Subaru 360 - It's Cheap, and it's Ugly
Hard to imagine that anyone would use that as an advertising slogan. But Malcolm Bricklin decided that this was the best way to market the car in the US.
The car was car manufactured and marketed from 1958 to 1971 by Subaru. As the company’s first automobile, production reached 392,000 over its 12-year model run.
Noted for its small overall size, 1,000 lb curb weight, monocoque construction, swing axle rear suspension, fiberglass roof panel, and rear-hinged doors, the inexpensive car was designed in response to the Japanese government’s light car or Kei car regulations.
The 360 featured an air-cooled, 2-stroke inline 2-cylinder 356 cc engine mounted transversely at the rear, and was introduced March 3, 1958.
From 1968, approximately 10,000 were exported to the US, with an original price of $1,297. The 360 was imported to the United States by Malcolm Bricklin before he later manufactured his own cars.
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.
This open top model is a recent Tomica Limited Vintage in true 1/64 scale, after the fixed roof verions came out last year.
And it is almost scarily tiny - just like the real car. But it’s cute. And neither cheap nor ugly, but definitely fun.