His name Subaru 360, and the Corporation is the first car Subaru in the class of small cars.
But let's not rush things and come back to Japan in the fifties of the twentieth century.
Postwar Japan destroyed under the control of the Americans ... At that time the roads of Japan traveled on the old mechanisms of three bicycle wheels with motorcycle engines, with some sort of makeshift buildings.
The country only to rebound. And in the mid-fifties the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan announced the establishment of the national plan for the Japanese car and offered to companies who developed motorcycles, cars, engines participate in this project. The conditions were tough: Interested companies offer to build 4-seater car with an engine displacement of less than 500 "cubes", a maximum speed of 100 km / h, a resource to 100 000 km and cost 150,000 yen ($ 417). Ministry counted 24 thousand such cars annually.
Almost all companies politely declined except for the Ministry of the company Fuji Heavy Industries.
Who seriously decided to undertake the development of the national Japanese car, for this purpose it was created and the Design Office in 1958 registered trademark Subary (the way from 1956 to 1958 they were originally produced mopeds Rabbit («Rabbit» - «Rabbit»)
If Germany was the Beetle, Mini England - March 3, 1958 in Japan, too, had its own symbol compact car called the Subaru 360.Eto was a two-door four-seater little car with a monocoque body. The machine had a 2-stroke 2-cylinder engine of 360 cubic cm and 20 hp at 5000 rev / min. Located behind the engine. 3-speed gearbox was fully synchronized.
It must be said that the Japanese in 1958 as it met this cool model. In that year it sold just 604 car.
But the car appeared on the road, and began to engage the views. About him began to speak and ask. And already in 1959, sales rose to 5,111 vehicles in 1961 and Japan and their pet sales rose to 22 319 vehicles a year.
The design of the car was very successful, very unpretentious in operation, that the postwar period was a very big plus.
Here are the technical characteristics of the Subaru 360, 1960 model year:
Dimensions (L x W x H): 2990mm x 1300mm x 1380mm
Vehicle weight: 385kg
Type: air-cooled, 2-stroke, 2-cylinder, were located parallel (motorcycle)
Bore and Stroke: 61 x 5 mm 60 0 mm
Compression ratio: 6, 5
Max. power (HP / rpm): 16/4, 500
Max. torque (kg-m / rpm): 3/3, 000
Front: basic-link, independent type
Rear: Pendulum, independent type
Specifications since 1960 continuously improved, so for example in 1961 the engine power increased to 18 hp, and the speed - up to 90 km / h; three years later she made her debut version of the 360 DeLuxe / Custom with a 20-horsepower engine, which in 1969 was replaced by a new generation of Subaru 360, known as R-2, with a motor of 25 "horses". At the same time it began the production modification of the charged "people» Subaru - Sport 360, developing, thanks to the power of 36 hp and speed of 120 km / h. At the same time improves the quality of the manufacture of machines of the brand (as well as all Japanese car manufacturers, to the mid-70s outstripped on this indicator not only American brand, and achieved a draw with the West).
Here is where the roots of the famous Japanese quality cars in the first Japanese car people.
The success of the Subaru 360, prompted the developers of this model to the development of new bodies.
So in the 60s appeared the Subaru 360 convertibles, pickups and vans, which have continued in many Japanese cars of other brands such as Nissan and Mazda Vannete Bingo.
Well-designed car was the start to capture the world the Japanese car. That Subaru, not Toyota has taken the first step to the phrase "Japanese car" has become synonymous with quality and correct operation.
In Japan, the Subaru 360 was fixed for good nickname "Ladybird", and these cars are still quite a few runs on the roads of Japan, and the way they are found in Europe and the US. And in Japan is considered to be a good sign to give way to the Subaru 360 and thus pay tribute to, and then the day would be the best)))
Japan said goodbye to his "ladybug" in the spring of 1970. In the May 1970 edition of the Subaru 360 was discontinued. Replaced by newer models, which I will try to tell in the pages of Ferro-Journal.
But with the cessation of production of the Subaru 360 - the car did not go into oblivion. He is remembered, loved and revered. On it everyone knows Japanese. Because for them it is more than an ordinary small car))).
And I'm sure that car designers more than once to return to the memory of the Subaru 360.
To rise and triumph of this small and funny car, which despite its similarities with ladybug regained his unshakable place in automotive history of the twentieth century.
Carefully preserved layout of the first prototype of a body sample Subaru 360 1956. Museum Subaru. Tokyo. Japan.