It’s not a shrunken Type 2 VW, but rather an adorable little import built in Japan in an era long before Subaru started to earn its modern granola-crunching and power-sliding fanbase. Sun-soaked Arizona is an altogether alien terrain if you’re arriving from Japan, and as far as U.S. cities go, Greater Phoenix is not wanting for space—certainly not when compared to the tightly-packed streets of Japan’s metropolitan hubs—and a tiny van with an even smaller motor is no way to experience these wide-open desert highways if your version of the American Southwest requires a V8. But traversing the ramps and right angles around the city? This little UFO is quite handy indeed. The Subaru 360 Van is an efficient use of of space and it gets the kind of excellent mileage you’d expect from a barebones and mostly utilitarian machine, and yet its value lies more in its charm than its function.
After the war, the Subaru 360—which was built in a few variants alongside the Van—was the company’s first mass-produced vehicle.
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