Sumo Wrestler: 1992 Subaru Libero 4WD 5-Speed

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This 1992 Subaru Libero is one interesting vehicle and it’s quite a box-checker. It can be found here on eBay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a $9,900 buy it now price or you can make an offer. This rig is known as a Subaru Sumo but it had different names for most European markets – the Libero. It was known as the Domingo in Japan and it had other names as well in other countries.

This thing is cool, or I think it is. It basically checks all or almost all of the boxes for me. It’s a van (albeit an 11-foot long one), it has selectable 4wD via a button on the shifter, it has a ton of windows and an extended roof that has skylights/sunroofs on it, and it’s even, oddly-enough, left-hand-drive! I know, the vast majority of us look at these vans and little 4×4 pickups from Subaru and others and they’re right-hand-drive.

I would immediately put this one to use as a Japanese market scooter hauler, but that’s just me. It would be a great vehicle for getting down a remote gravel road for camping or fishing or photography or whatever. At 6′-5″ tall, of course, I can’t stand up in the back and most of you couldn’t either, but that extra headroom is great and those sunroofs are nice for letting the sun in.

One possible issue with having all of those sunroofs/skylights up there, I don’t know if this van has AC or not. It’s hard to tell from the interior dash photos which are mostly blurry, but I don’t see AC among the controls. Left-hand-drive is really unusual for these Subarus, at least in the U.S. They were never officially imported here and this one is for the European market, according to the seller.

There’s a lot of room in the back, or as much room as a van that’s just 11-feet long in total would have in the back. The seats should come out for semi-decent hauling duty. The seller has provided a ton of great photos – thanks, seller! – but there are no engine photos. I don’t blame them, it’s hidden in the rear and underneath panels. It’s Subaru’s EF12, a 1.2L triple with right around 70 hp. Have any of you seen a Subaru Libero 4WD van before?

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  1. Dave

    I remember seeing one of these in Nassau in the Bahamas and wondering why they didn’t sell them in the States. PennDOT’s winter witches brew will kill this in less than five winters.

    Like 1
  2. ccrvtt

    I want it. Don’t know why, but I want it.

    Like 2
  3. IronIndian

    I want it in an automatic;Been driving class 8 trucks for more than 52 years,almost all with manual transmissions so I want an automatic in my personal vehicle.

    Like 0
  4. KurtMember

    This looks like a VW van. I wish Subaru would come out with a 2.0 liter version that could become a camper a la VW Westphalia.

    Like 1
  5. Jeff

    Had a Subaru Domingo when we lived in Japan, My wife cried the day the transmission went out and they said they couldn’t replace the transmission since it would cost twice as much as we paid for the van. Very fun little vans and great for commuting in tight areas.

    Like 1
  6. Joe Bligh

    I used to tool around Japan in a similar vehicle; a Honda Acty 6 passenger micro van; with a turbocharged 660cc motorcycle engine. What a blast!!

    Like 1

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