If you’re well under 6-feet tall and have been looking for something interesting, this 1969 Subaru Sambar Pickup is up for sale. These things are rare, especially in this condition; somewhere under “nice” but above “rusty, parts-vehicle”. It’s listed on eBay in Reading, Pennsylvania with a current bid of just under $2,000, but it won’t stay there for long. I know for a fact that I can not fit in this thing and operate the pedals so, as painful as it is, I won’t be bidding on this one. Although, it would look nice sitting on top of the dresser…
Most of you know that Subaru didn’t enter the US market until 1968 with the 360 Sedan, which was imported by Malcolm Bricklin. This is basically a kei car, even though it’s a truck, or sort of a truck. You can haul things with this one but they’ll be small and light things. The body on this truck is in superb condition, with just a few dings and dents but really no rust that I can see. The underside could use some restoration, but again, it’s not scary-rust like most of these vehicles have.
I could see a Fuji (i.e., Subaru) Rabbit scooter back there, diagonally, or maybe a local flea market find, but you probably won’t be moving your son or daughter into their dorm room with this one. One cool feature is a Corvair ramp-side-like folding ramp door on the side! The Sambar is perhaps more well known for its vans than its pickups, and a lot of Subaru collectors want to complete the trio in having a 360 sedan, a van, and a pickup. I can’t fit my long legs into any of them but I would still love to have one, or all three. A fellow Subaru 360 Club member told me that the seat can be removed and relocated back about 4″ in the sedan, and there’s a similar trick for the van, but the pickup has no room behind the seat so they’re hopeless for us tall folks.
This particular Subaru Sambar Pickup has been in storage for years so it’ll need to be gone through thoroughly. It was originally owned by a school, which did some unfortunate damage to the interior in order to be able to carry some sort of barrel on the passenger seat, so the next owner will have to source a new dash and other things. It also needs a gas tank which most of them do, and the right side glass is missing as is the ignition switch. You already know that the engine is in the rear. The body is in great condition, even with its dents and dings. It’s much nicer than the vast majority of these pickups that come up for sale are. There is no question that there is a legion of auction lurkers watching this one even if they didn’t click on “add to watch list”.
The suicide doors open wide, but you had better have legs shorter than a 36-inch inseam, more likely 30-inch or less, to be able get your knees under the steering wheel and operate the pedals. I’ve tried and failed, I just do not fit in these vehicles and it’s unfortunate because I want one. There is no question that this was a white vehicle that was repainted red which is unfortunate, but the next owner will most likely do a nut-and-bolt restoration on it so they can restore it back, or change it into some wacky color if they want to.
Under the rear engine cover is this beast: Subaru’s EK-series 356 CC twin-cylinder, air-cooled, two-stroke with around 20 hp. I say, with around 20 hp.. (crickets). Hey, this thing weighs 1,000 pounds, you don’t need an SBC back there. This truck deserves to be restored to like-new condition, it’s rare and to find a 99% rust-free version like this is amazing. If I had a second knee in each leg I’d be all over this one. Have any of you driven one of these?