Featured, History, Top 10

Top 5 Weirdest Subarus of All Time

Subaru is well known as an automaker that marches to the beat of its own drum.

Even in the midst of a modern “manstreamification,” most of the brand’s vehicles still have standard full-time all-wheel drive and all of them come with a boxer-style engine.

SEE ALSO: 10 of The Rarest Subarus Ever

But back in the day, before corporate interests really took over, Subaru was allowed to be weird. Bizarre sports coupes, oddly shaped SUVs and after-thought seat installations weren’t too obscure for the car producing arm of Fuji Heavy Industries. Here are five of the strangest Subarus in history:

5. Subaru 360

Available from the late 1950s until the early 1970s, the Subaru 360 was a micro city car. This alone isn’t overly strange, but many of the details on the 360 were. The passenger doors were rear hinged and there was a floor-mounted fuel lever that eliminated the need for a fuel pump since the gasoline was gravity fed.

Sitting in the rear of the car was a two-stroke, two-cylinder engine that displaced just 356 cc. That is what gave the 360 its name, referring to the 360 cc tax credit class of cars. Later, the term 360 would take on a secondary meaning as the tail-happy handling characteristics of the car had a lot of owners spinning out in their 360s.

4. Subaru Bighorn

The Isuzu Trooper may be the most rebadged automobile in history. At one point or another, versions of the Trooper were sold by Acura, Chevrolet, Holden, Honda, Opel, SsangYong, Vauxhall and, yes, Subaru.

Called the Bighorn, Subaru sold the rebadged Trooper from 1988 until 1993 in Japan only. Even though the Trooper would undergo a redesign in 1991, the Subaru Bighorn would soldier on with the first-generation architecture until it was discontinued. The only power plant available was a 2.8-liter turbo diesel.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Subaru’s Of All Time

3. Subaru Alcyone SVX

The Subaru Alcyone SVX was an unusual car in many ways. The overall styling featured some unique elements, highlighted by the window within a window design. This was said to improve wind buffeting at highway speeds, but made drive-thrus a nightmare.

Under the hood sat a horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine measuring 3.3-liters in displacement. It sent 230 hp to all four wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. A front-wheel drive version did briefly appear in North America and Japanese customers could opt of optional four-wheel steering.

2. Subaru Brat

Small pickup trucks were hot in the late 1970s and Subaru wanted in on the action. More of a car with an open bed rather than a purpose built pickup truck, the Brat sat two people up front in the cabin. But this meant the Brat would have been susceptible to the so-called American chicken tax that puts a 25% tariff on imported light trucks.

SEE ALSO: Subaru’s 15 Fastest Cars of All Time

To circumvent this, Subaru bolted two rearward facing plastic chairs in the bed of the truck. A safety nightmare, passengers heads actually bobbed around higher than the Brat’s roofline, so keeping the truck sunny-side up was more important than ever.

1. Subaru XT

Before there was the SVX, there was the angular Subaru XT. With a fairly conventional for its time wedge shape, the back window was a wraparound design set at a fairly steep rake. Power came from a choice of horizontally opposed engines, a 1.8-liter in naturally aspirated or turbocharged flavors as well as a 2.7-liter six-cylinder.

The XT came equipped with some interesting and advanced equipment for its time. A single wiper blade, retractable door handles, adjustable suspension, headlight washers, push-button all-wheel drive, digital gauge cluster and hill holder could all be equipped to the XT.

But the most unusual feature had to be the XT’s steering wheel. To apparently resemble a jet fighter cockpit, the wheel only had one vertical and one horizontal support bar. This gave it an unusual asymmetrical appearance and took some getting used to when operating.


- 1992, 1992-2000, 2001-2007, 2008-, Automobiles, Featured

10 of The Rarest Subarus Ever

Since 1954, Subaru has produced millions of sports cars worldwide, with many models having production runs of fewer than a thousand units. Below I’ve listed some of those Subaru vehicles that are rare, strange or otherwise unknown.

Since 1954, Subaru has produced millions of cars worldwide, with many models having production runs of fewer than a thousand units. Below I’ve listed some of those Subaru vehicles that are rare, strange or otherwise unknown.
STI stands for Subaru Tecnica International, WRX stands for World Rally X, with the X meaning ‘cross’ or ‘experimental’ (depending on who you ask). FE? That stands for Fuel Economy, and the incredibly efficient FE was rated at 33 mpg city and 50 mpg highway.

1. Subaru FE Coupe

Yes, Subaru was beating the 2015 Toyota Prius’ 48 highway miles per gallon in 1979. The 1.6 liter, horizontally opposed four cylinder was fitted with a “transistorized ignition”, with an increased compression ratio, a redesigned camshaft and new combustion chamber design. Definitely on of the best Subaru old models . Options at the time included an AM/FM stereo, tape system and a CB radio. Rarity: So low I can’t find anything on the Internet about it.

2. Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C Type RA-R

Subaru absolutely loves the alphabet, and if you haven’t seen my parody video on this topic, check it out. That video was inspired in part by the Impreza WRX STi Spec C Type RA-R. This rare 320 horsepower, 318 lb ft of torque monster was released in 2006 with only 300 making it to production. That’s even more rare than the Impreza 22B. The year it was released, the STi Spec C Type RA-R came at an asking price of 4,284,000 Yen, which is $35,685 in today’s marketplace. A quick google search finds one for sale at $37,382 in Britain. If you bought one, good investment!

3. Subaru FF-1

According to Subaru, the FF-1 was the first front-wheel drive car to come out of Japan and the first to use Subaru’s four-cylinder Boxer engine. Offered from 1969 to 1972, the FF-1 was available in two-door, four-door and a wagon models. A few enthusiasts over on NASIOC have saved a couple of these FF-1s from the junkyard, like SubieGal with her 1970 FF-1 and Kostamojen with his FF-1. The FF-1 was powered by Subaru’s 1.1-liter EA-61 engine, pushing out 65 horsepower and 61 pound feet of torque. According to many, this is the rarest Subaru you can find in the US.

4. Subaru Impreza Casa Blanca

Possibly the ugliest, most vile Subaru ever conceived, the Casa Blanca was a car based around the 1999-2000 Impreza. According to Jalopnik, the Casa Blanca was designed during a retro car craze over in Japan. The front fascia design works well on its own, but when paired with the rally-inspired look of the first generation Impreza wagon, it makes me want to nuke it from orbit. The rear end design was mailed in too. The designers simply took out the taillights and plopped in new ones. 5,000 of these Japan-only monsters were ever made and as far as I know, no one has been crazy enough to bring one state-side.

5. Subaru 360

This adorable little munchkin is the Subaru 360, a model introduced by Subaru in 1958. It took a decade for the 360 to make its way to America where it went on sale at an affordable $1,297 (around $9,000 when adjusted for 2015 inflation). Not exactly rare for the time, Subaru produced 392,000 of these rear-engined, two-door cars over a 12 year run. The 360 was powered by a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine churning out a neck snapping 22 horsepower. Although it was underpowered by today’s standards, it weighed only 900 pounds and achieved 66.3 miles per gallon. That’s LA to New York on only 41.8 gallons of gas! With today’s gas prices, that’s a cross-country road trip for $87. (Sidenote: Gas prices averaged $0.35 per gallon in 1970, so that road trip would have cost you less than $15 in gas back then.) Rarity in the US? 10,000 of the Sport model were sold in the US, how many are still running, unknown.

6. Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B

Offered from 2006-2009, the spec.B was a rare performance-based Legacy with a turbocharged 2.5-liter, with 241 torque and 243 horsepower. It feels more like a small suv rather than a sedan. In some ways, it’s the closest US fans have ever seen to a production model Legacy STi. Other upgrades over the Legacy GT included a six-speed manual transmission, DVD-based navigation and a Momo steering wheel. According to the Internets, only around 1,000 were ever produced. Car and Driver tested the $34,620 car in 2006 and felt that it was a little spendy and fell short option-wise when compared to other cars in its price group. Hey, you can’t put a price on rarity.

7. Subaru Sambar

Not exactly rare overseas, the Sambar has been a staple in Japan since 1961. The small cars Lord, the original Sambar microvan/microtruck was created as an option for Subaru 360 buyers that wanted to carry small loads. The Sambar was first powered by a tiny 356cc two-stroke engine paired with a 3-speed manual transmission and offered in van and pickup truck variations. Today, the 2015 Subaru Sambar is powered by a 3-cylinder, 660cc engine offered in both 2WD and 4WD variants. There are a handful of the old model stateside currently, with more than a few being turned into Volkswagen Bus replicas.

8. Subaru Impreza UK300

Not your typical 4 door sedan . As the name suggests, the UK300 had a limited run of only 300 units. According to NorthUrsalia.com, the UK300 was a Prodrive project on the old Bugeye Impreza. A Prodrive Performance Package was added, as well as a couple exterior and interior design enhancements.

9. Subaru S201

On of the best sports cars. Another one for the “kill it with fire” books, the S201 was based around the first generation Impreza with a seriously awful body kit. The spoiler may be the worst in existence. It wasn’t just all show and no go, since it came with a 2.0 liter with 300 horsepower and 260 torque. According to NorthUrsalia.com, the S201 was based around the Electra One concept. No one knows how many are still around, but maybe that just helps us forget about it.

10. 1998 Impreza 22B STI Coupe

Aahhh, yes, the Subaru Impreza 22b . No rare Subaru list is complete without the holy grail of Subarus, the 22B. Easily my favorite Subaru ever, the 22B came with a closed-deck 2.2 liter with 278 horsepower. What separates the 22B from the rest of Subaru’s fleet is the incredible widebody kit and the nearly bulletproof engine. Only 424 were ever produced and, as of this writing, I’m only aware of 2 being in the States. The 22B is truly Subaru’s greatest masterpiece.

Bonus: One more, and possibly the rarest “recent” model.

The Unicorn, the Acadia Green 1998 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS