By 1966, Subaru had been selling its tiny, rear engine 360 for nearly a decade. By then, executives knew the Japanese automaker had to step up its game in the compact car market if it intended to be a true competitor around the globe. To compete with the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sunny, Mazda Familia and others, Subaru introduced the 1000, which went on sale on this day in 1966.
The 1000, the first front wheel drive car produced by Subaru, featured a 977 cc boxer engine that put out a plentiful 54 horsepower. This production model, which lasted until 1969, was the successor to the 1500 prototype that had been showcased a dozen years earlier. That car launched Fuji Heavy Industries’ foray into the automobile market under the name Subaru.