SUBARU1000（Launched in 1966）
Friday, 8 Jun 2012
The first thing we will touch on is Subaru’s car making of nearly a half century ago. This might be before you were even born. However, this isn’t just some simple tale about the good old days. It is a documentary about persons who tookon the challenge of creating new technology in an era when there was very little accumulated information or technical knowledge, and even tools were not sufficiently available.
As the name indicates, the Subaru 1000 was a four-door sedan with a 1,000-cc displacement engine that was unveiled in 1965. This was only seven years after the first car that Subaru had introduced to the market: the Subaru 360, a lightweight kei car with a 360-cc air-cooled two-cycle engine (a kei car is a unique designation used in Japan to denote lightweight compact vehicles that are different from larger cars with a larger displacement, and are accorded favorable treatment in regards to taxes and other legalities).
During those seven years, the Subaru 360 had enjoyed impressive sales, and car ownership was becoming a reality for ordinary Japanese people. It was around this time that car population was starting to grow rapidly in the country along with color TV sets and air conditiners (“cooler” in Japan) as the “three C treasures” that represented affluence.Carmakers other than Subaru also introduced 1,000-cc class passenger vehicles such as the Corolla (introduced by Toyota in 1966), the Sunny (introduced by Nissan in 1966), and the Familia (introduced by Mazda in 1963).
After its unveiling, the Subaru 1000 went on sale on May 14, 1966. It was the year that FHI’s new headquarters building “Subaru Building” was completed (January 10) and the Beatles made their first visit to Japan causing such excitement in the country (June 29).
The Subaru 1000, which went on sale amidst this vibrant atmosphere, was also filled with the overflowing energy of Subaru engineers of that time. That passion for creating automobiles, as well as the mechanisms that could be considered as extremely distinctive and even bold, have been inherited without change by Subaru car manufacturing of today.