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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: Not all JDM vehicles are Fast & Furious

Pick of the Day: Not all JDM vehicles are Fast & Furious

Kei cars and trucks such as this 1988 Subaru Sambar are small and lightweight

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Kei is a special category of subcompact vehicles produced in Japan, where owners of such vehicles pay less in taxes and thus such vehicles account for around one-third of all automotive sales in the Japanese Domestic Market. 

The Japanese government approved the category in the aftermath of a World War II. As in Europe, many people in Japan could afford motor scooters but not standard automobiles, so small enclosed vehicles were produced that were lightweight enough to be propelled by motorcycle engines. 

In Europe, there were vehicles such as the BMW Isetta and in Japan a fleet of small cars and trucks, including the Pick of the Day, a 1988 Subaru Sanbar, a compact cab-over pickup truck being offered for sale by a private owner through an advertisement on ClassicCars.com.

Subaru, Pick of the Day: Not all JDM vehicles are Fast & Furious, ClassicCars.com Journal

The seller says the kei truck is in “immaculate condition” after being imported from Japan, and has an odometer verified at 18,845 kilometers or 11,709 miles.

“With its peppy four speed manual and 2WD it’s prefect for in town driving,” the owner reports. 

The seller adds that the vehicle has been upgraded with a luggage carrier mat in its pickup bed and that the Sanbar “runs & drives effortlessly.”

The vehicle has its original rear-mounted engine, the seller reports, which means it is either a 544cc or 665cc unit. Both are 2-cylinder engines, the smaller rated at 28 horsepower and the larger at 31. The engine in the Sambar on offer is linked to a 4-speed manual gearbox.

Subaru, Pick of the Day: Not all JDM vehicles are Fast & Furious, ClassicCars.com Journal

The owner is asking $9,739. To view this vehicle in ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

4 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Where is the vehicle located?
    2. Most of these JDM pickups have a 5 speed transmission and 4 wheel drive.
    3. It does not have factory air conditioning.
    4. My 1993 Daihatsu Hijet, a JDM vehicle, has the much preferred automatic transmission and factory air conditioning.
    5. It is greatly overpriced.

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