Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
A chronological day-by-day history of Subaru.
The first Subaru, the Subaru 360 was launched. At that time, Japanese automobile manufacturers were working on developing small cars according to a plan calling for the production of a "people's car" as advocated by Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. The Subaru 360 was developed in line with this concept. In those days, passenger cars were too expensive to be within the reach of most people. Building a small, affordable car that could perform well proved to be technologically tough, and many manufacturers were reluctant to tackle the problem. However, with its roots in aircraft manufacturing, the Company took up the challenge backed by its pride and prodigious technological strength. It beat the other manufacturers in developing a four-passenger, four-wheel minicar, the Subaru 360, which became a milestone in the history of Japan's automobile industry. Because of its ladybug shape, the Subaru 360 was affectionately referred to as the Ladybird. For 11 years after its debut, the Subaru 360 enjoyed tremendous popularity. It finally went out of production in May 1970.
Subaru 360Show Article
The 6th Tokyo Motor Show opened. On display were the Mitsubishi 500 following the Subaru 360 which appealed as a people's car for "My Car" Japan, and Bluebird which refreshed itself from popular Datsun to a completely new European style car. Japan's first full-scale sports car, the Datsun S211, was also displayed. This was a high performance car with a 1-litre, 34 hp engine. Its top speed was 155 kph. It attracted attention primarily because of its all-plastic body. Also popular were the Toyota Masterline, equipped with Japan s first automatic transmission and a mid-sized passenger car, the Gloria from Fuji Precision Machinery. Many new trucks were displayed. Most representative were the Jupiter from Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, Elf from Isuzu, Datsun Truck G220 and Caball C43 from Nissan, and Prince Skyway Van/Pick-up from Fuji Precision Machinery. This show featured many new models developed with Japan's own technology.
Mitsubishi 500Show Article
The 12th Toyko Motor Show was held immediately after imports of passenger cars were liberalized on October 1. Models exhibited: large luxurious models, the President and the new Cedric, equipped with Japan s first V6, 3.0-liter and V8, 4.0-liter engines, and the Crown equipped with a 6-cylinder engine. Small cars concentrated on the 800-1000cc class: the fastback Colt 800, the Honda S800 and N800, the Subaru 1000 equipped with new features, and the Familia Coupe (1000). These models attracted attention as family cars geared to the "my car days," and not to be used as taxies. Sports cars such as Prince R380, Hino GT Prototype, Toyota 2000GT and Honda F-1 Racer challenged speed records and attracted the attention of young enthusiasts. Overseas participants in the show were the Soviet Union and U.K. firms, with twelve exhibits: the Moskvitch 400, the Austin Healey 3000 Mark III, the Austin 1800, and the Morris Mini Cooper.
The Subaru 1000, the first front wheel drive Subaru produced by Fuji Heavy Industries that was in the Japanese government "compact car" classification, went on sale. Previous Subaru models such as the Subaru 360 and the Sambar had been rear-engined, rear wheel drive kei cars. It was the first production Subaru to use a boxer engine. In 1960, Subaru management decided to introduce a successor to the prototype Subaru 1500 with a new code name "A-5" with a four-cycle air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine displacing 1500 cc, driving the front wheels in a compact car platform. It was to have a double wishbone front suspension. Due to FHI's limited resources, the car wasn't produced. The Subaru 360 was selling at the time but Subaru wanted a car that could comfortably carry four passengers without a cramped compartment, that would appear to be an alternative to the Toyota Publica, the Datsun 110/210, the Hino Contessa, and the Mitsubishi Colt 600. Subaru also wanted to reduce engine noise by placing the engine up front and improve interior space by implementing front wheel drive, thereby eliminating a centrally mounted drive shaft powering the rear wheels, and utilizing an independent suspension at all four wheels. The only other Japanese company to use an air-cooled, horizontally opposed engine at the time was in the Publica, and the Toyota U engine. In 1963, Subaru tried again, with a new project code "A-4", with a smaller 923 cc engine, front wheel drive, and an overall length of 3,885 mm (153.0 in), a wheelbase of 2,400 mm (94 in), a front wheel width of 1,230 mm (48 in) and a rear wheel width of 1,220 mm (48 in), weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb). It made it towards production status and was changed to production code "A-63" and was eventually introduced as the Subaru 1000. To address space efficiency and a quiet operation with minimal vibration, the engine was developed as a water-cooled engine instead of the original intent of air-cooled in the "A-5" concept. These cars featured a unique water-cooled, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, with overhead valves operated by pushrods. Subaru engineers examined Porsche, Volkswagen and even Chevrolet Corvair and thought it would be nice if this type of engine is combined with front wheel drive system. The neck in proceeding the mechanism was the vibrations from universal joints, but in collaboration with the bearing maker Toyo Bearing (now known as NTN), the epoch-making "double offset joint" was invented. Modern Subaru's still make use of horizontally opposed four-cylinder engines, albeit of a much greater capacity and with more modern overhead-cam-driven valves. As was typical of early front wheel drive cars, the 1000 featured inboard drum brakes up front to reduce unsprung suspension weight and an easier implementation of an independent front suspension (but atypically Subaru would retain this unusual design into the seventies). Other unique features of the 1000 were a lack of a heater core, the heating system took its warmth directly from the radiator, and a hybrid suspension system that used torsion bars in combination with coil springs (much like the front suspension of the Subaru 360). The 1000 was superseded by the 1100 (also known as the Subaru FF-1 Star in the United States and in other export markets) at the start of the seventies.
