Journal: Subaru 360 Brochure Showcases JDM Kei-car Packaging

Subaru 360 Brochure Showcases JDM Kei-car Packaging

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
January 9, 2014

Beginning in 1958, Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru Division produced the Subaru 360, a very small and inexpensive car as most people in Japan couldn’t afford a new car. It became one of Japan’s most popular cars and was nicknamed ‘Ladybug’. The first model, which featured a 360cc engine and weighed less than 1000 pounds (both in line with Japanese Kei regulations), had a top speed of only 60 miles per hour. Over time, a few variants of the car were produced: a wagon called the “Custom”, a convertible, and two sport options called “Young S” and “Young SS”.

The first Subaru model ever to be sold in the States, only about 10,000 of these cars were ever imported. And although 360s are collectors items nowadays, they weren’t well-received at the time due to safety concerns and lack of power.

Below is a Japanese brochure for the Subaru 360 (we really like all the vintage photography, illustrations, and diagrams) as well as a couple of vintage Subaru 360 commercials. Enjoy!

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Garm Beall
Garm Beall

That’s a good article, and the advertisements are awesome — but! — you guys completely overlooked the van and truck.
I’ll also mention that Malcolm Bricklin (yes, the Yugo guy among other failures) created the name “Subaru of America” and was responsible for bringing the car to the USA. It was only sold here for three years, 1968-1970, when a disparaging Consumer Reports article crushed sales.


A very interesting car. Thanks for picking it up. I can’t fine it, but there’s a really good documentary of making of the 360 on FaceTube. All the curvy lines came about because they could use heavier material to keep the weight down, one way to increase the strength of the sheet is to create compound curve. Also, it was built inside out without a drawing, according to the documentary. There was a wire core inside of the clay that was sized exactly to the regulation, so when the modeler/designer shaved too much clay off and scrape against the wire… Read more »