The Subaru 360 was the first automobile mass-produced by Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru division. A number of innovative features were used to design a very small and inexpensive car to address government plans to produce a small “people’s car” with an engine no larger than 360 cc when most in Japan could not afford a car. The body size and the engine capacity were designed to match within Japan’s kei car regulation. Nicknamed the “ladybug” in Japan, it was one of Japan’s most popular cars, and among the smallest cars in the world to attract a significant following.
Approximately 10,000 360s was exported to the United States by Malcolm Bricklin, with an original price of $1,297.
The Subaru 360 received notoriety in 1969, when Consumer Reports magazine branded the automobile “Not Acceptable” because of safety concerns and lack of power. Because the car weighed under 1000 pounds, it was exempt from normal safety standards, but it was reported that it fared badly in a test crash against a large American car with the bumper ending up in the passenger compartment of the Subaru.
Sales soon collapsed, as there were various rumors of Subaru 360s being tossed overboard or being shredded to pieces. It was also reported that many 360s sat on dealers’ lots for two or three years without ever being purchased.
About this car:
It was produced from 1958-1971, and were the first line of vehicles produced by Fuji Heavy Industries
It is a 2 cyl, 356cc engine, producing 25HP. It is a 2-stroke engine.
The car is 118 inches long, 51 inches wide, and 54 inches tall, a checks in at 900 pounds. It offers seating for 4 people.
It rides on 4.8 x 10″ wheels, with a top speed of 60 (more like 50/55)
About this time is when my father noticed this cute little car sitting ignored on a local lot. I’m not able to find documentation that shows how much he paid for it, but I’m sure it was well under the $1297.
Those that did buy them found parts and service hard to find, since Subaru did not import them they were not obligated to honor them