This 1970 360 Van Reminds Us of Subaru's Humble Early Days

Subaru wasn't always family-friendly wagons and rally sedans.

YouTubePetrolicious

Subaru today is all about safe, family-friendly all-wheel drive cars—and glorious rally sedans—but its early days were a bit more humble. Its first car, the 360, helped mobilize Japan after World War II, providing the cheap, basic transportation that country's people needed. The 360 was originally a Beetle-but-smaller sort of thing, but later, it spawned a lovely van variant.

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The 360 van was built to Japan's Kei car regulations, which made it a perfect little delivery runabout for busy, cramped cities like Tokyo. It's a vehicle that evokes its time and place beautifully, and today, it serves as a great reminder of Subaru's roots. The company's first cars and trucks were purely utilitarian, but still brilliantly engineered.

While the 360 van might have been perfect for postwar Japan, in the US today, it makes a lot less sense. Scott Coletti, who owns the example you see here, told Petrolicious that its 25-hp two-stroke flat-twin struggles to keep up with modern traffic, and 60 mph is really pushing its limits. But all that makes it more fun, more involving. Plus, this little Subaru just oozes charm among all the big cars that roar around it in Arizona today.

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