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Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

Place to come in and say HI to the club after you have registered

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jbills
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Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Portland, OR USA

Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#1 Post by jbills » 8 years ago

Santa was good to me this year and has brought me something to occupy all of my time. :)

I'm not quite sure when I got bit by the microvan bug. I think, like many parents, I just wanted my little Fiat 124 Spider to have a sibling. You know, a little buddy to goof off with. Play the bassline to "heart & soul" - toss a frisbee around on the beach - that sort of thing.

So after we moved to Portland and I got realistic about my "cars to own before I die" list, I decided I could make room for a little haul around runabout with a back seat of some kind, as long as it was efficient. I thought that would fill in the gaps that owning a ragtop convertible created. no back seat, terrible rain/winter driving. I took it out today and... brrrr! So, in too many words, I started obsessing over the idea of keeping it in the family with a Fiat Multipla from the 50/60's, an ultra-rare 600 variant. But those are simply IMPOSSIBLE to find short of going to italy and shipping one back, so I shifted my efforts to the still impossible but slightly more likely Subaru 360 van that you all have. Fantastic. Style. Curves in all the right places. Versatile. Classic. Surprisingly cargo friendly. And not to mention every time I see one I just want to bottle it up and put a cork on it.

So, the fire was further fanned when I discovered Jet Industries imported the 80's version of the 360 (the Subaru 600 van) and sold it as a factory electric vehicle, and that my neighbor 2 blocks down had one of these "Electravans." Wow. Just... wow. Seriously cool.

I continued to search for the right 360 to come along for a few months. When out of nowhere, the unthinkable - one of those fancy Electravans popped up for sale.

Bought.

It needs TLC. body, mechanical, electrical, all of the above. But I see the potential and it'll be worth it in the end. When it comes to cars, I see no need to fool around pr change things up every few years - monogomy is the best policy. just like my Fiat, I'll be driving this a ton and holding onto this little dude until it falls apart like on the flintstones. it has 8000 miles on it, I figure it's good for a few more. :)

So now if you all would bestow on me honorary 360-ness and let me lurk on your message boards to try to find parts and answers as I try to get this little 600 back on the road, i'd be most appreciative! was very happy to find this club!

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books1
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#2 Post by books1 » 8 years ago

Consider your 360-ness bestowed! (But be very careful.... with some it has turned into the 360-ness monster!)

Welcome to the Club from downunder, Mele!

A good (fellow Aussie) friend who was my rally navigator back in the late 70s resides in your good city as a professor nowadays!

Cheers,

Ian

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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#3 Post by subaru360nut » 8 years ago

Welcome to The Club!

There are several other members with Electravans, see the new Roster and look for EV in the vehicle column.

Last time our SW meet was in Phoenix Mike Radtke's son brought his EV. There is also a nice one in LANE MOTOR MUSEUM in Nashville TN - a place you should see if you are ever in that area.

We bought our oil-burner '70 van in 2/75 and still drive it every day, it has never let us down.

Ed Parsil, Tucson AZ
300,000+ miles on Subaru 360s since Feb. 1975, and have never (yet) been stuck on the road with one!

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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#4 Post by StevenM » 8 years ago

Welcome to the Club! Best of luck with your 600. Lucky that you live in Portland; there's a club-member here that lives near you with a whopping collection of super-nice 360 vans and sedans - you will be needing to pay this guy a visit (uh, Mark, are you there?)

Hope you had a Mele Kalikimaka; Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to you, too! (Jeez I wish I was back on Molokai right now!)

Steve
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'70 Subaru 360 Young http://www.mysubaru360.com
'71 Honda 600 Coupe http://www.honda600coupe.com
'78 MG Midget http://www.1978mgmidget.com

2stroketurbo
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#5 Post by 2stroketurbo » 8 years ago

Yep, I'm right here!. I may have added some inspiration to this noble young man's quest for a 360 or, in his case, an electravan.....

I probably need to tone it down a bit, sometimes I feel like I single handedly create demand for 360's by having so much fun with them......Whenever I meet someone new, they later state going home very excited check the internet for Subaru 360 information availability for sale.
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#6 Post by 2stroketurbo » 8 years ago

books1 wrote:Consider your 360-ness bestowed! (But be very careful.... with some it has turned into the 360-ness monster!)

Welcome to the Club from downunder, Mele!

A good (fellow Aussie) friend who was my rally navigator back in the late 70s resides in your good city as a professor nowadays!

Cheers,

Ian

Ian, really? when you get tired of being so sunbaked and parched you should vome visit us! Our climate has wonderful skin moisturizer, cool refreshing natural air, and the best tapwater in the world...as well as a few 360's....
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#7 Post by StevenM » 8 years ago

2stroketurbo wrote:I probably need to tone it down a bit, sometimes I feel like I single handedly create demand for 360's by having so much fun with them....
No, don't tone it down until every 360 with a tree growing through it, or buried under boxes in some garage, or whatever, has been gone through and put back on the road!

Woohoo, 1,000 posts!
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'70 Subaru 360 Young http://www.mysubaru360.com
'71 Honda 600 Coupe http://www.honda600coupe.com
'78 MG Midget http://www.1978mgmidget.com

jbills
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#8 Post by jbills » 8 years ago

2stroketurbo wrote:Yep, I'm right here!. I may have added some inspiration to this noble young man's quest for a 360 or, in his case, an electravan.....
Definitely. Mark, you just ooze 360! But in your case, that's a good thing. :lol:

we'll be seeing you soon!

