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.
1. Subaru FE Coupe
(image via subaruhighmileageclub.com)
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. 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. 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. The Casa Blanca was not even worth the work it took to manufacture it.
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.