Hailing from Planet Quirk, this 1990 Subaru Domingo is very special in a whole heap of ways. Similar in bespoke Subaru oddness like the Brat, the Domingo is a rear-engined, 1200cc van (that 1200cc engine was shared with the Subaru Justy) with four wheels being driven at all times through the 5 speed manual transmission. Originally based on the kei class Sambar, the Domingo is slightly larger, seats 7, and is more luxurious. The odometer might hold the best detail of this van though, as it shows an astoundingly low (and verified) 15,200 km. That is a total of around 9,500 total miles in 29 years.
“Distinct” isn’t strong enough of a word to define the Domingo, “completely unique” is the only set of words that work. Two-tone dark and light bronze with bright and clear decals express that you have 4WD and that, it is indeed, full-time. All glass, trim, rubber, chrome and lights are perfect. The original rad as heck hubcaps are in good shape with some scratches. Neat details include “CHUO SUBARU” decals on the rear along with a “Sarutahiko shrine Ise city Mie Prefecture” reflector. Engine access is available from both the rear bumper swinging down and removal of a panel in the rear floor. Underside is pristine. Four brand new tires are mounted on the original steel wheels.
Inside is plaid as all hell. Gray plaid with maroon accent lines covers the seats, interior doors and rear interior panels. Much like the exterior, the inside is extremely clean and still smells new. Steering wheel isn’t worn, driver’s seat isn’t worn, heck even the original floor mats are not worn at all. Spotlessly fresh interior plastics and fabrics abound. Instrument panel includes a speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature gauge along with a helpful graphic reminding you the nature of the 4WD system (hint: It’s full time!). Above the instrument panel on the left there are two screw holes drilled into the plastic (shown in the pictures). Original AM head unit is still installed, with the HVAC controls below. Off to the left is the AC and blower controls, and let me tell you the air conditioning system in this tiny van works exceedingly well. It is also a dual system, there is another condenser in the rear interior roof that drops the interior temp very quickly when the system is running. Inside the glove compartment is the original toolkit with OEM ‘SUBARU’ bag, and the original owner’s manual inside a ‘Chuo Subaru’ sleeve. Also here is the road flare as the holder has a broken tab. Rear wiper controls, rear heater toggle, rear defroster and ‘normal’ or ‘snow’ 4WD system toggle round out the rest of the controls. Below this is the squeaky-clean shifter knob driving the buttery smooth 5 speed transmission. Between the driver and passenger seats is the power mirror controls. If you lift up the passenger seat you’ll find the original spare tire with jack. In back you’ll find the rear seats, also in excellent shape, with the original floor mats covering the floor. Back here you’ll find the OEM curtains in their original tracks as well, to give you privacy if you so choose. Above you’ll find the fan controls for the rear AC system, along with the two ‘SUN SUN’ windows on either side.
What else can be said about this van? Completely original and unrestored (even includes whole set of OEM seat covers with gold embroidered ‘Domingo’ logo) , it is one of the weirdest (in a good way) Subarus that exist, to say nothing of comparing it to most any other vehicle. Astonishing capable yet goofily tiny, exceptionally unique but extremely comfortable, this first generation Domingo stands out like nothing else.
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