Kei- car declared icon
The Subaru 360 (above) has formally been recognised as part of Japan’s cultural heritage by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers ( JSME). The company’s first mass-produced car is now officially a mechanical engineering heritage item.
The only other car to earn this award is the electric Nissan Tama, built in the late 1940s in response to a widespread oil shortage in post-war Japan.
The Subaru 360 was introduced in Japan in 1958 and was briefly sold in the USA during the late 1960s, but was never sold in the UK. It never sold well in export markets, but sold like hotcakes in Japan.
A spokesman for the JSME says: ‘ The 360 is now considered a part of Japan’s cultural heritage, and its careful preservation is encouraged so that it can be passed on to future generations.’