The General began selling the Suzuki Cultus hatchback with Chevrolet Sprint badges here starting in the 1985 model year, with the later versions becoming the Geo/ Chevrolet Metro. Even though gasoline prices had crashed during the middle 1980s, the three-cylinder Sprint sold well enough that Subaru decided to bring their tiny three-cylinder car to our shores. This was the Justy, and I’ve found this ’90 in a self-service yard in Subaru-crazed Denver.
You can’t talk about the miserable econoboxes of the 1980s without talking about perhaps the most miserable of them all: the irresistibly cheap, irredeemably terrible, front-wheel-drive Subaru Justy (the all-wheel-drive Justy could be a lot of fun, of course).
You won’t see many of these cars today, but I was able to find this 28-year-old survivor in a Silicon Valley U-Wrench-It yard.
I 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!
Weirdly vivid car colors were all the rage in the early 1990s, along with clear products, and so this Justy’s Cherenkov Radiation Turquoise paint fit right in with the times. Sadly, the jarring hue and econo-four-wheel-drive weren’t enough to save this rust-free, 5-speed-equipped Subaru sedan from The Crusher’s cold jaws.
Denver is home to plenty of AMC Eagles, BMW 325iXs, the occasional Vanagon Syncro, and just about every other oddball four-wheel-drive vehicle made. Until yesterday, however, the only Justy 4WD I’d ever seen was this Crusher-bound example. Then this extremely clean red Justy 4WD showed up in my neighborhood.
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