Subaru 360

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Subaru 360 smile.jpg
Production period: 1958-1970
Class : Microcar
Body versions : Sedan , station wagon , convertible
Otto engines : 0.36–0.42 liters
(11.7–26.5 kW)
Length: 2995 mm
Width: 1300 mm
Height: 1349 mm
Wheelbase :
Empty weight : 444 kg
successor Subaru R-2

The Subaru 360 was a two-door small car produced by the Japanese car manufacturer Subaru from 1958 to 1971 and was also the brand's first large-scale model.

Concept and technology

Visually, the Subaru 360 had basic similarities with the VW Beetle and Fiat Nuova 500 , but technically more with the Goggomobil (2-stroke) and had a comparable role in the motorization of the Japanese population. His Japanese nickname is cockchafer in German . Its air-cooled two-cylinder two-stroke engine sat in the rear and drove the rear wheels; however, the Subaru was much less successful than the Beetle in terms of numbers. At 356 cm³, the cubic capacity was just below the upper limit of 360 cm³ which was valid until the end of 1975 for the small cars ( kei cars ) that were tax-privileged in Japan .

Other technical features included a self-supporting body with a roof made of glass fiber reinforced plastic (wheelbase: 1800 mm), drum brakes all around and a 3-speed gearbox. From the mid-1960s, it was also possible to order a four-speed transmission with a fourth gear designed as an overdrive . The doors hinged at the back are striking. The first model also had only one windshield wiper on the driver's side.

Initially the engine of the 360 ​​made 16 hp. The range was later expanded with the 23 hp 423 cm³ engine (the 450, internal K212). With the latter engine, the car reached a top speed of about 90 km / h and accelerated to 80 km / h in about 36 seconds. The standard consumption of 3.6 liters per 100 kilometers specified by the factory could not be achieved in practice; a value of 8.4 liters was determined in the test.

In addition to the two-door sedan, there was a station wagon ( 360 Custom ), a convertible and two different sports versions. The 360 Young S had a slightly more powerful engine, tachometer and a black roof with white trim. The 360 Young SS came up with a 36 hp twin carburetor engine. In 1961, a pickup truck derived from the 360, the Subaru Sambar, was introduced .

The Subaru 360 was also briefly imported to the USA by Malcolm Bricklin in 1968-1970 , but without any notable success. Production ended in May 1970. 392,016 models of the 360 ​​and 450 were made.

Web links

Commons : Subaru 360  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  • Chauvin, Xavier: Japanese Automobiles. The most iconic models from 1960 to 1975 . Heel-Verlag, Königswinter 2007; here: p. 137f.
  • Road & Track Road Test Annual for 1970, pp. 125ff.