Dry Docked Since 1977: 1970 Subaru 360 Yacht

We have seen a lot of rare cars here and that usually involves some sort of monster V8 muscle car from the 1970s. This is mos-def (as no Subaru owner said, ever) not a monster V8 car but for those of us who love Subaru 360s, this is the absolute pinnacle. This is a 1970 Subaru 360 Yacht, one of the rarest versions of the Subaru 360. It can be found here on eBay in Newark, Delaware with a current bid price of $3,500 and there are a couple of days left for me to A) wrangle up the money B) find a divorce lawyer C) both. If any of those things happen it’ll be Fred H’s fault for sending in this tip. Thanks, Fred! I think.

Those of you who don’t understand will never understand, and that’s ok. I don’t understand the current Porsche 911 craze or the Buick Grand National craze or the nose piercing craze or the full arm tattoo craze or most other crazes. For me, this is the car that I want more than almost any other on the planet, sans a Lamborghini Miura or Jaguar XK-120. No lie. So, now you know where my head is at, or maybe you’ve known from day-one here at Barn Finds. Clearly, I’m craze, I mean, crazy.

Jesse showed us a very similar car but in nice, restored condition a few years ago, here. I’ve burned through 7 calculators since seeing this auction last night wondering how I can make it work. It would be $1,500+ in enclosed shipping from the east coast for a non-running, non-rolling open car, maybe more than that? The front brakes are locked up so that’s why it’s on wheel dollies, but the rear brakes work. That’s a good sign, maybe that means that the engine isn’t seized up. Although, having a 4-speed manual transmission, maybe it doesn’t mean a thing other than the front brakes are locked up. Most people wouldn’t pay $1,500 for a Subaru 360 of any type in any condition, as in for the whole thing with shipping let alone just for shipping. Again, if you don’t understand, that’s ok. We’re an equal-opportunity car’ployer here at Barn Finds. All makes and models are welcome and encouraged.

This same car was for sale last February on craigslist in Laurel, Maryland. I ran across the listing and just about jumped out of my medium-tall skin. The seller had two 360s, one was a Deluxe sedan and the other was this Yacht. They were asking $8,500 for both cars and I regretted not jumping on it then and have regretted it ever since. It will sell for more than that now that it’s getting some big-time exposure, unfortunately. I wasn’t going to write this one up until I had time to crunch the numbers, being the selfish person that I am. That wouldn’t have been fair for any others who may be as excited to see this car as I am. There must a few others if there are as many bidders and watchers on the auction as there are. I fully expect there to not be much love for this car here and that’s ok, this isn’t a Subaru 360 site.

You can see that this car, reportedly 1 of around 15 or so Subaru Yachts ever made, needs a full restoration. The interior may be the least amount of work for the next owner but it’ll most likely all have to be redone. That original red vinyl is most likely hard and dry. The top is basically a pattern at this point and that’s ok, at least it’s there. In fact, the whole car seems to be pretty complete. In the listing last year, the ad said that this car had the same elderly owner for the last 45 years which is exactly what you want to hear. I’m not sure if the current seller is that same owner or if they bought this car last year and found it to be too much of a project or why they’re selling it so soon. It doesn’t appear to even have been cleaned up at all since last year. Maybe it’s the same owner, but it’s in a different city.. hmm..

 

The engine appears to be missing.. no, I’m kidding, of course, the Subaru 360 has a rear engine and this one is still there. The hood/boot in front shows some signs of the dreaded thick paint which I hope isn’t former bodywork. It may not have any bondo, who knows. The spare tire would be mounted to the firewall over the jack shown in the photo above, but in the opening photo there are two extra tires shown lying on the back seat. Any extra parts for a Subaru 360 is always a good thing, even rims with old rubber on them. Brakes are a major sticking point, no pun intended. They’re what usually causes a lot of these cars to be taken off of the road. There are companies that will rebuild cylinders and reline brake shoes. As always, the Subaru 360 Driver’s Club is the best source for information and parts, not to mention being some of the nicest folks around.

The engine is Subaru’s EK31 356 cc inline-twin, a two-stroke, air-cooled, 25-hp beast (tapping foot, waiting for “Drop a Hayabusa in it” comments). All they know about it is that it ran in 1977 when it was parked. That’s 42 years of not running compared to 7 years of running. There is some talk about the Subaru 360 Yacht having been ordered by Malcolm Bricklin in an attempt to sell the remaining Subaru 360s in the waning days of that car being sold in the U.S. and 24 of them were ordered but never paid for or picked up. Some sources say that there were only 15 of them made. However many were, this is one rare little bird. Have any of you heard of a Subaru 360 Yacht?

