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Subaru 360
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red_360-gt2.jpg

SPEX

Year: 1969
Class: Kei Car
Type: ?
 
Country: Japan `````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2 & GT4
 
Price as tested: $6,970 (GT2 used lot)
 
 
Length: 117.9" // Width; 51.1" // Height: 52.6"
Wheelbase: 70.9"
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Track: N/A
Weight: 936 lbs.
Suspension: N/A
Tires: N/A
 
Engine: 356 cc 2-stroke inline 2
Aspiration: normal
Compression Ratio: 6.7:1
Valves / Cylinder: ?
Tested Horses: 35 @ 7,400 rpms
Tested Torque: 27 @ 5,500 rpms

Lbs. per HP: 26.74
Hp per Liter:
Layout: Rear Engine / Rear Drive
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Brakes: ?

*GT2 testing below
 
0-60 mph: 51.4 seconds
0-100: N/A
ľ Mile: 37.955 @ 47 mph
1 KM: 1:01.025 @ 64 mph
Test Track time: 3 minutes, 28.046 seconds
 
Top Speed: 88.43 @ 6,600 rpms (3rd gear)
 

 


 

------------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------------------

Yes... the Subaru 360! I've never seen one, never even heard of one, but it's true that they exist. Like the GT2 Subaru dealer says: the 360 was exported in hopes of conquering the American public. Starting in 1958, somebody had the bright idea to market this VW Beetle knock-off, and actually thought it would make sales, even though the car can barely move. Perhaps in some third-world countries the Subaru 360 was a welcome alternative to the family yak, but overall it was not a sales success. Its main marketing points (from a sales perspective) was that it got 66 mpg (beating any modern-day Toyota Prius), and could seat four adults. This being said, the 360 has the mileage, but certainly nowhere near the prowess of a Prius.

 
...For anyone interested in more info: there are some homemade websites out there made by folks who are in the midst of restoring 360s, believe it or not. Just do an internet search (I'm too lazy).

The 360 suffered poor sales in America, but was used as transportation by some American state parks, perhaps helping Subaru early-on with its rural reputation. Despite this, the 360 was quickly deemed "not acceptable" by Consumer Reports in 1969; though the car wouldn't have gained any headway in sales, even without this negative endorsement.
 
As far as weight goes: the 360 has an advantage: it's already light! So removing weight won't be a priority. I got all 3 reductions anyways in GT2, and can say this is completely unnecessary. Not something to embark upon unless the buyer is curious, eccentric, or credit-rich. Class 3 reduction costs about $20,000 in GT2, yet only removes 27 pounds! Class 2 costs whatever it costs (@ 5,000), and only removes 29. Somebody just pocketed some serious credits, dude.
 
This oddity is also a rarity--it only shows up once in a while in the used car lot of either GT2 or GT4, but it happens to be super-affordable when it does. You'll need to hunt for it in either game, unfortunately; as there are actual Subaru 360 events to finish in either game. The graphix and detail (GT2) look as good as they possibly can on the PS1 system, and guess what?, we can actually race this car!...with a bit of money invested, of course.
 
This Subaru seems to come in a handful of colors, detailing is as good as it gets. GT2 features some 360 cars produced in 1969 before the model-line died its inevitable death, while GT4 features some of the earliest and weakest models from 1958, which have a different body-style. These can only be bought in yellow or white.

So for all you folks wondering why Polyphony Digital included the New Beetle in GT2 and neglected the old one, this is as close as you're gonna get! In GT4, it is possible to race an MK1 Beetle against a Subaru 360 and other slugs like the CitroŽn 2CV and Fiat 500R.
 
...it is possible...I didn't say it's RECOMMENDED!
 

 
-----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN----------------------

Did you bring your boots? You should, they'll be of some help as you mash the accelerator down for almost the entire race. This can truely be the story of "The Little Car That Could" if you manage to follow some advice I've outlined below.
 
• First tip: once you've got it going, try as little as possible to use brakes! Here's why:
 
The 360's 2-cylinder, 2 stroke engine is air-cooled, just like the VW Beetle's motor. It is just amazing anyone would even think to put something so mooshy in a car produced well into the '60s....didn't such engines thrive and die with the Model T era?? Egh. We have hardly any torque. My nephew has a hamster cage...I swear "Buggles" can probly muster more torque than a Subaru 360 powerplant.
 
Anyways, as I was saying about those boots. It's the start of the race, you're now stomping the gas, and nothing seems to be happening. The car will sit for several seconds while the clutch tries to engage. If you're starting a race and space the intro, you'll be stuck for ABOUT TEN SECONDS WAITING FOR THE DANG THING TO MOVE!!! .... while other cars fly off. This is not a joke...I mean it...TEN ENTIRE SECONDS!!! Even after the 360 has a turbo added (and there are 2 levels available in GT2, amazingly), it will still have an awkwardly slow range of power below 3 to 4,000 rpms. But the good news: if you've got the turbo, you can actually have some success with this silly car.
 
