Jolly Alternative: 1970 Subaru 360 Yacht

1970 Subaru 360 Yacht

The Fiat Jolly was built for summer fun, or if you had real money, to putt around the deck of your yacht. It was simple, provided plenty of sun, and wasn’t going to get you anywhere fast. Malcolm Bricklin, a US based Subaru dealer, took a liking to the concept and decided to have a few of his own runabouts built. His were based on the tiny Subaru 360 and featured a stylish cutaway body. These little guys are very rare and ones in this condition are unheard of. Find it here on eBay in Sarasota, Florida with the reserve not met.

1970 Subaru 360 Yacht Engine

Sand spewing power is provided by this 356 cc two-stroke two-cylinder engine. The seller claims that this things can achieve speeds of 70 mph. We think they may be a little optimistic there, but we doubt we would ever find out because anything over 40 has to be terrifying. The mileage is pegged at 9,100 miles and the engine is claimed to run well.

1970 Subaru 360 Yacht Interior

There isn’t much to hold on to when cornering, so we are sure the seatbelts will be appreciated. With the open air feel and the four speed transmission this thing has to be blast to drive. Cruise around the beach or visit the local country club and you are bound to get plenty of looks.

1970 Subaru 360 Yacht Front

This micro car has undergone a recent restoration and looks great. The only bad thing about that is that the seller knows exactly what they have and they are not going to let it go cheap. We know of a few of these cars that have sold for pennies because most people do not even know what they are. The seller is a dealer and their site lists an asking price of $19k so don’t expect the reserve to be much lower than that. Still, that is a lot less money than a comparable Jolly would cost you. So if you have always wanted a Jolly, but couldn’t justify the high prices, this may be one you.

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Comments

  1. His Royal Flatulence

    Now that is cute. I’ve never heard of these Subaru “Jollys” before.I’m confused by the seller’s statement that it’s one of only 30, and one of only 15 convertibles. Wouldn’t a “Jolly” by definition be a convertible, or did they actually make some with a fixed roof and cutaway sides? That would sure be an oddball.

  2. His Royal Flatulence

    By the way, Malcolm Bricklin wasn’t just a dealer; he was the importer. He was already a very successful entrepreneur by the late 1960’s but his first automotive venture was importing these Subarus and setting up the first Subaru dealer network.

  3. Bill

    What’s up w/ the red convertible?

  4. cardog

    stupid toy. whats next collectable golf carts. They made 30 because they were plain silly.

  5. Ron

    When I was stationed in Hawaii in 1968, a friend had a Mini Moke. It was a blast and just perfect for Oahu. This looks like fun.

  6. rich peabody

    At some time, long before our current NTSA, someone (wise) in the US Government saw a Subaru 360 and stopped their sales entirely. The boatload on the way to the US was stopped, and the 360’s were simply pushed overboard. A builder in North Carolina bought the remaining inventory and put one in every garage in his sub-division…..As an aspiring auto mechanic, I remember that we had a customer with one, and that it was a nightmare to work on and fairly unreliable…

    • Kevin Jones

      Any chance you can get any documentation backing up those claims? I’d love to read that.

