearcoat) will create suds that gently break down and lift away dirt whereas with plain water, you’re just moving the dirt around and putting fine scratches (swirls) into the paint in the process. You can even use dish soap in a pinch but since it’s designed to take greasy food off pots and pans, it’ll take all traces of wax or sealants with it.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            So we may have been using dish soap for a few years (read: the past several decades) when we detail-wash our tractors at the end of every year. It breaks down various unidentifiable greases very well, but might this be harmful to the finish? I’m fairly certain none of them have clearcoat (newest tractor is 2002, but it’s a mid-’90s model). After rinsing off the suds we towel everything with a chamois. It looks niiiice.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well what I said is apparently wrong, but I could swear I read both online and in a manual that soap was not needed for clear coat vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Thus are the dangers of repeating 3rd hand info gleaned from the internet as advice.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks dad!

        • 0 avatar
          AmcEthan

          my daily drivers only get washed once a year and its in the spring. i let the dirt and grease and dust pile up all summer fall and winter then wash it away in spring. my newest car is 14 years old and all of their bodies still look brand new with only one wash a year. i have never washed them, and cleaning interior only means wiping up dust, shaking out floor mats, and picking up trash to me. mind you they are almost all pickups. but they still dont HAVE to be cleaned. all run like a top still.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            Yeah, don’t know where that “no soap” thing came from. I’ve never heard that. I heard a salesman tell my Dad when we bought our Torch Red 1990 Lumina that you didn’t have to wax it anymore because of clearcoat. That must be the reason they all went from being Torch Red to Chalky Tomato.

            I can’t abide by the no wash thing, let alone no wax. Those of you outside the salt belt or where the weather is fair maybe can get away with it. I know my neighbor had a late model Isuzu Rodeo that he never washed and it seemed to fare OK.

            I detail my cars twice a year at least and at least a monthly washing. And at least one trip a month through the car wash in winter. I apply paint sealant with a dual action buffer from Griot’s Garage. Our Mazda 5, with notoriously thin paint, looks pretty good at 7 years old and 44k, though there is usual parking lot rash and dings.

            For all you never wanted to know about cleaning a car, here are my favorites: http://www.autogeek.net or http://www.griotsgarage.com

  • avatar
    sketch447

    Murilee, I just read your AW article. A well-done piece that treated the car fairly. You’re the only auto journalist who didn’t savage that little car.

    I saw the Mirage at my local auto show. Its outward quality seemed straight out of the early 90s. Cheap door hinges, tinny locks, lawn chair seats. But the controls were nice and the car wasn’t pretending to be something it isn’t……

    Would I buy a new Mirage over a (phantom) 3-year-old Civic (that everyone says exists but you can never find?) You betcha.

    Again, nice work on both articles. I like your writing style….

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Sajeev was reasonably understanding of its mission in life, as well. It’s also indicative of just how much the push toward complexity and profit margins has almost wiped out the cheap, stripper segment of the auto market in the global West.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Hard to think of a cheaper looking car. Almost any of the things on the list as competitors at the same price would have been better. I think I’d go with Tercel probably. By 93 it didn’t look too bad, and looked MUCH better than this.

    I have never seen one of these in my life, ever. It looks very much like a Hyundai to me, and much older than 1993. Think about that, 1993, and what the Camry was like in that year.

    And speaking of rare malaise crap, lookie here!
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/161670017832?forcerRptr=true&item=161670017832&viewitem=

    A Jimmy Gypsy! Who knew of such a thing.

    And, a stainless roof New Yorker, in super tones brown.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/201329478288?forcerRptr=true&item=201329478288&viewitem=

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Back in 1990 my dad was purchasing a 91 S-10 Blazer in Tahoe trim with the 4.3 V6. This was before the Tahoe became it’s own full-size model. The 91 models were introduced in early spring that year. In front of the Chevrolet dealer there were a number of S-10’s in a variety of trims such as Woody with wood trim similar to the Gypsy and a Starcraft version with running boards, D-piller trim and 80-81 Z-28 fender vents inserted into the front doors.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You really never see these. I’d love to find a scan of a dealer brochure with the different off the wall options.

        I do believe there was a Blazer Tahoe trim right up through nearly the end of the first square Blazer, 1993 or 94.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had a thing for the Tercel starting with the 93. Cheap and no frills to be sure, but it seemed fairly well screwed together, as it was Toyota’s overbuilding stage. Never had one though.

