Barn Find in Miniature: 1993 Subaru Justy

When grandparents grow fearful of the land-barge Lincoln, they tend to go smaller and (conceivably) safer in their next ride. This Subaru Justy popped up on the Worcester, Mass. craigslist as a barn find that the original owner purchased and then stored after driving a mere 34,000 miles. It’s about as stripped down as a Justy can get, but it sure is clean. Find it here on craigslist for $4,000. 

These Justys were certainly not hot hatches, but they could be equipped with four-wheel drive and some sporty cosmetics in RS trim. This one is a bare-bones front-driver, with a 3-cylinder and a stick. Given the propensity for rust that Subarus of this vintage suffer from, the main appeal here is the tidy bodywork and otherwise un-messed with condition, as economy cars tend to suffer the worst at the hands of uncaring drivers. Cloth seats are quite nice and the dash and steering wheel are mint.

Still wearing a dealer plate from a Peterborough, New Hampshire-based Chrysler dealer, the little Justy is as basic as it gets, with unpainted bumpers and no mirror on the passenger side. The modest powerplant is said to be in good health and capable of 75 m.p.h., according to the seller. The seller says there is “nothing wrong with it” and that the Subie has been treated to fresh oil, coolant and a new battery. Some evidence of maintenance prior to its discovery would be nice to have.

The Justy may be a rarity in this condition, but rarity doesn’t necessarily translate to value. The RS models are a touch more desirable, with their angry bulldog looks and 4WD mudflaps swinging in the breeze. This was as basic as an already-basic car could get, so any price above $2K is fishing purely for a provenance freak who has to own the cleanest Justy in town. We can always appreciate a survivor, though, even if it comes in miniature.

Fast Finds


  1. RayT Member

    You’re gettin’ close to the ragged edge with this one, Jeff….

    Subaru loaned me a Justy for two weeks back in ’93. It looked exactly like this one, and was equipped very similarly. The only car I can remember from my 25 years of driving manufacturers’ rides that depressed me more was an AWD Ford Tempo. We’re talkin’ major I-need-a-drink depressing, here….

    And I LIKE Subarus! Almost all of them, anyway. Not this one.

    At least it’s not the CVT version, which was even slower. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve listened to the engine screaming at high revs as the speedometer needle creeps up sloooooowly.

    I’m not one of those who says “why did you feature this %#@***&%%?” In fact, I understand why. But oh, the memories….

  2. Scotty Staff

    Dang, if this would have been 4WD it’d be gone in 60 seconds! Nice find, Jeff. I’ve been looking for one for a couple of years in this condition but with 4WD.

    • Scotty Staff

      p.s., some insider info: my user profile pic is a 3-cylinder because I was so heavily interested in the Subaru Justy, and I still am!

      • Kevin

        I’ve got a 4wd justy. Not as clean but still in great shape given its age.

        Like 2
  3. Francisco

    I believe with an AWD this wouldn’t get out of its own way.

    • Kevin

      The selectable 4wd makes a huge difference

  4. txchief

    I had an incredible encounter with another rust-free Justy at lunchtime today! It was an absolutely primo can of Campbell’s tomato soup. Delicious!

  5. whippeteer

    KBB in excellent shape is $2495.

  6. gene

    I had a Justy 2wd with cvt. Never any problems and strangely enough no problems with snow. Unless there really was lots of snow. So I wish I was the owner of this one.

  7. whippeteer

    Very small. I test drove one when they came out. I called it a Roger Rabbit car. It sounded like the woo-woo-woo sound when downshifting. It could do 70, but not quietly!

  8. J

    Had a selectable 4WD Justy. LOVED it.
    I keep thinking..the width matches… if you shortened the drive shaft to the rear wheels as well as the frame by FOUR INCHES, you could then drop an old Saab Sonnet body on top and have a heck of a winter car…

  9. Howard A Member

    Hmm, learned something AGAIN from BF’s. I had a friend that had a very early Justy (’84?), it replaced her 360. I know and SHE knew, but loved her Subaru’s, right from the beginning, and those cars were the beginning for Subaru. Her Justy had all wheel drive, and I thought ALL Justy’s had 4 wheel drive. Anyway, the 360 was horribly inept for road use, but she said, the Justy was a great little car, 10 times the 360. A 2 wheel drive Justy? Why bother.

  10. Dave Member

    Here in Denver, we see and service A LOT of soobys. In fact, we refer to them as Colorado’s Official State Vehicle. But I have yet to see a three-cylinder.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Dave, sorry, but pretty sure Vermont has already claimed that title, or so I’m told. Tell you what, if anybody is looking for a decent Outback wagon, and they don’t have emission testing, go to Upstate NY. NY has one of the most stringent testing programs, and I counted many sitting in yards or back rows of car dealers, because, they won’t pass inspection. While there last summer, a friend has a ’99 or 2000 Outback, no matter what they did, they couldn’t get the “check engine” light to go out. And you just can’t put a piece of black tape over the light, like here in Wis. It’s a big deal. Finally, the 3rd shop got it to pass. But the light went on again on the way home.

  11. Gene

    A girl who worked for me bought one of these new in 1992 or 1993. She and her boyfriend were going about 55 mph and hit a moose in central British Columbia. They were hospitalized, the car was totalled. The moose walked away.

  12. Dave Member

    Hey Howard, I believe you. That said, I want or make a commercial that shows the Rockies in the background through a green meadow and it would say: Colorado, brought to you by Subaru.

  13. Charles

    I had a Justy much like this one – carbureted 3-cylinder, five-speed stick, and air conditioning, natch. It. Was. GREAT.

    For performance mods I threw on a set of tiny mag wheels with wider tires. For driveability mods, I dog-legged the gear-shift lever to the right so I could shift into first gear (I’m six-foot-six and with my leg splayed around the steering wheel, there wasn’t room for the shifter to fit into first). For practicality, I pulled the rear seat out and built a cargo deck from the rear of the hatch all the way to the front seatbacks. 42 MPG on the freeway, no breakdowns ever, and with almost no weight and sticky tires it clung like grim death in the turns. I justl(y) LOVED that car.

  14. PaulieB

    It has a Mass plate and a NH inspection sticker.. Mass stickers are found in the lower right corner. Also Peterboro is a hike to Springfield Mass where this is located. Nice car though.. Just kinda odd as to why he’d even bother putting a plate on it ..

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