    • Charles Gould

      Close, but not entirely accurate.
      I believe there were two or three boatloads of brand new Subaru 360s that had arrived in California when it was determined that they could not be sold to the general public in the United States. The reason was not because somebody looked at it and thought it was unsafe. Rather it was because in 1969 or 1970, the EPA had started to regulate exhaust emissions and the two-stroke engine just produced too much smoke.
      Malcolm Bricklin was a creative genius and when he learned that he could not sell the cars to the general public here in the states, he decided that it was too expensive to ship them back to Japan and try to sell them there. So, he found a loophole under which he learned that while they could not be “sold” to the general public, they could be “given” to the general public. He then sold a whole bunch of the Subaru 360s to a number of Cadillac and Chevrolet dealers on the West Coast, Who gave the cars as a free gift to their customers if they bought a new Chevrolet or Cadillac, instead of a rebate! The promotion stated that the dealer would give you a free second car if you bought a new Cadillac or Chevrolet! Imagine bringing home a new Cadillac for yourself and telling your wife that you got a car for her as well, and then presenting her with the tiny Subaru 360?
      When that option dried up, Malcolm Bricklin found another loophole that was intended for kit cars and dune buggies and which might allow him to sell the stash of unsold Subaru 360 cars. He contracted with the California company to have these glasfiber inserts installed after the doors were removed and in some cases, the roof was cut off. He then sold these “Jolly’s” as dune buggies or kit cars until the feds caught up with him.
      He still had too many cars left and decided to produce an entire glasfibre bodyshell to replace the steel body on the 360 platform. These had an entirely different appearance and were called Fast Traks.
      Still later, Malcolm Bricklin, who also had another business disposing of used tires, created a new business scheme to dispose of unsold Subaru 360s. Under the new arrangement he would buy a small tract of land and would have it paved like a minature race track or go kart track. He would then line the entire track with used tires, which he has been paid to dispose of.
      For $100,000, you could buy a Fastrack franchise which would include the real estate, the paved track lined with used tires, and a fleet of ten stock Subaru 360s, as well as a stash of replacement parts.
      The Fastrack franchises allowed customers to rent a little Subaru 360 for controlled racing on a private track, and as cars were rolled or crashed, Malcolm Bricklin would sell the owner replacement cars. He also hired famous racecar drivers of the period to promote the concept.
      To the best of my knowledge, none of the Subaru 360s were simply pushed off the ship’s deck and into the ocean as referenced above.

      Like 1
  7. Den

    I drove a 360 for 2 years in high school, never a lick of trouble, except running out of gas, but it was pretty easy to push to a gas station. Good snow car also, fooling around in the snow I ran it up over the sidewalk and high centered it on some big shrubs, I hopped out and lifted it up off the bushes (rear engine 360cc) and motored off.

  8. Chrome & body Motortopia

    I think it’s ULTRA cute especially knowing it’s a Subaru. Not that I love Subaru especially but to see where companies come from and how they are now implemented in the market.
    @cardog…lighten up :-) no one life’s at stake.
    A Collectible can be anything to anyone!
    @ Den ..I thought it was a Fiat 500 (I drove mine a bit like you explain your fun) it was an awesome mountain rally car in Belgium (highest mountain 900m)

  9. Kevin Jones

    Other bits of interest on the origin of the 15 convertibles. I’m a member of the 360 drivers club here in the states and I actually have one of these Jolly 360’s . Subaru of America (SOA) at the time contracted with a coach builder in CA to remove the roof and doors and make a fiberglass panel to close off the exposed body. There is some difference of opinions on the total number of cars but it’s either 24 or 30. At some point an invoice was sent to SOA but was not paid. The coach builder took possession of all 24 or 30 and sold them at auction. Possibly 15 were complete with canvas tops and the rest were just topless but had the body cut and had been fiberglassed. The one I have I believe had a top because it has all the snaps and had two mounts for the roof structure. Unfortunately it did not have the structure nor the top when I purchased it. As for reliability the founder of the 360 drivers club has been driving them since 1975 and has put many thousands of miles on his. He also drove a 360 sedan from NJ to AZ when he moved no hickups.

  10. Mark Pobanz

    I own the Frog or Subaru Yacht. Its a lot of fun to drive as is my Subaru 360 Van or Sambar. My Yacht or Dune buggy has lot of get up and go and keeps up with street traffic real well. People absolutely love it and is a hit at car shows. It only has 22,000 miles and had 2 previous owners to My knowledge, one being my late friend Ralph. My van was owned by my friend for 40 years as was mentioned by Kevin in the above article. I have driven the van on the freeway to 70 mph for 55 miles. I got my first Subaru 360 from my dad almost 40 years ago.
    I heard that about 24 Yachts were ordered from a Brea, Loa Angeles, California auto body shop by Malcolm Bricklin who didn’t pay the bill. About a dozen went to a Brea High School and the others sold to private parties.

  11. Charles Gould

    Sure, they were tiny, cheaply made and probably unsafe primarily because of their tiny stature. However, they are great little cars. Extremely reliable and almost bulletproof, well built and an absolute blast to drive. Fast (for their tiny 350cc displacement), crisp handling and quite responsive. We have three Coupes, a Sambar van and a pick up truck and we love them all.
    They are not limited to 45 MPH and will easily approach or attain 70 MPH depending on how many passengers are onboard.
    Please don’t continue to spread unsubstantiated rumors until you have actually driven one! Come on out for a ride in a Subaru 360. You will love it!

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