Subaru 360
Vehicle Make/Model Specifications:
Make: Subaru
Model: 360
Subaru 360

The Subaru 360 was the first automobile mass produced by the Subaru division. It was in production from 1958 to 1971. Upon its introduction in 1958, the 360's engine pumped out 16 hp and Subaru claimed a whopping 66 mpg fuel economy. However, by the end of production, power had jumped to 25 hp with a 36 hp twin-carbureted engine available as an option. Several versions were produced, including a station wagon, known as the Custom, a convertible, and two sport models known as the Young S. This version had a slightly upgraded engine and transmission, bucket seats, a tachometer and a black and white striped roof. Interestingly enough, there was also a dent along the middle to put one's surfboard. The 360 featured an air-cooled, 2-stroke 356 cc engine mounted transversely at the rear. This is much like the Volkswagen Beetle except it was much smaller, much less powerful and was not nearly as well accepted in the marketplace. Further, the engine was engineered with a capacity of less than 360 cc so that the Subaru 360 would qualify for Japan's keicar racing class. The 360 was imported to the United States by Malcolm Bricklin, but unfortunately the Subaru 360 became infamous in 1969, when Consumer Reports magazine labeled the automobile as "Not Acceptable". They did this because of safety concerns and a lack of power. Needless to say, sales collapsed. Humorously, and most likely untrue, there were rumors of Subaru 360s being tossed overboard into the sea or being shredded to pieces and left for junk. More likely though was the report that many 360s sat on dealers' lots for two or three years without ever being sold. Somehow though, despite this horrible press, Subaru became popular in the United States with its later models, and remains profitable in the US market even today.

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