Stage 1 tuning in GT2 gives us 95 hp @ 8,100 rpms, with 62.7 ft-lbs. of torque @ 7,400 rpms (semi-racing aspiration)...while Stage 2 provides 145 @ 8,100, with 95.25 ft.-lbs. @ 7,600 (racing aspiration). With full weight reductions, the car's power-to-weight ratio falls from 26.74 to just 5.93, which will keep the rear-engine / rear-drive 360 going with the pros at the Sunday Cup, Kei-car events, and other such snore-fests. If we try really hard, we can actually win some of those B-licence GT Nationals. Really, though, don't try too hard! This car is a novelty, but nothing to get too serious about. Okay, more tips.
 
• The trick to driving a 360 is to choose your racing line early. Yes, you also do this with other cars (other NORMAL cars with actual horsepower), but in a 360, you'll usually be forced to choose a line that weaves thru all the traffic that has rushed ahead during the straight-away!

• Avoid braking if you can, and let the little bug barrel by the other cars. If the driver manages to skillfully navigate without hitting anyone else, the 360 will show its biggest advantage: While bigger cars recover from heavier braking, the 360 is already back under power. Keep doing this, because in most races (other than the Kei-car ones) the 360 easily gets passed on the straightaways. Guaranteed.
 
• Countersteer is important to success, too, but the less of it we have to employ, the better. The engine isn't super heavy, but sometimes notice that the rear of the car still wants to swing around at times, living up to its name. Doing a ‘360’ is very, very possible at any time. Subaru might as well have called this car the 'donut'. Ha ha.

Let's discuss gearing. The 4-speed manual in this car is all wrong: geared way too tall for such low power. Did Subaru really try to sell this 4-wheel moped way back when?

As we're sitting at the starting line, waiting forever for this baby to start rolling, you may find yourself imagining things. Me? I kept seeing Fred Flintstone and Barney putting their feet out the doors and giving the car a push. But once the drivetrain has got one of the close-ratio boxes, triple-plate clutch, and maybe an ultra-light flywheel, the 360 almost drives like a normal car. Getting the transmission fixed up is just as important as modifying the engine, actually. It makes a world of difference.
 
For those who can afford it and want to take things seriously, buy a brake balance controller. Set the front brakes to 3 or 4, but leave the rear setting at 1. This is a rear-engine car, remember, so if there's too much force back there, the 360 will live up to its name in no time!
 

 
-----------------CHASSIS / DRIVETRAIN-------------------

My internet research has yielded very little technical info on the 360, but I'm working on it! I'm very curious to see what kind of suspension this car has...being the God-Mother of all the subsequent WRX Subarus, and stuff.

 
As was mentioned before, the main thing to getting the Subaru 360 to handle well is to choose your racing line well, don't brake (or brake as minimally as possible), and let natural momentum take the 360 thru competitive AI traffic. There are times when this car will start to go sideways, or at least fishtail. When this happens, it's sometimes best just to let go. Let go of the accelerator, let go of the brakes, and let the car straighten itself out before power is applied again. In a 360, it's possible to become painfully aware of both Newton's physics and Murphy's Law all at the same time. The 360 often behaves like a gyroscope on 4 wheels.

 
You can try using any suspension system you can afford, but damper rates won't need to be boosted too high since this car is so light. I've been successful with using sport tires, too, but racing slicks help a lot to control the car's soapy behavior in corners.

...Whatever you do, save yourself a good replay. The 360 puts the "novel" in novelty. Chances are this car will only get raced a handful of times by those brave enough to explore past the Subaru 360 Cup. Then, the 360 will abandoned by the gamer, perhaps forever. Abandoned, but never truely forgotten. 

 

PROS----------------------------------------------------

1). Low cost.
 
2). Engine can be tweaked up to competitive levels, assuming the car stays in easier races.
 
3). Light weight...incredibly low power-to-weight ratio can be achieved with this car once full power-ups are used.
 
4). Will fit thru the tiniest of spaces, breezing thru traffic during races! Assuming the driver can control. 
 
5). For all you who were wondering where the original VW Bug is in GT2, here we have a replacement for it (sort of). Of course, in GT4 we do have the original Bug...and the 360 is back, as well.
 
6). The novelty factor of having a 360 in your garage makes up for its lacks as a racing car.
 

 
CONS-----------------------------------------------------

1). Rare and hard to find...easy to miss. I didn't even know what a 360 Subaru was till I accidentally stumbled upon it in the used car lot. Then the thought: “Oh my god  ...Polyphony Digital CAN'T be serious about this...”
 
2). Tires offer very poor grip in racing situations. Even with slicks, the driver needs to learn this car's odd weight distribution characteristics.
 
3). Rear-engine in a super-lightweight chassis. Enough said!
 
4). Obviously low power and VERY low torque. It seems Christmas has come and past in the time it takes this car's clutch to engage.
 
5). The smallest of drifts will instantly rob the 360 of power. Learn counter-steer to keep this car going in the right direction. 

6). GT2: No racing kit. *smirk*

7). Rather a waste of disc space. Did Subaru 360s ever get raced at any sort of amateur or professional level like VW Bugs often did? Does the 360 truely deserve a spot in our games?  
 

 
Originally Published: July 14, 2004
 

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