If you'd loved the classic VW Type 1, but always considered them too big, too lacking in suicide doors and too over-powered, then Nice Price or Crack Pipe has a Subie that'll have you doing 360s.
It may represent the height of irony that the the first car built by Fuji Heavy Industries would be so small it wouldn't look out of place hanging from the charm bracelet of a pre-teen. Malcom Bricklin attempted to import these starting in 1969, and that alone pretty much guaranteed the little car's failure. They moldered on dealers lots, and even a single-make racing series with the leftovers failed to generate any interest as spectators were faster walking past the straights than the cars were on them.
The 360 - which denoted its tax-limited engine displacement - debuted both as a model and as the vanguard of the Subaru brand in 1958. Seemingly taking a page from the book How I Did It by Ferdinand Porsche, and then cutting the fat, the 360 is powered by an aircooled, rear-mounted engine. Additional Beetle-esque features are the hunched-over, two-window body and swing axle rear suspension. That's not to say that Fuji Heavy simply grabbed a Bug and set their Xerox machine to copy at 78%, as the 360 has some features that are not found on the people's car from der fatherland. First off, that 359-cc engine isn't a flat-four, but a two-stroke twin, and the doors open in the suicide fashion, which will get the Goth Girls all excited. Finally, while the VW is able to maintain freeway speeds with aplomb, the 360 - much like Sammy Hagar - can't drive 55. Also, like the Hagermeister, the littlest Subie isn't comfortable with groups, and while it has four seats, those occupying them should have the familiarity of a pair of swingers couples as it's going to be tight.
That's because this car is small. Really small. It's so small that, if sentenced to prison, it would be somebody's bitch within the five minutes on the yard. But that won't be your problem with this white over red '70. Having passd only 4,900 miles under its Krispy Kreme-sized tires, there's plenty of life left in this 360. Of course, with a 37-sec. Zero to AARP time, that life may pass you by and not wait for you to catch up to it. There's 25-bhp under the louvered engine cover, and, like last week's Citroën, that's enough to get you into trouble, but likely not enough to get you out of it. Despite that, and the I might as well be sitting on the handlebars of Robbie Knievel's motorcycle crash safety, this quirky little car will make an interesting addition to any collector's herd. And, due to rarity, there'll be lot's to talk about with the Birkenstock and flannel-wearing other Subaru owners when you toddle into the club meetings. Of course, that $6,000 asking price may be a sticking point, as other than as an interesting piece of automotive history, the little 360 doesn't offer a great deal. There's not a lot of driving excitement to be had, and, while it is quirky, it's not Isetta-quirky.