You may get confused by this 1994 Subaru Samba currently bidding on ebay UK for £1,995 GBP ($3000 USD), but it is actually a Subaru Sambar van that has been modified to look like a VW Type 2 Samba – hence the name change. There were various “nicknames” for the different Type 2 variations; Samba (deluxe trim), Kombi (half passenger / half cargo), Microbus (regular station wagon), Single Cab / Double Cab (pickups)…and so on. “Transporter” was the official/unofficial VW nickname for the whole range of Type 2 vehicles, but this vehicle is a small rear engine Subaru kei-car.
If you are having one of those “please don’t adjust your set” moments, you won’t be the first, as we had several double takes and spent some time scratching our heads when we first saw this. The Subaru Sambar does a remarkably good impression of a 3/4 scale VW Transporter and this one is complete with VW badges and classic ‘bus bikini-butt’ two-tone coloring on the front.
The Sambar is powered by a 660 cc EN07 inline-4 cylinder gasoline engine located in the rear that puts out 54 horsepower into the rear wheels. Expect performance to be ‘motorscooter-esque’ at best. If you look at the bright side, it gives you more time to enjoy the scenery everywhere you go.
The Sambar complies with the Japanese kei-car (keijidōsha or light automobile) regulations for size but offers a surprising amount of versatility for its overall dimensions. It also looks like it will tip over at the slightest crosswind, but we have it on good authority from our Japanese resident friends that these are fine to drive anywhere.
See a better kei-car that isn’t a total pile of krap? email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org