16-Mile Microcar! 1969 Subaru 360 Deluxe

You’ve come a long way, baby (baby = Subaru). From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks, and a million other phrases that can describe what a giant company Subaru has become from such humble and “unacceptable” beginnings. The seller has this humble 1969 Subaru 360 Deluxe listed here on eBay in The 216: Cleveland, Ohio, one of the great cities of America. No, really, I love Cleveland. They’re asking $9,950 for this microcar project, or you can make an offer.

Six years ago, I was the world’s biggest Subaru 360 fanatic and I just had to own one. One sad day, I saw a rare 360 Young S (a bit more horsepower, front bucket seats, tachometer, indented roof for surfboard) where I lived and I spent a couple of hours looking at it and talking with the owner, a fellow member of the Subaru 360 Club. Yes, up until that point I had never even sat in one.

Well, after deciding that I had to have that car, I attempted to get my long legs behind the steering wheel, and it just wasn’t meant to be. My dreams were shattered. Who cares about world peace or any of that stuff, I knew I’d never have a Subaru 360. The seller refers to this car as original and as a convertible, and it’s neither. The 360 Deluxe only came in white with a red interior and clearly, this one has been painted red at some point. The 360 Young S came in white, red, and yellow. They also weren’t convertibles. The hard top on this car is removable, but it’s not an easy-on-easy-off procedure as with a regular convertible or even as easy as removing a normal hardtop would be.

Most of us have heard about the Consumer Reports article of the period referring to the Subaru 360 as being unacceptable for its many safety issues and drivability funkiness. I don’t know if that really hurt sales that much as the car wasn’t selling anyway. You can see that this one needs a full restoration. The seller says that it has a mere 16 miles on it and that it sat in a dealer’s showroom before being purchased by someone, and subsequently being stored again. There is rust and there are big dents to deal with, sadly, and the interior is pretty rough. The front split-back bench seat needs major help, but parts of the rear bench seat may be usable. There isn’t a windshield, so the next owner, if there is one, will have to source that piece.

The trunk is in the front and the 356-cc two-stroke air-cooled twin-cylinder is in the rear, and through the three-speed (with overdrive) manual transmission, it drives the rear wheels. This one obviously isn’t in running condition but it turns over by hand. The seller has uploaded dozens of photos, which is great, including underside photos. Now about that asking price…


  1. angliagt angliagt

    Why would the low miles make any difference,
    when it needs a total registration.And why is there
    White paint behind where the windshield was when
    it’s Red?

    Like 5
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Angliagt, the Deluxe model never came in red, this one was repainted at some point.

      Like 6
      • Chuck Dickinson

        When these first came out, you’d see them on the streets regularly, but that didn’t last too long. EVERY one of them was the same gray/white color. If I recall correctly, it was a local Pontiac dealer who took out a franchise for these.

        Like 2
  2. Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    Looking at that engine brings back painful memories of snowmobiles that sucked your coat in the intake. I’ve seen diesels with similar air cleaner setups. I think we can all agree, the 360 was the poster child for a poor car. Aside from hippies, who would want something like this? To share the road with Eldorados? The 16 miles is certainly justifiable, I bet many had the same experience as the author, remember, at one point, these were a novelty, and GIVEN away with a new Oldsmobile, or something. As mentioned, a friend had one, she said it would go like 40, so in town was okay, but a brake issue and no parts sidelined it, also very low miles and never drove it again. Naturally I’m flabbergasted at the price. I don’t think I’ll hear anything more ridiculous for the rest of the day, and it’s still early.

    Like 10
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I figured we would have a discussion on whether it really has only 16 miles. Given the car, its circumstances, and its lack of quality (Howard’s example), it is possible. Add apparent bad storage conditions, this is the result. Besides Scotty, how many people might be interested in this Subaru?

    Like 3
  4. Maggy

    Take the roof off and it would make a cool flower pot for yard art.

    Like 3
  5. Harry Allen

    Maybe 950.00. Sixteen Miles is plausible because they probably couldn’t get it to run any further than that.

    Like 5
  6. Terry

    I don’t know what is more unbelievable,16 miles or the price.both are a joke.

