Brings back memories. We had a neighbor on our street when I was growing up back about '73 or '74 that had both a 360 and the little ramp side pick up at the same time. The guy that owned them was about 6'4" and skinny as a rail, they also had 6 kids. I remember watching him drive down the street each morning in that little truck, literally stuffed inside, looking like Ichabod Crane, all knees up around his chest, couldn't have been very comfortable. He would drive around the neighborhood with a bunch of his kids in the back of that little truck with their arms dangling over the edge of the bed nearly dragging their hands as the bed was no more than 2 feet off the ground. We kids always thought the family was a little strange. Never would have thought then that Subaru would ever become what it has now, or that these little cars would ever be worth such amounts.
I remember stopping at the Subaru dealership when this first came out.It was nothing more than a gas station.The car was unreal actually.When we saw the engine it was smaller than the engine in my motorcycle.The salesman let us take it for a test drive .It was underwhelming to say the least.It was a memory I'll never forget.
Not long after the 360’s US introduction, an enterprising individual rented a portion of the dirt back lot at Orange County International Raceway in Southern California and opened a dirt track race course featuring u-drive Subaru 360’s. For about $5, one could trash the $1297 car around the track at a not very fast speed for about 5 minutes. After a few months the attraction went out of business.
The dealer's "features list" included a cigarette lighter. I did not see the usual handle, and so I asked. On a beaded chain like the bank uses to avoid losing their ballpoints, tucked under the metal fold of the dash, was a Japanese copy (!) of a Zippo-style flip top fluid-refillable, with "Fuji Heavy Industries" printed on it.
Lord save us. That kind of money for one of these. This is, if ever there was, a GIGO car. Like computers: garbage in, garbage out. This was a terrible car and just proves the saying that the best thing about the "Good Old Days" is that they're gone. California wanted to ban these because because they were too slow and unsafe for freeways, They would race parked cars and the parked cars won half of the time. As a 64-year used imported car dealer, I've seen a lot of lousy, but this is the paragon of lousy. Subaru now builds one of the safest cars but they sit upright in bed at 2 AM when there's a whisper somewhere about these. As a footnote, an employee once showed me you can do a "wheelie" in a Subaru 360. It is quite tail heavy, so you put it in reverse in a big lot and go as fast as you can backwards. Then with both feet stomp the clutch and the brake and it will lift the front wheels off the ground.
In '69 Los Angeles, a radio station had a contest with the winner getting a Subaru 360. Second prize was two (2) Subaru 360's. Also worth noting on the print advertisement, a "sport pack" could be added for $69 (I think this was for the racing stripe and ???) and the "Western Division was located in Newport Beach, California - one of the most exclusive and expensive communities in the U.S. (Who'd have thunk it?) I think the person that recently bought one for over $50K was Malcolm N. Bricklin, the original importer. By doing so, he single-handedly drove up the market. Brilliant! (He's 81 and still alive. He was also responsible for creating the Bricklin SV-1 and importing the Fiat X1/9, Fiat 124 Sport Spyder, and the ever popular Yugo.)
I got a lot of miles riding in one. When I was a kid 100 years ago, my Dad (can I still say that?!) had one. I hated it, but he loved it more than his 56' T-Bird, I never did understand! He was always tinkering with it, and painted it with a brush!
Have a 1966 van I drive every other day around town in summer up in Wisconsin. More reliable than I ever thought it would be and so much fun driving the country back roads. People always smile and wave!
At our Dodge/Rambler store, we finally resorted - in desperation - to giving one free with every one ton pickup. In those days, not only were large pickups a 100 day inventory item (along with supercab and cabplus) but those Subies were approaching birthday status. My Dream 305 was faster and more safe, even sans helmet. It's a good thing we didn't saddle the next generation with our pseudo "empire". And that I'm retired. I am so far removed from modern practice, that a telescope wouldn't help. C'est la vie!
I really like this little car. And If anyone hasn't noticed, there is a war of types being waged to eliminate small and interesting cars from Americas roads. Corporate thinkers have decided that what you really want in motoring is a vehicle that dwarfs all that it could ever be used for. A behemoth in every driveway. For the good of themselves, profits, and especially you. Because they know what is best for you after all. So it is no surprise that small cars are rapidly exceeding the price expectations we've all become accustom to. Prices rivaling 70's muscle cars will soon be reality. And in some cases already has. Its no surprise at all. If you shut off the spigot, as they have in America. Valuations will take off.
I was kinda pleased when the 360 started to infest our shores...it was the only car my '48 Fiat Topolino could out-drag. Always thought it would be fun to have a proper match race at a drag strip between a 360 and my Topolino. Moving up a few horsepower--and weight--my Renault 4CV would absolutely blow the doors off a Subie...