Subaru sold the tiny Justy in the United States from the 1987 through 1994 model years, during which time it competed for sales against the likes of the similarly small-and-cheap Geo Metro and Ford Festiva. A couple of interesting optional features made the Justy stand out; one was the continuously variable transmission (available starting in 1989), and the other was a four-wheel-drive system (available starting in 1988). Today’s Junkyard Treasure lacks the CVT—which didn’t work so well in the real world—but has the 4WD, which made it an ideal Colorado winter beater.
The three different typefaces will make graphic designers cringe, but this car was cheap, cheap, cheap, and the buyers didn’t mind. The GL 4WD was the most expensive Justy of 1993, and it listed for $9,638 (about $17,775 today).
This 1.2-liter three-banger made 73 horsepower, which was 24 more than the 1.0-liter straight-three in the 1993 Geo Metro XFi. Some say Justys had carburetors well into the 1990s, but I’ve only found fuel-injected examples.
With the CVT in place, these cars were miserably slow. This car has the five-speed manual, which would have made it reasonably enjoyable to drive (in an empty, snow-covered supermarket parking lot at 3:00 AM). To engage four-wheel-drive, you pushed the button on the shift knob; if you left it in 4WD on dry pavement for too long, you’d hurt the tires—or worse.
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