Billionaire investor/car guy/Yugo enthusiast Malcom Bricklin started importing the Subaru 360 in 1968, where he sold them for a basic starting price of $1,297. The little 360/Ladybug was only slightly faster than the typical lawnmower engine powered home-made go-kart, but had license plates and was legal to drive on the road. Unfortunately, US importation of the 360 ended by 1971, shortly after the muckrakers at Consumer Reports labeled the lightweight as “Not Acceptable” due to safety concerns. Imagine what those pearl clutchers would have said if they’d see a 360 that had been modified like this next one?! Find this 1971 Subaru 360 offered for $7,900 in Seattle, WA via craigslist.
This next car comes as a tip from Art C who writes: This is a great DD sleeper… lots of high quality parts.. for some reason the spec-b’s don’t get the big $$ the STi’s do, but they are 90% the drivers car, just a little softer and easier to live with every day. I have a feeling you could buy this, drive it 10k mi/yr, keep it in good shape, and sell it in a couple years for what you paid for it. Find this 2009 Subaru Legacy Spec B offered for $10,500 in Newburyport, MA via craigslist.
The second generation Subaru Forester was released for the US market in 2003, but in 2004 they released a turbocharged model called the XT that produced 210 horsepower from a 2.5 liter flat-4 that was based on the STi powerplant. This next example has a few miles and isn’t showroom perfect, but it’ll be good for taking the dogs to the park or kids to school AND hitting some dirt on the way home. Find this 2004 Subaru Forester XT offered for $6,600 near Charleston, SC via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
If you build your own Volkswagen Dune buggy you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment that is hard to beat. You’ll also learn a ton of stuff about building dune buggies and chassis wiring and all-around useful man skills. However, you might miss out on the birth of your second child and you will also likely have many scars to show for your hard work. Buying a used Dune Buggy, on the other hand, you get all of the Dune Buggy driving experiences without the hard work for pennies on the dollar. Seems like win win. Find this 1970 Volkswagen Dune Buggy offered for $14000 in San Francisco, CA via craigslist.
This next car is a Legacy GT, which combined all of the turbocharged flat-4 with manual gearbox goodness of an Impreza WRX, but with refinement and grown-up looks of the Legacy sedan. It won’t be as fast as an STI, but it’ll be way easier to live with on a day-to-day basis and you don’t need to take up vaping to own one. Find this 2010 Subaru Legacy GT offered for $6,900 in Royal Palm Beach, FL via craigslist. Tip from KM.
I was wavering between featuring a derelict Valiant Wagon and a sub $2k BMW 5-series when my teenage kid found this next car and suggested that I feature it because “it is awesome”. That fact is undeniable, but it is also expensive and completely unpractical as a family commuter to do things like carpool to soccer practice and all of the things normal people do with cars. But this isn’t a site for normal people, and Friday the 13th fell on a Saturday this month (today!), so enjoy this Subaru powered 1973 Volkswagen Baja Beetle offered for $18,900 buy-it-now or make offer in New Smyrna Beach, FL via ebay.
The STI version of Subaru’s Impreza WRX was first released for the US market in 2004. It has restyled (slightly) in 2006 and then got a major restyle in 2008. The new “jelly bean” styled STI was just as much of a dirt shredding maniac as the previous versions and it was only available as a 5-door wagon/hatch thing until the next restyle in 2011. Values for STI examples have been strangely flat for the last few years, not going up much and not going down much…which isn’t a bad way to go with your late model daily driver — own it and drive for 3-4 years and sell for the same price. Your friend who always buys new cars will end up paying a LOT more in the short term and long term, and you will drive an STI while he drives a base model Impreza. Find this 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI offered for $12,000 in Oakland, CA via craigslist.
Back when I was in college, I a friend who always drove when we went on a road trip. It wasn’t because he was the best driver or had the biggest or nicest car…no it was much more simple than that. He had the car that would always get us to our destination and back… and his car was a mid 80s Subaru Leone wagon. It didn’t have a turbo or all-wheel-drive like today’s example, but it always got a load of college kids to/from a concert, camping, or wherever college kids needed to go. He sold the car years ago, but I can only assume it is still being used by college kids to get around, or at least I hope it is. Anyway, if you want to make a political statement get a Tesla, but if need a car to get you places, get this 1985 Subaru Leone Turbo AWD offered for $6,000 near Santa Cruz, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
A New Car Review by E-i-C Vince; Before you get too concerned for me, don’t worry, I didn’t go out and buy a new car…but I think maybe somebody should. Hang with me as I explain my logic. I’ve wanted to feature more “new” cars on DT, because we folks like us hunker down and accept the Cubanization of the fun-car fleet we are put by the OE product planners into a marketing category with bacteria and other elements that won’t buy their cars. As a result, things like manual transmissions, rear-wheel-drive, limited slips (just read my grumpy old man 2020 top ten list) go into the “obsolete” bucket and self driving, disposable, electric pods become the norm. I first tried to find a really cheap manual transmission car like the Chevy Spark or Hyundai Elantra GT N but I was so disgusted by the styling that I had to up my budget to something just shy of $30k before I found something I could consider owning. Find this 2020 Toyota 86 offered for $27,060 starting MSRP via Toyota Dealers across the USA.
The Subaru Domingo was a slightly beefier version of the Subaru Sambar kei van. The Domingo (also called the Sumo, Libero, Combi, and Estratto depending on which market it was being sold) shared many of its components and chassis with the Sambar, but it had a larger engine that booted it from keitora (light truck in Japanese) car requirements, but allowed it to drive on the freeway at a reasonable clip and accelerate with traffic. Today’s example is not just powered by a 1.2 liter Subaru EF 3-cylinder that pushes out 66 horsepower into a 5-speed manual gearbox, but it is also equipped with all-wheel-drive. Find this 1993 Subaru Domingo GX AWD offered for $6,500 in Brooklyn, NY via craigslist. Tip from ME.