Subaru History Facts

As one of today’s leading vehicle manufacturers, Subaru’s global popularity is undeniable. Ranked top vehicle picks in all size categories, sales are continually rising as more individuals are seeking our reliable and fuel-efficient vehicles. *Insert everything amazing about Subaru’s here*, because really, what can’t we say?

But, we bet you didn’t know some of these interesting (and some downright comical) blast from the past facts in Subaru’s story. We had a hard time choosing, but here are our…

Top 5 history facts about our favorite vehicle

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…a Subaru

It’s interesting when you see how things progress. Subaru didn’t set out to create cars, initially. Nakajima Aircraft Company founded in 1918 by a Japanese naval engineer, focused on building military aircrafts. Eventually the company split, and Fuji Heavy Industries was born. Fuji Heavy Industries decided to move into manufacturing several different fields, including it’s first vehicle known as P-1, which would be later named Subaru in 1955. In other words, P-1 is the great, great, great grandfather of all Subaru’s.

The car can’t fly, but it IS lightweight

What happens when aircraft engineers work to make a ground four wheel vehicle? The smallest, most lightweight mini car to ever made at that time. A milestone in Japan’s auto history, the Subaru 360 mini car was a four passenger, four wheel vehicle created to be affordable for the Japanese population. This mini car is the beginning to producing mini cars smaller than today’s smallest smart car.

Marketed as “cheap and ugly”…seriously. This is not a joke

Possibly our favorite fact…when Subaru hit the US in the 1960’s, it took marketing in a whole different direction. Designed to be affordable to the average American, Subaru commercials dubbed the vehicle as “cheap and ugly”, BUT only $1297 at point of entry. Here are exact quotes from the commercials, because we can’t make this any better than it already is.

“…because it’s cheap and ugly, a little Subaru goes a long way to make you happy.” “…a little love, a little care, a little gas.” “…cheap and ugly, but goes anywhere the big cars go, and a few places the big cars can’t go.”

The commercials go on to saying the little vehicle goes up to 66 mph, weighs 900 pounds, and has affordable parts ($13.50 for a new carburetor!)

Really, what else is there to say – just enjoy.

Genius problem solving, and Ronald Reagan

Before becoming the nations 40th president, Ronald Reagan, like many Americans, purchased a Subaru BRAT. The interesting fact about the BRAT, is how it came to be. Originally a small four wheel vehicle with a small truck bed, this idea went over well with Americans who were dealing with higher gasoline prices.

But the US government issue a “chicken tax” on importation commodities – including the light weight trucks. However, Subaru got around this law by adding two rear facing “jump seats” in the BRAT, therefore alleviating its classification as a light duty truck.

Always Innovative

One of the best qualities about Subaru, even to this day, is their ability for innovation instead of following the crowd. In the early 80’s, Subaru began development of the CVT (continuously variable transmissions), instead of using conventional gears found in transmissions. The new CVT used two pulleys that can change their overall circumference as they move. This design has become common, and is now in vehicles of today due to its ability to be more efficient than a conventional geared transmission.

As with all stories, there as so many amazing facts behind the scenes of what we now have today. Next time you hop in your Subaru to tour the Pacific Northwest, think about those early 1900’s, starting off with aircraft minded engineers. We bet “cheap and ugly” don’t come close to how you describe your beloved Subaru now.

Well versed in all things Subaru, come to us when your well manufactured vehicle needs some love. Click here to schedule an appointment at Suburb Service, or call (206) 364-8089 to reach our Seattle location.

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