    I remember the bare bones DX model. Vinyl interior (and not MB-Tex replica either), no stereo (upgrade was AM/FM 2 speaker unit I believe.) Nothing in it. NOTHING. Not even a 5th gear.

    I still have more respect for that Tercel, up to its demise in 1997 or 98, than I do for the Echo or Yaris.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So what was the price difference then I wonder, between the Tercel and the rather bare-bones Paseo? Or was the Paseo on the Corolla platform? (Edit: Wiki tells me it’s on the Tercel platform.)

      Those got used up even faster than the Tercel, and I think they’re mostly forgotten. I’m pretty sure it was the Toyota response to the Del Sol. Occasionally you’ll see a post-facelift Paseo around, those really stand out today.

      Early one:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Paseo#/media/File:1991-1995_Toyota_Paseo_(EL44)_coupe_01.jpg
      Later one:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Paseo#/media/File:Toyota_Paseo_EL54.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      I bought a ’91 Tercel as a winter beater about 8-9 years ago. Your assessment is right, the car was put together nicely and drove well. Mine had the 5 speed transmission. I was surprised how nice and tight the gearbox and clutch felt. It was good to drive around town but I hated it on the highway. The 1.5L 3 valve engine ran out of steam after 80km’h (50mph) and passing cars needed to be planned ahead and was pain. Sold it for more than I bought it for about a year and a half later.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The DX model was actually the “top level” Tercel, with that you got AC, locking gas cap, and…I guess a tachometer?

      My ’89 was well assembled (aside from the awful aftermarket speaker installation), it was reliable and decent on gas, but I’d never want one as my main car.

      Sheet-metal and paint quality weren’t the greatest, lots of things underneath had to be replaced along with the door handles.

      I only grabbed it because it was a hatchback, no sense in getting a tiny car with a tiny trunk.

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    Amazingly enough, I still see one of these driving around my town periodically (though it may be a 4WD model)- northern Utah is pretty heavy Subaru country, and every so often ancient ones like this show up.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Justy was a really great car! The tone of the article suggests it was terrible but I disagree 100%. Justy was very popular all around the world for many reasons. It was roomy, extremely cheap, extremely well made, easy to drive, available with 4WD and practical, too. The 1200 3 cylinder engine was VERY flexible and well matched to the gearbox. It was possible to putter along in traffic jams in first gear at below idle all day long, which made it the easiest car ever to drive in very slow stop-and-go traffic. It was relatively quick for its class, too. It was my first car, a 1989 Justy RS 4WD with 5-speed manual. I have had a succession of really great cars, currently driving a BMW 550i M-Sport with manual transmission, and I still think back to my beloved Justy with great fondness. Excellent car, certainly among the best cars of its time for the intended customer.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      Just like I have fond memories my ’83 Civic, the cars of our youth we always think if fondly. Except for my first car, an ’83 Chevette Scooter. Man, that was a crappy car.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Did you cross-shop your Justy with any other cars?

      A Honda Civic from that time begs comparison, or an Omni America (cheap car but you still got a real engine).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The Swiss half of my family had a 1.0L 4WD manual Justy in the early ’90s as a third car. So entertaining to drive, because the limits were very low and the car was perfectly happy to find them. Every stoplight was a race start (and the car wouldn’t really move without a 3000 rpm launch). Every corner was taken at 10/10ths. And that was legal and perfectly civilized.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Murilee, it has a 6-digit odo showing 145k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      That’s right. The tripmeter shows the 1/10s.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Yup, 145K. By the way, the only real reason the imports back then used a six digit odometer is because a five digit one would only be 63,000 miles. Even Maliase crap can make it well past that. Detroit joined the party to silence thee critics who’s said that 100k was the junk it point…

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Some imports back then used 5 digit-odometers, like Mercedes that I’m sure rolled them quite a bit.

          I find it really weird how everyones so quick to correct Murlee, doesn’t really matter when the cars been scrapped.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I had to borrow my brother in law’s Justy to drive from Seattle to Oregon once. I generally like econoboxes, but dear god that was a terrible car. Got stopped by a trooper en route, he let me off, I think he felt sorry for anyone who had to drive such a POS. Then a hundred miles later the tailpipe fell off.

    I think that’s the last car I’ve driven that I truly hated. And I’ve rented a Sebring and a Caliber.

  • avatar
    Tremek

    When we found this Justy on March 21st, alas, it was indeed a Miserable Shitbox:

    http://i.imgur.com/bybrRvw.jpg

    Someone had already broken many things in the engine bay for god knows what reason. We were here with purpose, too: pictured in the photo is our protagonist, one of two heroes who sight-unseen purchased a relatively un-rusty 4 door, 4wd, 5 speed Justy in Colorado for $880, and drove it back to Massachusetts. We were here to fortify the better of the two Justys for a cross-country trip.

