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Buy the "Cheap and Ugly" Subaru 360

When it came time to introduce the Subaru 360 to the American public in 1968, this set of commercials calling the car cheap and ugly was released. Neither the advertising campaign nor the Subaru 360 was particularly well received.

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The Subaru 360 was the first mass produced vehicle made by the Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru division in Japan. The 360 was named for the 356cc of displacement from its two cylinder two stroke engine produced. You read that right, two-stroke, like a chainsaw. The 360 was introduced in Japan for the 1958 model year. It was well received in Japan and after 10 years of production, Subaru decided to try and carve out a piece of the American compact car market. The underpowered two stroke Subaru was dwarfed by even the Volkswagen let alone the huge American land yachts that populated the freeways in 1968. Not surprisingly, the 360 did not sell well.

The failure of the sales campaign seen here combined with a "Not Acceptable" rating from Consumer Reports after various disasters during testing made the 360's American debut a pretty terrible one. Tales of 360s sitting in dealerships for years or being disposed of in bizarre ways are still referenced to this day. Although our unsafe and underpowered micro car lust truly belongs to anything Goggomobil, we wouldn't hesitate to buy a few $1297 Subaru 360's today. Best of all, with a claimed 66 MPG you would likely run out of Newport Beach docks to drive on long before you ran out of gas.

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DISCUSSION

IMO, when it fits in the bed of your pickup, the car is way too small.

There are rumors that after the Consumer's Reports article in 1969 killed off any potential sales thereafter, unsold 360's (after sitting for years on the docks in California) were dumped into the Pacific Ocean. One site said that several thousand were dumped, and another said that a shipload of them were dumped.