Hampshire, England – Four British Subaru fans intend to drive two of the manufacturer’s original model, the 360cc microcar, on the 3,218-km Liege-Brescia-Liege rally.
The rally is the world’s only international event for sub-500cc cars and has attracted over 75 entrants. It requires drivers to travel through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia, including tough terrain such as Italy’s Stelvio and Gavia Passes; it runs from July 11 to 20.
The Subaru 360, introduced in 1958, was the first vehicle line produced by Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries. They were never officially sold in Europe, but in 1968, they became the first Subaru model imported into the U.S. by Malcolm Bricklin, who would later attempt to build a sports car in New Brunswick.
The cars, a 1967 and 1968, will be driven by James Ewing and Jane Puttock, and by Victor Sayer and Craig Lawson. They are powered by two-cylinder, air-cooled, two-stroke, rear-mounted engines.
“Without wishing to tempt fate, I am supremely confident,” Ewing said. “Not only have I carried out all the restoration myself, but know these Subarus are very reliable with no weaknesses like half-shafts, for example. Also, they are easily fixable by the roadside.”
Other cars entered in the rally include examples of the Fiat 500, Citroën 2CV, Messerschmitt, Heinkel, Isetta, Bond and Berkely.