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Subaru Mini Jumbo. Who does not honor the small

Subaru Mini Jumbo front
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Long before it became the name of the now very successful supermarket chain, Subaru introduced the Subaru Mini Jumbo in 1982 in the Netherlands. The car was based on the Subaru Rex that was delivered in Japan. And which, incidentally, was also supplied as a 4WD case.

The model was equipped with a 665 cm3 two-cylinder in-line engine with 37 hp. The New Subaru Mini Jumbo was presented in 1988. This had a somewhat upgraded design with the small headlights characteristic of the time. A year later, the Mini-Jumbo was also available with a 758 cc four-cylinder in-line engine with 42hp. This model also got a 5th gear. The Mini-Jumbo was delivered until 1992, after which it was succeeded by the Vivio.


They have not been made since 1992 and have almost disappeared from the streets. And rarely is one offered for sale: the Subaru Mini Jumbo. And that is actually a very strange name for a car where you now see less of it than, for example, a Jaguar E-type.

Subaru: In The States, they put the emphasis on the first syllable on our second

Just listen to Blondie's 'Rapture'. And Subaru? That brand was created shortly after the Second World War as a spin-off from the Nakajima Aircraft Works Corporation. Because just after the Second World War, the victors of this tragedy just didn't seem such a good idea to let the Japanese make planes again. Subaru has become known for its very small cars and the wide use of four-wheel drive. This made the brand unbelievably popular in the Alpine regions. That whole 4WD event in the passenger car corner started at Subaru as early as 1974.

Also interesting: From The Eighties: The Subaru XT Turbo 4WD

Subaru, since 1974 in the Netherlands

Subaru has been active on the Dutch market since April 1, 1974. And that was one of the better promotions of April 1 since ages. The first Subaru came to the Netherlands in 1975. The responsible for that entire export / import event was Misuca Europe. Misuca was the car division of the large Japanese trading house Mitsu, a contraction of Mitsui Subaru Cars. Later that became Subaru the Netherlands. In the beginning it did not go so smoothly with the sale of the Subaru's. In the Netherlands, the brand almost went out in 1980, when it sold only around 300 cars in that year. That deep dip resulted in a short-term bankruptcy in 1981.

The resurrection

Due to brief and forceful intervention by the management of Subaru Nederland, that bankruptcy only lasted six hours. The curator waved goodbye and Subaru was again beautiful at the passenger car RAI. From that moment the problems for Subaru were over. In 1989, Subaru introduced its first, really spacious, adult car. That was the Subaru Legacy, with its 'pillarless' side windows without middle posts. That was seen as very chic. The Legacy had another feature that would adorn Subaru's signature for a very long time: the car had a (fantastic running and reliable) liquid-cooled boxer engine. And that Four Wheel Drive.

The Rex and the Subaru Mini Jumbo

Three generations of the Subaru Mini Jumbo were built between 1972 and 1992. The car appeared as a three and five door hatchback. It is not for nothing that this model has been given the name Mini Jumbo. The compact size does not detract from the character of the cart. And boarding, at least in the two-door version, is also great for full sized Dutchmen. That little one first had a two-cylinder engine, but later got a 'mature' 758 cc four-cylinder. He didn't have a 4WD.

Not made for eternity

The lion's share of Subaru Mini Jumbos has disappeared in the mists of time. Because no matter how good they were, they could rust. And a status as a classic? No one had ever thought about that before. Yet sometimes a cool, 'old' Subaru comes onto the market. These are usually imported cars, but there are also sporadic Mini Jumbootjes or Legacy's that have been of the famous 'Old Women'. Or they come from a legacy of someone from the Bible Belt, where such an elderly Japanese man was mainly used as a 'church car'.

And what is such a Mini Jumbo worth now?

  1. It is rare
  2. He is not very wanted
  3. He does not add status
  4. He is not fast
  5. He is not groundbreaking
  6. He's not…

But he is sweet, endearing and pleasant to use.

So the Subaru Mini Jumbo is worth what the proverbial fool gives it.

But that fool is a lovable person with a friendly appetite for endearing transport. A classic enthusiast.

5 Comments

Give a reaction
  1. Hallo,

    mir gefällt der Mini Jumbo und auch der Nachfolger Subaru Vivio sehr. Das were wirklich schnuckeltje Autos und auch sehr zuverlässig. Leader who both were bei uns nie angeboten (In Deutschland es bei Subaru erst mit dem Justy los). Ich wünsche den Autos einen treuen Liebhaberkreis!

  2. Very nice cart, I enjoyed driving it for about a year or so….

    After a while I exchanged it for an Impreza Plus 1.8 AWD ...

    That was really a great car
    I don't really have much with Japanese people (even though they are definitely the very best cars out there ...)

    But… SubaRules !! 🤘🏽👌🏾

  3. We Ollandesie mispronounce the names of Korean brands, I understood that after a visit by a number of Koreans ...
    It is indeed SUbaru, stress in the front.
    And also not Hie-oen-daj but Ie-oen-dèh (Hyundai). emphasis in the back.

    Well ..

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