    Like 9
  7. Troy

    I think my John Deere ridding mower has more power

    Like 2
  8. Todd Fitch Staff

    Hey, Scotty – interesting find, and your knowledge and interest in these cars makes a good introduction for the unfamiliar like me. I’d call BS on the 16 mile claim but it’s inconsequential due to the car’s poor condition. A true fan might collect a fleet of these to keep a specimen or two on the road, but it’s a tough sell otherwise, unless the shift knob is worth $300 on eBay, etc. to total $15,000 worth of easily-resalable parts. On first glance I’m with Harry on the $950. Thanks for giving it some love here with your insight and personal connection! We’d love to hear from the buyer some day. Maybe it could be “restored” and sold to someone for a beach car in the Hamptons.

    Like 7
  9. Jcjc

    What a neat collection. I’ll take the Alfa Romeo Montreal in the background.

    Like 4
    • IVK

      If this is $9,500 the Alfa would sell for $1,000,000 LOL

      Like 0
  10. rustylink

    almost 10 large for a non-running, rusting, almost 60 year old micro car with missing glass and needing a complete restoration?….I have seen drivers for the same amount.

    Like 5
  11. ,Kurt Member

    So I’m hearing a SBC would NOT fit in there?

    Like 4
  12. TheOldRanger

    I look at this car and shake my head. I have a 2020 Subaru Outback which is a great car, and I can see no connection between the two. But my first Honda was a 1979, not much to look at, but very dependable, which is why I owned a Honda vehicle (including Acura) until 2020 when I bought the Outback. My younger daughter still has her Outback (she bought hers in 2015) and was so pleased with it, she was the reason I decided to give it a try. Our older daughter now owns a Forester. Unless Subaru does something stupid, it appears we will be a Subaru owner for years to come. If not, I’ll go back to Honda.

    Like 4
  13. MarkO

    Red? I see it as Orange.
    Maybe it’s been painted in “safety orange”(LOL)
    Malcom Bricklyn named the color.
    Wasn’t Bricklyn involved with importing the Subaru 360 into the USA as the first Subaru cars to hit our shores? Please correct me if i’m wrong about this.

    Like 3
  14. John

    I had a 360 Subaru Sambar van. 1969. Rusty little Wonder Bread loaf on wheels. Fun car. lots of looks from people. Brought it home in a 10 foot lawn trailer from purchase in a junk yard. It would run about 45 or 50mph. I didn’t trust the oil injection so I ran premix gas & oil. The price? Only paid $500 but it ran.

    Like 0
  15. angliagt angliagt

    Well,I think it WAS Red, when they repainted it.
    You’re correct about Bricklin – I’d avoid investing in anything
    that he’s involved in.I’m guessing he doesn’t lose any of his
    own money in his many (shady) business dealings.

    Like 2
  16. Big C

    This dealer posts a lot of “exotic” cars that are literally junk. This Subie seems to be be one of his more decent cars.

    Like 1
  17. Dennis Bailey

    Is the rear window a fit for the front? That would be a cool design. And now you really have a convertible.

    Like 0
  18. 47 willys

    Lot of color blind people here. That car is definitely orange.

    Like 0
  19. Gary

    No doubt pushed and pulled more than 16 miles

    Like 0
  20. Michael v

    One of my favorite YouTube channels 2stroketurbo has a couple of these along with the Samvar van and a bunch of other weird cars. It seems like he spends about forty hours working on them for every hour he gets to drive them.

    Like 0
  21. Rob Norman

    I have a sad feeling that “heads rolled” in the “Research and Development
    Dept.. It is cute….

    Like 0
  22. Kurt Member

    While in England I noticed that all the vehicles were much smaller than American cars and trucks, a fact commensurate with the cost of petrol which was roughly,per liter, what we paid per gallon. So maybe this little car was just ahead of its time. Certainly not safe to be the only one on the road surrounded by Yank tanks.😮

    Like 1
  23. John T. Jacobson

    I’d be interested in restoring. Not starting at their asking price. Remove the first 9, and it may be worth trailering home in summer. Condition is poor at best, from the outside it looks like it lived outside since it’s early days. The seller needs to seek special help on the price for the value he is offering.

    Like 0
  24. Steve Cota

    Wow These are fun little cars, But the decimal point needs to move left in that asking price. I’ll sell a complete one of these with no rust, that needs only some brake work to be drivable, for that price. And no this is not a convertible, The fiberglass roof panel was a weight saving, structural component of the car, and was never intended to be removed.

    Like 0

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