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books1
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#9 Post by books1 » 8 years ago

books1 wrote:(But be very careful.... with some it has turned into the 360-ness monster!)
Just to clarify - that was intended to refer to the amount of one's life that the hobby has turned out occupying....

- nothing at all to do with any one person's individual restoration or anything like that!! (on the re-read,
methinks it could have been interpreted that way! If so, very sorry, not intended!)

Cheers,

Ian

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books1
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#10 Post by books1 » 8 years ago

2stroketurbo wrote:
books1 wrote:Consider your 360-ness bestowed! (But be very careful.... with some it has turned into the 360-ness monster!)

Welcome to the Club from downunder, Mele!

A good (fellow Aussie) friend who was my rally navigator back in the late 70s resides in your good city as a professor nowadays!

Cheers,

Ian

Ian, really? when you get tired of being so sunbaked and parched you should vome visit us! Our climate has wonderful skin moisturizer, cool refreshing natural air, and the best tapwater in the world...as well as a few 360's....
I nearly did - back in 1983... I'd booked the fare, got an itinerary organised and all... then I realised I'd be paying for it for the rest of my life (it was all on American Express), so I wore the cancellation penalty fee instead. Turned out the best decision of my life as my Father died unexpectedly that year and I was there to say a final goodbye, which I probably wouldn't have been able to get back in time for, had I come to visit your lovely country. - I still haven't given up on the idea, there's still plenty of time....... :)

Heck, why don't I just drive the Young SS over?? :shock: :shock: :shock: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

2stroketurbo
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#11 Post by 2stroketurbo » 8 years ago

Jay's ElectraVan

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books1
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#12 Post by books1 » 8 years ago

Thanks Mark - methinks we never had any of those vehicles down here!

Cheers,

Ian

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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#13 Post by subaru360nut » 8 years ago

Jet Industries in Austin TX did the conversions and sold those Electavans in the late '70s - early '80s.. Several other members drive them. In 1980 we moved to Tucson and I saw one on the road, it belonged to Tucson Electric Power - in early '81 I went to TEP and found the head of the vehicle maint. shop, he told me they bought it in '78 because they could get the "fuel" free, when they had to replace all the batteries in 2 years for $2000. they found out it didn't run as cheap as they had hoped.

He let me see the parts book, I really went thru it hoping maybe brake parts, tie rod ends, or other items that were getting difficult to find for 360 Sambars would fit. The ONLY things I found that would cross over were the tires, 8 ply 5.20x10 bias ply and they would have cost more than twice what I could then get Michelin XZX radials for!

TEP sold it about 1990 and I saw it around the northwest side of town a few times, then lost track of it.

See P. 238-240 of the BOR for a related story.

Ed
300,000+ miles on Subaru 360s since Feb. 1975, and have never (yet) been stuck on the road with one!

jbills
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Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Portland, OR USA

Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#14 Post by jbills » 8 years ago

yes, the electravan will now be at least towable thanks to Mark and his wizardry. well, the tires are dry rotted and it only had 1 shock (??) but at least it will roll up and down a flatbed trailer now. :)

rolling for the first time since being left for dead in the previous owner's driveway in 1995! (good guess mark)

jbills
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Joined: 8 years ago
Location: Portland, OR USA

Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#15 Post by jbills » 8 years ago

subaru360nut wrote:The ONLY things I found that would cross over were the tires, 8 ply 5.20x10 bias ply and they would have cost more than twice what I could then get Michelin XZX radials for!
yep, mark confirmed there wasn't much in common between a "sambar 2" and a "sambar 3." Kind of a bummer, really.

And as an extra layer, if you see a true Japanese or S American Sambar 3 (600), or the propane powered one exported to Taiwan, you'll notice that Jet Industries made a few of their own mods to these electravans. The most obvious is the beefier bumper, which came from a Plymouth Horizon of all things. Coil over shocks to help support the extra 1500lbs of batteries they were putting in. a lot of other little tweaks that the electravan community has discovered over the years and found a lot of questionable Jet engineering. But I'm prepared to love it despite these differences. :)

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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#16 Post by 2stroketurbo » 8 years ago

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kjrcace360fan
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#17 Post by kjrcace360fan » 8 years ago

Dude, You got it just as bad as the rest of us. You should fit right in. :mrgreen:
Spud the Orange Young, Hippie, Little John the Truck & Dune Buggy.

jbills
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#18 Post by jbills » 7 years ago

Interesting development. I mentioned my neighbor 2 blocks down? Who also had an Electravan? Uh, he sold it to me. Possible temporary insanity, but he came around one day and asked if I was interested and the price was right. Am I interested in not spending several weekends slugging it out with body work and rewiring? YES!

He decided he was done with his and wanted to flip it up with a Jeep or a motorcycle or something different. So I'm now the proud owner of both a running AND a project van. I'll get to the project van at some point down the line when time permits.

So, in a roundabout way, I cheated. But woo ha, I'm on the road!

And I have to say, here for the next couple of weeks with both vans parked out front? To quote Mitch Hedburg - "Cutest... infestation... ever."

Image

Happy ending?

2stroketurbo
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#19 Post by 2stroketurbo » 7 years ago

you must mean...Happy Beginning!

Double your pleasure, double your fun !
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kjrcace360fan
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#20 Post by kjrcace360fan » 7 years ago

The perspective or the tree makes the first one look much bigger.
Spud the Orange Young, Hippie, Little John the Truck & Dune Buggy.

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books1
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Re: Mele Kalikimaka from Portland, OR

#21 Post by books1 » 7 years ago

kjrcace360fan wrote:The perspective or the tree makes the first one look much bigger.
- but that's only from the tree's perspective... :mrgreen:

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