    I will let these brave men tell their tales of woe and wonderment.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The Subaru Justy – Unjustly called a car. I put these in the same category as all the miserable econoboxes dating to the Chevette (shovette), Sentra and all tin cans of the era.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      HEY, the 93 Sentra had super cool door handles, and was miles above this thing. People desire a B13 Sentra today. In the right colors it even had a little Volvo look about it.

      http://s151.photobucket.com/user/mrserpr/media/PB120110.jpg.html

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Yep. The 93 Sentra was solid and in SE-R trim was one of those cars that “those in the know” always desired.

      • 0 avatar
        greaseyknight

        Agreed, the B13 Sentra is a good car for its era. I’m daily driving a 200k mile example that I really like, its very well designed and put together. You have to get a higher trim model with the nice interior, the lower end ones are bleck.

        I think they have a more of E30 BMW influence in the Coupe form, very similar layout and look IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I just spent many a cab ride in a number of Nissan “Tsuru” taxis in Mexico, they’re B13 Sentras that they kept cranking out to this very day. I loved how honest and simple they are. Classic 3 box sedan with no frills and clean styling. I’d love to buy one here in the US. Seeing the sort of abuse those cars do flying around cobblestone and dirt roads, they quickly earned my respect.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I suppose I should have qualified my comment concerning the Sentra. I was referring to the 1980s version. It was a tin can, but like most Japanese econo-boxes, the drivetrains were durable.

      Still, those cars were not for me. Too small.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Riveted on dealer tag for the win!

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    The Subaru Justy has exclusive Hill-Holder technology!

    I remember that from the television commercial.

  • avatar
    mfennell

    I tend to own a nice impractical car(s) and a cheap beater. Over the years both have been getting better but from 1999-2001 or so I owned a Lotus Esprit S4s and a 1988 Subaru Justy. 5 speed. AM/FM. No AC. By the time I limped it to the junkyard, it was wheezing on 30/60/90psi compression. It was a miracle it ran at all.

    The $950 salvage title 528e that replaced it was decadent luxury in comparison.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Friend of mine and his wife owned a ’91 FWD Justy. After two years a red light came up on the dash – some CVT problem or other. They drove it that way for another seven years. Nothing else fell off or stopped working. So they were happy.

    After this series of Justies died out, Subaru sold the three cylinder Suzuki Swift as the Justy in world markets. For some reason or another.

    Didn’t seem that awful to me, a bit of a handful in the snow with FWD and worn all-seasons. Dash was a step above the absolute bottom.

    How many of the commenters above, heads nodding wisely in agreement with the premise that the Justy was a POS, have ever been in one or driven one? Aha, I see – death by intellect.

    Carry on.

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      RE: The Subaru rebadge of the Swift. They had an AWD version of this car. The Swift GT or whatever was a cool car, would have been cooler if we could have gotten that AWD version here.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Imagine loaded with CVT AWD & dealer a/c kit. Reminds me of Micra. Terrible hwy screamer with 3 sp auto.

  • avatar
    kastein

    Wow! Murilee featured a car I pulled parts from!

    I’m from Massachusetts. A friend of mine from Colorado (who posted in this thread, but it hasn’t been approved yet) is an inveterate craigslist window shopper and saw a 1994 5-door 5-speed 4WD Justy in bright red for sale. He knew I was looking for one for the previous year and a half without finding a good example locally so he contacted me immediately and went to buy it. Ended up with it for $880.

    He got me a one way ticket using work-sponsored frequent flier miles (thanks!) and I got a friend another for $200. Probably the first time United has had someone check 45lbs of wrenches and a cordless sawzall as luggage… We flew out early on a Saturday, picked the car up, and went directly to the Denver LKQ on Federal Boulevard, where this beautiful silver chariot was located in row I-9 as I recall. Some butcher had already completely destroyed the timing belt and chain system and removed the balance shaft and a number of other parts, throwing everything else on the ground, but a shortblock is a shortblock so I bought what was left, the transmission (mine needs a second gear synchro and a few other parts, and only the housings and final drive assemblies are different between 4×4 and FWD editions as far as I can tell), the front hub flanges since the splines are known to strip out, the rear struts, taillights, rear seatbelts, front brake calipers, and a number of other targets of junkyard opportunity.