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Comments

  1. Ramone Member

    Never heard of one. Clearly, Scotty, this car belongs with you! Is it street legal? I mean, it doesn’t even have doors….

    4
    • Zack

      Most jeeps do not have doors but this is half of the size of a jeep.
      Very cool little car.

      2
  2. healeydays

    Cute

    Now all I need is a yacht to go with it.

    2
  3. BR

    Does it float?

    2
  4. Daryl Nelson

    Considering what Fiat Jolly’s are starting to command in prices. I figure these have to be a future investment. even rarer than the jollys

    1
  5. Kevin

    Buy it. I have one in better shape and in line to be restored this year. Mine does not have the roof or framing but has mounts for the roof structure. Mine is not froze up on any front. I’ve never had the engine running but it turns over and I’m confident if I freed up the oil pump or mounted a spare and cleaned / connected a spare carb shot some oil in the crankcase and cylinders I’d have it running in an afternoon. Being a 360 Drivers club person I know there were between 24 and 30 made. I’ve not found where the 15 roofed ones comes from but I do know of 3 others I’ve seen in the last several years that had roofs. Mine would make 5 if I knew where it was. The previous owner said it had one, It has all the snaps and the anchor points but no frame or roof. But it’s well documented in 360 lure that uncle Malcom did infact order them and skip town on the bill. They were sold at auction by the company that did the modifications to Brey High School for drivers ed and auto shop. The county then 2 years later auctioned them off again. So they were about as unwanted as a car could have been back then. One white one sold at Kissimee auction for around 20k. If memory serves fully restored. Buy it, They grow on ya and everyone smiles when they see a 360. My Young even won a trophy in a car show with 900+ cars in attendance. Mine still has original paint but also primer in a couple spots. I have to laugh when I think of my little 360 in the trophy line surrounded by cars guys had 100K in and I’m there in the same line with a car I only have bout 4k in. The ride is the same not how you get there. Buy already so I won’t have to.

    3
  6. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Ha – love the Hayabusa crack. Nice find, Scotty, and your always-animated prose has me thinking I need one. My late Grandmother would want to squeeze it’s little little face and exclaim ‘Who wouldn’t love it?” If the engine were really gone I was thinking about absurd transplants like the Ferrari 2.0 L V8. You know, because everyone has one of those lying around. I’ll go halfsies with you on the divorce attorney and meet you there with a couple tool-boxes. I’m sure we could have this running Road-Kill style in a few days and enjoy a glorious road-trip… being cussed out by time-crunched Soccer Moms, snatching mediocrity from the jaws of death, road-side repairs using corn starch paste and guitar strings… epic.

    3
  7. FOG

    I live next to the Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana. To me, it would be great if the folks at the plant pooled their resources and bought this car to show and drive around the grounds. This would be a part of history, right there,to tell of Subaru’s demanding growth and popularity. Hope they see this?

    3
  8. Rod444

    Looks like a blast to drive. Not sure about my enthusiasm at having the average phone distracted SUV bumper at my teeth level but then what fun is driving without a trip or two to the dentist?

    2
  9. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    It’s a sad day, after trying to locate this car for a year, I’m going to pass on it. The thought of spending what would probably be close to $10,000 for a car including shipping and then having to spend at least that much on restoring it isn’t super appealling right now as we’re trying to get a garage built, oddly to have room to store cars in. The timing now is just as bad as it was a year ago. Maybe in a year it’ll be for sale again in better condition. Sigh…

    2
  10. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Sold, sold, sold! For, $8,911!! Yeah, that wouldn’t have worked for me, I would have been at almost $11,000 with shipping for the car as it sits now. I’ll keep looking… but not for another 360 Yacht.

    2
  11. Stevieg Member

    As ROD444 said, this car looks like a blast! But I learned last night when a teenage girl who was texting while driving ran a stop sign, driving smaller vehicles can be painful in today’s traffic. Yup, her parents bought her an suv for her first car. My old Harley was merely a speed bump for her. Needless to say, I am not working today. The old Harley is at a tow yard, totaled.

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