Returning a 'SUBARU 360' to running order

Design plan of the Brat

Yes It's a Subaru! made in 1961
Owned by The York Motor Museum. York, Western Australia.

After removing copious amounts of dirt from the engine bay and subframe with a high pressure washer ( its owner must have used it as a bulldozer) the car now looks respectable and  1/4 ton lighter.

After checking the points gap replacing the plug leads clearing the fuel tank and carburetor of debris fitting a fuel filter and filling with fuel the car sprung to life with just a couple of flicks of the choke.

The next part of restoration is to get the brakes working , the master and all 4 wheel cylinders are seized and have been removed and forwarded to the remanufacturing section of Repco Brake & clutch for processing. The manager there is an ex colleague and friend of mine so I am assured of a quality job, the brake linings are as new and serviceable the fronts having already been relined.

Testing the electrical system shows all the light working satisfactorily at this point, the generator is currently removed from the motor to afford access to other parts and hasn't been tested but I'm hopeful the this will be ok also.

It looks a little forlorn at the moment, it is on a fork lift pallet on top of 4- 60 litre drums with no bonnet or boot lids all the seats removed and the wheels and brakes removed. Progress may slow a little over the next three weeks as my partner is on a well earned holiday but I will keep you informed of any progress.

.. Slightly more than three weeks time ..

Well she’s finally seen the light of day, the hard work is over; she is now ready for the street again. The motor has been thoroughly cleaned and had a coat of paint just to brighten things up.

Time to put it to the test and try it out on the road. I had just replaced the CV boot's on the car and after fitting the best available, which didn’t last one lap of the block. I replaced them with the el-cheapo 'universal' version and they have worked a treat.

The brakes worked perfectly for which special thanks go to my friend Matt Hewson of REPCO Remanufacturing Division W.A. who remanufactured all of the brake cylinder to original specification.

Driving it is an experience. My son Chris, who took the photos, commented that it was almost bigger than I was? We also had a video camera running and again he commented that the zoom was faster than the car, how one forgets the beginnings of the micro cars. Just look at it this way, this was the humble beginning of the WRX and B4 Legacy.

Should I give you a hand and push dad?
Shortly it will be going back to York Motor Museum, its owners. This time as a mobile not static exhibit.

(Comment from Chris)
This is dad trying to start the bugger for several minutes..
(at least a WRX will start straight away ;-)

Though to be fair, it had been sitting there for quiet a while and it is a 2 stroke..

Where do I put the Sterio?The Hot Rod!


York Motor Museum Festival of Cars

Street Legal Again!

The oldest licenced Subaru in Australia??

On July 8th 2001, the York Motor Museum had it's festival of the cars (a century of cars) in which the fully up and running Subaru 360 took part. There where many classic cars all up and running from a 1885 Benz replica to a 1956 Corvette. Others where a 1907 Fiat Brevetti, 1920 AC Cobra, 1977 Torana A9X Bathurst Car, 1955 Stan Jones Maybach II and the 1954 Lotus Eleven Lemans Car.

I Went up with my wife (Sandra) and we spent the day driving around the steets in various classic cars.. A fun day for all.

This year the festival will be running again on the 7th of July. It will be much bigger this year as several other car clubs rallys will be terminating in York.. A good time for all lovers of the motor car.


The little car parked next to a Dodge Fire Truck

Me and Sandra just about to take off for the parade

Looking for the Wind Up Key!

Subaru 360 Background Information

 Length   2995mm   Width   1300mm 
 Height   1335mm   Weight   385kg 
 Engine Type   I2 RR (rear Engine, Rear Drive) 
 Displacement   356cc 
 Max Power Output   34hp / 7400rpm 
 Max Torque   3.8kg / 5500rpm 

Subaru began its car manufacturing business in 1958 with the tiny "Subaru 360" mini car, and 8 years later, built it's first compact car. Now Subaru is distinguished by being the only car manufacturer in the world to offer four wheel drive on it's entire range.

The Subaru 360 made its debut on March 3, 1958 and came on the scene as a ultra-compact (mini) car using a RR layout, weighing in at 385kg's. The Subaru 360 continued to evolve as years passed, and the affordable price tag was it's ticket to it's tremendous popularity. However, rivals inevitable close the gap as time goes by. Though the subject was a compact car, a power war began. In response, Subaru added its sports version as its top model, a product of feeding back into market cars the knowledge gleaned in action at the Japan GP and at rallies. This was the 'Young SS' model, appearing in November 1968. This Young SS used an SU model Solex twin for the carburetor, and increased the compression ratio to 7.5. This boosted the maximum output to 36ps / 7000rpm compared to the normal model at 25ps. The maximum torque was an impressive 3.5kgm / 4500rpm. The numbers do look small, but convert it for numbers per litre and you have a unit producing 100ps. The suspension had a trailing arm on the front and a radius arm on the rear, with drum brakes all round.The improvements were not only mechanical. The visual effect attained a sporty look, with perfect ambiance. But it's life span was surprisingly short. It was only produced for 10 months.

The Current incarnation of the Subaru 360 is the Subaru Vivio which made it's debut in 1992 though this shares more in common with it's Imprezza big brother than it's older cousin, the Subaru 360.

The Original Sales advertisement for the 360.. Ugly and Cheep!

3 Generations of Subaru's

Dropping the 360 back at the York Motor Museum
'82 Brumby (Brat), '61 Maia and a '97 Liberty (Legacy) Outback.