Subaru 1000 - 1966Show Article
Subaru of America Inc was organised in Pennsylvania and began importing the Subaru 360, a two-seater mini saloon.Show Article
The last Volvo Amazon was produced. When introduced in 1950, the car was named the Amason (with an 's'), deriving from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology, the Amazons. German motorcycle manufacturer Kreidler had already registered the name, and the two companies finally agreed that Volvo could only use the name domestically (i.e., within Sweden), modifying the spelling to Amazon. Subsequently, Volvo began its tri-digit nomenclature and the line became known as the 120 Series. The Amazon was originally manufactured at Volvo's Lundby plant in Gothenburg and subsequently at the company's Torslandaverken plant, which began operating in 1964. By the end of production, 234,653 four-door models, 359,917 two-door models and 73,220 station wagons had been produced, of which 60% were exported; for a total of 667,791 vehicles. The Amazon sedan's ponton genre, three-box styling was inspired by US cars of the early 1950s, strongly resembling the Chrysler New Yorker sedan and the Chrysler 300C hardtop Coupe. According to designer Jan Wilsgaard, the Amazon's styling was inspired by a Kaiser he saw at the Gothenburg harbour. The Amazon featured strong articulation front to rear, pronounced "shoulders", and slight but visible tailfins. These features became inspiration for Peter Horbury when reconceiving Volvo's design direction with the V70 after decades of rectilinear, slab-sided, boxy designs.The Amazon's bodywork was constructed of phosphate-treated steel (to improve paint adhesion) and with heavy use of undercoating and anti-corrosive oil treatment.Original specifications for the Amazon included the new Volvo B16 engine, a 3-speed manual gearbox (H6) and rear-wheel drive. In 1958 the sport model, Amazon Sport, was released and later the same year the Amazon became the first series produced car with a three-point safety belt in the front seats as standard. In 1962, Volvo introduced a two-door version, a five-door wagon, and the new B18 engine, deleting two-tone paint and upholstery. In 1965 the Amazon color-coordinated embossed vinyl upholstery and door panels became available. The new gearbox selections were the three-speed M30 (briefly offered with an automatic electric clutch), the four-speed M40 and the M41 with four-speed and overdrive. The M31 gearbox was also introduced in 1961 but was only available that year (a three-speed fully synchronized gearbox with overdrive on both second and third direct gears). Gearbox options on the 121 were the M30, M31 and M40 while gearbox options on the 122S were the M40 and M41 gearboxes. In 1964 the Borg-Warner BW35 three-speed automatic transmission also became available on the four-door and two-door.The station wagon (estate) version was introduced at the 1962 Stockholm Auto Show, and Volvo manufactured 73,000 examples between 1962 and 1969. The Amazon estate featured a two-piece tailgate, with the lower section folding down to provide a load surface and the upper section that hinged overhead. The vehicle's rear license plate, attached to the lower tailgate, could fold "up" such that when the tailgate was lowered and the vehicle in use, the license plate was still visible. This idea was used by the original 1959 Mini. In recent years a similar arrangement was used on the tailgate of the Subaru Baja. The Amazon platform was used as the basis for the P1800 and 1800ES.
Volvo AmazonShow Article
The Bricklin SV-1 was introduced at the National Association of Automobile Dealers convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. The gull-wing door sports car was assembled in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Manufactured from 1974 until late 1975 for the American market, the car was the creation of Malcolm Bricklin, an American millionaire who had previously founded Subaru of America. The car was designed by Herb Grasse.The Bricklin factory was not able to produce vehicles fast enough to make a profit. As a result, only 2,854 cars were built before the company went into receivership, owing the New Brunswick government $21 million, and less than 3,000 cars were built. The model name SV-1 was an acronym for "safety vehicle one". The original idea for the Bricklin SV-1 was a safe and economical sports car, but due to the added weight of the safety features, the car was inefficient and simply a safe sports car. The Bricklin was designed for safety with an integrated roll cage, 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers, and side beams. The body was fibreglass with bonded acrylic in five "safety" colours: white, red, green, orange and suntan. The cars had no cigarette lighter or ashtray "to discourage smoking". A non-smoker, Malcolm Bricklin believed it was unsafe to smoke and drive. The Bricklin is the only production vehicle in automotive history to have factory powered gull-wing doors that opened and closed at the touch of a button as standard equipment. (The later DeLorean DMC-12's gull-wing doors operate manually, and the Tesla Model X's rear doors are referred to as falcon-wing doors rather than gull-wing due to the extra hinge.)
