Subaru has surprised us today with curious and very interesting news. It has announced one unit of the Subaru 360 K111 that is has preserved has been designated by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) as a Mechanical Engineering Heritage item. That means it will become a sort of historic landmark, something that will be protected for future generations. Isn’t it nice to know there is a concern in preserving the automotive memory of the world?
The Subaru 360 K111 was 2.99 m long, 1.30 m wide, 1.38 m high and had a wheelbase of only 1.80 m. It weighed only 410 kg and, even being so small, Subaru says it could carry four adults. Like the VW Beetle in France, it was nicknamed “ladybug” (Coccinelle, in French). And similarities do not end there. The small Subaru also had an air-cooled engine in the back. But is was an inline 2-cylinder, with 356 cm³. It was also a 2-stroke engine, mounted transversely.
The Subaru 360 is the 83th item preserved by JSME. Their aim is to encourage “the careful preservation of such items and passing them on to future generations as part of the nation’s cultural heritage”. JSME has started doing so in 2007. Considering Japan’s contribution to the automotive world, they still have a lot of work ahead. Kudos, JSME!