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Rare And Desirable? 1969 Subaru 360 Young S

The terms “rare” and “desirable” mean different things to different people. For some folks, it’s only meaningful when talking about a dusty muscle car. For others, those of us who like our vehicles on the unusual side, it could mean a car like this 1969 Subaru 360 Young S. This restoration project is listed here on craigslist in Ridgefield, Washington, just north of Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. The seller is asking $2,500. Thanks to Mark G. for sending in this tip!

I probably don’t have to mention that I’m a huge fan of these small cars. I have been looking for a nice Subaru 360 Young S for a few years now, in yellow. Not a project, but a jewel box for the permanent collection which makes it sound like I have a big collection of small cars. I don’t, but I want one of these things, even though I can’t fit in one, as in at all since my knees touch the dashboard and I can’t even touch the pedals without evolving another knee on each leg. I’d have to unbolt the driver’s bucket seat and move it as far back as possible so it’s touching the rear seat and bolt it down again.

Most of us know about the Subaru 360, which was made from 1958 to 1971 in various models including the Deluxe sedan, Young S, Young SS, Custom – a two-door wagon – a pickup, and a van. Most of us also know how Malcolm Bricklin worked out a deal with Subaru to import them to the US. They didn’t go over well in the US and after importing around 10,000 of them, many of them went unsold after a Consumer Reports article wrote how unsafe they were. The Young S, and also Young SS which was never sold here in the US, had an indent in the roof which was handy for carrying a surfboard. I kid you not.

The Young S model differed from the Deluxe sedan model that most of us have seen, usually in white with a red interior which is what the majority of them came dressed in for the US. The Young S came in colors other than white, such as yellow and red, and they had black bucket seats in the front. The Deluxe always came with a red bench seat. The Young S also had a tachometer next to the speedometer, Young S badges, and a couple of exterior touches to differentiate them from the Deluxe. The engine was a little “hotter” but not by much. This car is a big project even though it’s a small car. Parts are notoriously hard to find, sometimes impossible. The Subaru 360 Driver’s Club is your best friend when you own a Subaru 360. The windshield is cracked which isn’t good, and there is rust here and there.

The front compartment, what here in the US we’d call under the hood, is where your spare tire would be, or usually would be. The engine is Subaru’s two-stroke, two-cylinder (I know) 356 cc which had 25 hp in the US. The Young SS version with twin carbs had 36 hp, that’s the one to have but good luck finding one and they’re all right-hand-drive. This is a project car and for me, it’s rare and desirable although I know that not many of you will care for it at all. Any thoughts on this 360 Young S?


  1. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    When we were on a Family Vacation to LA in 1970,
    I talked my Dad into stopping by Orange County International-
    Raceway.Just outside of OCIR was a dirt track called “FastTrack”.
    You could drive a 360 around it for $1/lap.The cars has roll cages
    on the OUTSIDE of the bodies.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Ralph

      Thats what they did with a lot of these when they couldn’t sell these turds, they turned them into pseudo go-karts.

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    A “Young S”,( another silly name) who was sportin’ THAT kind of cash? Again, always amazes me, these car makers humble beginnings ( in this country) and what they turned into. They couldn’t give these away, in fact, I seem to remember, some got one with a new Oldsmobile, or something. What else amazes me, is they actually thought Americans could drive something like this. Clearly unfamiliar with what we drove here. I knew a gal that had one, barely did 40 mph, a hazard on todays roads, and was sitting for several years, because they couldn’t find a mater cylinder. That was 30 years ago, I doubt parts have gotten any better. Probably make a better mailbox today.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Louis Chen

      I’m parts can be duplicated with 3-D printing Technology!

      Like 2
  3. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    When I lived in eastern PA my friend was turned on to a abandoned junk yard where there was a collection of micro cars. This guy had a number of Subaru 360’s and he had school buses filled with NOS 360 parts. Apparently he must have bought out dealer stock. Now I wonder if the stash ever got discovered or simply scrapped.

    Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Mitchell Gildea Member

    “Rare and desirable” and also a basket case and potential money pit

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Todd Fitch Staff

    Thanks for bringing this one to the hallowed halls of barnfinds. I know of these only thanks to you, and I hope you find the one of your dreams.

    Like 4
  6. Avatar photo Mike

    My ex-brother in law had one rotting away at his parents backyard under a tarp. You can imagine the smell inside. I’ve noticed that old, musty Japanese cars smell different than old musty US cars and even German cars are a little different too. Maybe it’s the amount of plastic used? Anybody notice this?

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo RoughDiamond

    Malcolm Bricklin did not seem to have much success with the make of cars he imported or put his name on.

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo chrlsful

    like em small too. 4WD even better

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Ben T.Spanner

    I had a Honda Z600. At times I drove it on interstate highways. The only car i ever remember passing was a Subaru 360. He was entering on an uphill ramp. I honked with my moped like horn, just to say hi. He gave me an ugly look until he saw what I was driving, then he was all smiles.

    I blew his suicide hinged doors off.

    Like 8
  10. Avatar photo FOG

    Wouldn”t it be great if somebody from the Lafayette Subaru Plant bought this an restored it to show in the reception lobby.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo KEN TILLY UK Member

      I did just that back in 1997 back in South Africa and sold it to the first Subaru dealer in the state, and as of 2015 when I was last there, it was still sitting in his showroom. The new Subaru’s didn’t sell very easily but just about everybody that visited him wanted to buy the 360! I drove it just once. Horrible car.

      Like 4
  11. Avatar photo ChingaTrailer

    Why do these photos show a LHD car?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      ChingaTrailer, the Young SS was right-hand-drive.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo ChingaTrailer

        Yes, but why is this car LHD?

        Like 0
  12. Avatar photo FOG

    On the question of LHD vehicles. Many foreign automobile manufactures produced for the world market and had designs incorporated to readily build for LHD operations as it came down the assembly lines with there respective build sheets attached. I’ve seen stamping and block off plugs in British, Japanese, Italian, and German cars that were RHD, but evidence in some of those cars were shown to be ready to become LHD as needed for it’s destination road laws.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo MG Steve

    During their “time”, I was in the Coast Guard Reserves, and we did our monthly meetings on “Terminal Island” . . . a fancy name for the Port of Los Angeles. There were thousands of these, all in gray or white, if I remember correctly. They sat there for years. Didn’t seem like the number of cars in that “field” ever decreased. They got very dirty, lots of flat tires, some vandalism to windows and the like. It was kind of an amusement or curiosity as I made my way to the monthly meeting. One fine “meeting weekend”, they were all gone. Rumor was they were shipped back to Japan.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo YellowSub360

      They were sent from La to Michigan. Sat out there in a corn field for years.

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo MRTHMBL

    It’s great to come across this, I was the purchaser and am in the process of a meticulous restoration. Can’t wait for a before and after article ;)

    Like 0

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