Bricklin SV-1Show Article
Economy was the theme of the 1976 Chicago Auto Show. Over 700 cars were on display by 36 manufacturers. The dramatic radial layout of the show's second floor featured not only Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge but also Toyota, Volkswagen and British-Leyland, the UK-based manufacturer of MG's, Triumphs and Jaguars.. Subaru billed its 4-wheel drive wagon as "The Economy Car for Today's Economy," and Volkswagen's Rabbit was advertised as "The Best Car in the World for under $3500." Even Rolls Royce was calling itself "The Unexpected Economy Car in 1976!"
The world’s longest ever rally, the Singapore Airlines London to Sydney rally, started in Covent Garden, London. The race was won at Sydney Opera House on 28 September by the British team of Andrew Cowan, Colin Malkin and Michael Broad in a Mercedes 280E. They were followed home by team-mate Tony Fowkes in a similar car. Paddy Hopkirk, this time driving a Citroën CX, took the final podium spot. The 1977 London-Sydney Marathon was the first-ever rally to have a competing truck, several years ahead of the Paris Dakar. It had two former Grand Prix drivers; several front-line international rally drivers; Fiat entered a team of prototype diesels - the first time for a diesel works-rallycar on an international event. There were works-factory teams at one end, and privateers at the other in everything from a fibreglass kit-car, the Magenta; the first time a kit-car had ever been accepted into an international rally; a Mini Clubman and even a Mini Moke. In between, there were Range Rovers, Jeeps, Peugeots, Mercedes of various descriptions, Ford Escorts, a Mazda rotary-engined car, Datsuns, Volvos, Saabs, even a mobile-home camper van. Crews came from around the world to take part… professionals, experts, adventurers, more than one crew were on their first-ever rally, including a couple who literally drove straight from a dealer’s showroom direct to the start-ramp. It was also the first big-time rally for a Subaru 4WD.There were several instances of cheating that would have made Dick Dastardly proud, including a crew that left London and then flew their car to India, cheekily trying to check in at the time-control table set up outside the hotel in Madras without even bothering to remove the car still strapped to the back of a truck, having come straight from the airport. The route took in mountains, rivers wild enough for a Datsun to float off downstream, and several deserts – the Australia section was a marathon drive in its own right. When the ship arrived late into Freemantle, rather than cancel sections to get the rally back on schedule, it was decided to make up the lost time by simply running it non-stop – for seven days and nights.
At 11 minutes and 56 seconds past 3:00 a.m., a Subaru Legacy completed 100,000-kilometers in the fastest time ever- 447 hours, 44 minutes, and 9.887 seconds. The record was set at the Arizona Test Center, an oval course 9.182 kilometers in circumference.
Co-driver Christine Francis was killed in an accident on the Kall Kwik Rally in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, when the Subaru Impreza driven by Christine’s brother Jeff McNeil crashed on the third stage of the rally.Show Article
Colin McRae became the first ever British driver to win a World Rally Championship title. With co-driver Derek Ringer, he won the Network Q RAC Rally ahead of chief rival and teammate Carlos Sainz, with new boy Richard Burns taking the third podium spot for a Subaru 1-2-3. By beating Sainz, McRae had done exactly what he needed to win the world title, following a season in which Sainz had started with much stronger results. Indeed, Sainz took three wins in 1995, to McRae’s two – but a late-season charge by the Scot, with two wins and two second-place finishes while Sainz suffered a non-start and retirement in New Zealand and Australia, were enough to claw back the deficit to the Spaniard.
Colin McRae celebrates his World Rally Championship - 1995Show Article
Colin McCrae and Derek Ringer won the Acropolis Rally in a Subaru Impreza.Show Article
The Subaru Forester won the renowned Hulman Trophy, a US 24-hour endurance speed record of mass-produced and marketed vehicles, setting a new world record with an average speed of 112 mph.
Subaru ForesterShow Article
Detroit (North American) Auto Show opened. Production cars introduced included the Chevrolet Corvette C5, Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Durango, Ford Escort ZX2, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Subaru Forester, Toyota Sienna, and the Volvo C70 convertible.
Colin McRae and Nicky Grist won the Great Britain Rally with a Subaru Impreza WRC.
