Subarus, early models

In researching Subaru issues I ran across this…


The model (now Social Security age) was the best part of the commercial.

Good reminder…Subaru has come a long way. Just the name had to be a tough handle to live with. The early ones, and even later were borderline junk. I tore the front end panels off my first one just to substantiate my worse fears. It was “designed” to rust. It took me twenty years before I even considered buying another.

I believe Consumer Reports tested one of these Subaru 360 models and rated it “Not Acceptable”. CR dontated the car to a trade school for educational use, but not to be driven on public roads.

The little su-BAR-u…WOW! Hilarious…

My Subaru dealer has one of those in the showroom, to show how far they’ve come, I guess! I always wondered why the older (pre-'85 or so) Subarus were anything but smooth, despite the supposedly-balance engine layout.

There were quite a few 360s on the roads in Japan in 1970. At that time Honda had a comparable sized car on the road. All the similar sized cars were somewhat slow. A multi-fuel 6x6 could easily out run those and most other cars on the Tomei Expressway. Our trucks were governed to under 70 mph.

About 10 years ago, at a local car show, someone was displaying an all-original Subaru 360, and I was amazed to see how tiny and flimsy the car was. CR’s assessment that the car was unsafe to ride in was undoubtedly true.

What made this very old 360 even more interesting was that it had something like 10 miles on the odometer. The story, according to the exhibitor, was that the car had been left–along with tools and some parts–inside a very small dealership that went out of business sometime in the mid-70s. He bought the building and discovered his “bonus” inside when he began the clean-out process.

Realizing that it had more value as a curiosity than as actual transportation, the owner has only replaced batteries and perodically changed the oil as the car is only driven on and off a tiny trailer occasionally in order to take it to car shows.

Great! A 40 year learning curve to get to where they are today. I believe Malcolm Bricklin was the first to import Subarua before Sbaru of America started doing it directly.

Consumer Reports wa honest in their assessment to rate it “not acceptable” for US driving conditions.

One thing is sure, it won’t take the Chinese 40 years to have good cars on the road in America; I estimate about 10 years to get to the quality level of Japanese and Korean cars.