Monday, March 2, 2015

5k: 80% Rebuilt: 1970 Subaru 360 Deluxe

 The list of cars that make yesterday's Volkswagen Rabbit seem fast and appear macho is short...but the Suburu 360 Ladybug is guaranteed a spot.   The Subaru 360 microcar was built by Fuji Heavy Industries from 1958-1971.  It has a similar rear engine layout, roomy interior and brutal slowness of the Fiat 500 classic, but somehow it misses the hipster love that is thrown at the Italian car...which is fine because nice examples are cheap.  Find this 1970 Subaru 360 Deluxe offered for $8,000 in Gardena, CA via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.

The Subaru 360 was the first mass produced vehicle from Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries and was named for its 360cc twin-cylinder 2-stroke engine mounted behind the rear wheels.  The 360 was slow, even in its day, with a top speed of 60 miles per hour and a recorded 0-50mph of 37 seconds.

The 2-cylinder 2-stroke engine mounted out back displaces 0.36 liters and makes an even 36 horsepower...for a healthy 2-stroke power density of 100 horsepower per liter.  Reports peg the 360 fuel economy at around 50 mpg, and given the performance we are likely to believe it.  Features were limited on even the highest spec versions and this one has what looks like two gauges and a cigarette lighter on the dash.

See a slower old microcar?


  1. This car is a perfect candidate for a game of "Would you rather", to be played with Ralph Nader and a '64 Corvair.

    In fact, I like the Subaru 360. I have never driven one (actually, I have never even seen one up close) but I like the concept. Devoted owners say that it is much better than one would guess from the specs. Microcars can be like that.

    (But not always. I drove a 1990s Fiat Panda 900cc in Europe for a few weeks. It was far LESS than you might have imagined from the specs.)

    1. Oh, and by the way, 36 bhp in such a light car is not to be sneezed at. My 2CV has only 33 bhp, and I can cruise comfortably at over 60 mph all day.

  2. This standard 360 has only 25 hp. The "SS" model sold only in Japan had the dual carb 36 hp engine. Also, that knob on the dash is the headlight switch. No cigarette lighter on these, although the van version does have an ash tray in the rear.


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