Grist-McRae, 1997 Subaru Impreza S3 WRC 97Show Article
One person was killed and three others were seriously injured when the Subaru driven by Belgian Bernard Munster, veered off course and crashed into a wall on which a group of spectators, journalists and photographers were standing during the sixth of the day's seven specials at Moulin du Ruy in Belgium.Show Article
A Generation III Subaru Legacy set a new world speed record for mass-produced turbocharged station wagons (1600 cc-2000 cc class), clocking 270.532 km/h (168.101 mph) over one kilometer on Highway 10 in La Junta, Colorado, US. This record was previously set by a Generation II Subaru Legacy in 1993 at 249.981 km/h.Show Article
The 'Ford Racing Puma' officially went on sale in the UK, OTR prices started at £22,750. The Ford Racing Puma was the name eventually given to Ford's concept Puma, the Puma RS, which was first unveiled to the public at the 1999 Geneva Motorshow. At the time, Ford were keen to stress that this was no mere styling job and the idea was to transfer the know-how and technology learned directly from Ford Puma race and rally programmes to a road car. It was created by the Ford Rally specialist team at Boreham. The strictly limited production run was initially pencilled to run for 1000 units, with 500 destined for the German market, and 500 for the UK. All conversions were carried out by Tickford, Daventry UK. In the end, only the 500 destined for the UK market were produced and sold. Less than half of the 500 cars were actually sold directly to customers, with the vehicle's high price often cited as a reason, as rival performance cars such as the Subaru Impreza (with an additional 50+ BHP/Turbo, four-wheel-drive and rallying pedigree) were being offered for a maximum of £21,000 with the optional Pro Drive pack. The lower than anticipated demand had Ford offering Racing Pumas to senior managers through their MRC scheme, which enabled cars to continue being registered and converted. The lack of demand when brand new has actually paid off in the longer-term, as the rarity of the Racing Puma has allowed it to maintain an increased value over the standard Puma.
Ford Racing PumaShow Article
Round 1 of the World Rally Championship, 68th Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo (15 stages, 397 km) began. It was won by Tommi Makinen and Kai Lindstrom in a Subaru Impreza WRC.Show Article
At the Rim of the World Rally in Palmdale, California, David Higgins and Daniel Barritt from Wales, won in their Subaru Impreza.Show Article
Peter Raymond George "Possum" Bourne, (47) a champion New Zealand rally car driver died of head injuries sustained in a non-competitive car crash on April 18, 2003. He was driving the Race to the Sky track, which is normally a public road, for the event held in Cardona, near Wanaka, New Zealand. Driving his Subaru Outback, he collided head on with a Jeep Cherokee driven by rally driver Mike Barltrop who claimed that Possum was speeding. Mr Barlthrop was later arrested on a dangerous driving charge.
Possum BourneShow Article
Toyota Motor Corporation announced it had agreed to buy an 8.7 per cent stake in rival Japanese carmaker Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, from General Motors for about $315 million.Show Article
Richard Burns, who won the World Rally Championship in 2001, died at the age of 34 after a long illness, on the fourth anniversary of his title win. Burns was championship runner-up in 1999 and 2000 before becoming the first Englishman to land the coveted world title 12 months later. He made his rallying breakthrough in 1990 when he won the national 205GTI challenge series, then lifted the Mintex National series title and became the British Championship's youngest winner in 1993 with Subaru. After a spell in the Asia Pacific Championship and the occasional world championship drive, he entered for his first full season in 1998, partnering world champion Tommi Makinen for Mitsubishi. Twelve months later he moved to Subaru and he made his first title challenge as wins in Greece, Australia and Britain helped him finish second in the final standings. In 2000 he looked on course to win the world title, having led the championship race for some time, but he was pipped to glory by Marcus Gronholm - even though he won the season-ending Rally of Great Britain. However he was not to be denied and in 2001 he became the first Englishman to take the championship.
Richard BurnsShow Article
Rally driver Colin McRae (39) and three other people were killed when their helicopter crashed near Lanark in Scotland. The son of five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae and brother of rally driver Alister McRae, Colin McRae was the 1991 and 1992 British Rally Champion and, in 1995 became the first British person and the youngest to win the World Rally Championship Drivers' title, a record he still holds. McRae's outstanding performance with the Subaru World Rally Team enabled the team to win the World Rally Championship Constructors' title three times in succession in 1995, 1996 and 1997. After a four-year spell with the Ford Motor Co. team, which saw McRae win nine events, he moved to Citroën World Rally Team in 2003 where, despite not winning an event, he helped them win the first of their three consecutive manufacturers' titles. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to motor sport in 1996.
Colin McRaeShow Article
The Subaru Impreza WRX STI was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show.Show Article