    Fun fact: a reasonably in-shape man can pick up a Justy motor easily, with the flywheel and clutch still on it. The transmission (FWD edition) is a comfortable one-arm lift. The clutch is smaller than my hand, and I can actuate the clutch by grabbing the fork (it’s a cable clutch) and pushing.

    We then spent a half day visiting a few internet car nerd friends in the area and began the long trek home. Drove by a coal train derailment along I76, made it all the way to Chicago within about a day and a half. Disaster had struck by then, the harmonic balancer was wobbling more and more and the slight shake at highway speed had become a horrifying shake and hard pull to the right. I feared the right front CV shaft had seized, but after some roadside diagnosis it turned out to be a nearly catastrophic number of broken belts in the front right tire, so on went the spare and the problem was properly solved for $35 at Park City Auto Parts in Park City IL. Visited more internet car nerd friends, then drove the rest of the way to central Massachusetts the next day. 2000 miles in 2.5 days in an unknown 21 year old car purchased off craigslist with 229k miles on it, not too bad really.

    It’s a tiny little shoebox of a car, but great fun to drive for some reason, even at 6’5″. I wouldn’t put up with a FWD one or an automatic but 4×4 mantrans in a car that’s lighter than an NA Miata and 15 inches shorter than an ACVW Beetle? Yes please!

    Halfway through Indiana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87hsSpiavUg

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I approve of this journey. Kudos to you for having a set of brass ‘uns.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @kastein: great story and demonstrates what a small world it is.

      Negotiated the purchase of a new Chevy Sprint in 1987 for my brother who had beat to death the Trans Am that we had sourced for him. He needed something cheap, dependable and ‘beatable’. His mechanical aptitude ends at pumping his own gas, can’t drive a manual and didn’t seem to understand that you can vacuum and clean the interior of a car.

      So got him a Swift, auto with I believe a 3 cylinder engine.

      He destroyed the interior, the exterior was pockmarked with scratches and stone chips but even after all that the poor thing drove just as it did when new (meaning not great but still dead on reliable).

      Sold it to a friend for next to nothing. It hung on to over 200,000k before being written off in an accident that luckily did not hurt anyone as there was little to no safety features.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        THANK YOU for the story ! .

        It is what I have been doing for 40 + years….. Began riding the bus with a fully packed duffel bag of tools , having fun driving them home across America to home & meeting interesting People and Touristing out of the way Junk Yards….

        I even made money doing this all through the 1970’s to the 1990’s .

        I grew up in the dayze of cheapo Imports , the 1950’s craze , they were often considered ‘ Penalty Boxes ‘ then too (only by Folks who’d never suffered in a Crosley !) ~ some were wretched , others were pretty good , few had radios and NONE had AC back then .

        This trend continued through the early 1980’s , not sure why it petered out as other Countries still sell boat loads of bare bones cheap Automobiles .

        I look at this tiny little thing and think ” it looks big enough for my 6’ 240 # self….”

        A few years ago a Friend offered me her low miles clean and tidy red convertible version for $1,500 , maybe I shoulda bought it just to try it .

        The paint and interior also don’t look like they failed , many more expen$ive cars had far worse paints and plastics .

        My ex wife’s second Husband had the first year version of these and he was dotty about it ~ of course he knew nothing about cars and so never changed the oil but loved it sufficiently to have the engine rebuilt when it blew up .

        It’s interesting how Americans all feel ” too good ” to buy Economy cars ~ everyone says how much they love my little 1959 Nash Metropolitan Coupe but it’s a true ‘ penalty box ‘ I think .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Subaru needs a modern version of a entry level subcompact hatch. Something along the lines of the new Renault Twingo with the engine tucked under the rear hatch floor just with a smaller flat-4.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Don’t they have one in the Impreza base model? It’s cheap and tiny.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The Impreza is a compact. They need something in the subcompact class along the lines of a Fiesta, Versa, Fit etc. Offer it with AWD and they should sell fairly well.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Ah, I always forget there’s a difference between the Fit class and the Impreza class. An AWD Fit sounds like a good idea as well.

          Too bad Suzuki didn’t do better with that SX4. Though maybe that was just slightly smaller than Impreza sized.

  • avatar
    Maverick74

    So wait, the Swift cost nearly $600 more than the Geo Metro? Weren’t they the same cars?

  • avatar
    Joe K

    PARTS! I need parts for my 89 Justy :)

  • avatar

    I just came across a Justy myself the other day!
    The one I found was from 1990 and is indeed carbureted. Just think of the few drivers that are still out there and how happy someone was to find one!

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