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
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 Subaru Impreza Wrx Sti Spec Type RA-R Video 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.
6. Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B
Offered from 2006-2009, the spec.B was a rare performance-based Legacy with a turbocharged 2.5-liter, with 241 torque and 243 horsepower. In some ways, it’s the closest US fans have ever seen to a production model Legacy STi. Other upgrades over the Legacy GT included a six-speed manual transmission, DVD-based navigation and a Momo steering wheel. According to the Internets, only around 1,000 were ever produced. Car and Driver tested the $34,620 car in 2006 and felt that it was a little spendy and fell short option-wise when compared to other cars in its price group. Hey, you can’t put a price on rarity.
7. Subaru Sambar
Not exactly rare overseas, the Sambar has been a staple in Japan since 1961. The original Sambar microvan/microtruck was created as an option for Subaru 360 buyers that wanted to carry small loads. The Sambar was first powered by a tiny 356cc two-stroke engine paired with a 3-speed manual transmission and offered in van and pickup truck variations. Today, the 2015 Subaru Sambar is powered by a 3-cylinder, 660cc engine offered in both 2WD and 4WD variants. There are a handful of the old model stateside currently, with more than a few being turned into Volkswagen Bus replicas.
8. Subaru Impreza UK300
As the name suggests, the UK300 had a limited run of only 300 units. According to NorthUrsalia.com, the UK300 was a Prodrive project on the old Bugeye Impreza. A Prodrive Performance Package was added, as well as a couple exterior and interior design enhancements.
Another one for the “kill it with fire” books, the S201 was based around the first generation Impreza with a seriously awful body kit. The spoiler may be the worst in existence. It wasn’t just all show and no go, since it came with a 2.0 liter with 300 horsepower and 260 torque. According to NorthUrsalia.com, the S201 was based around the Electra One concept. No one knows how many are still around, but maybe that just helps us forget about it.
10. 1998 Impreza 22B STI Coupe
No rare Subaru list is complete without the holy grail of Subarus, the 22B. Easily my favorite Subaru ever, the 22B came with a closed-deck 2.2 liter with 278 horsepower. What separates the 22B from the rest of Subaru’s fleet is the incredible widebody kit and the nearly bulletproof engine. Only 424 were ever produced and, as of this writing, I’m only aware of 2 being in the States. The 22B is truly Subaru’s greatest masterpiece.
Bonus: One more, and possibly the rarest “recent” model.
The Unicorn, the Acadia Green 1998 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS
US models of the 2.5RS were produced from 1998 – 2001 and had a production run of 14,033. In 1998, only 1,680 were available. 700 of those 1,680 were in Rally Blue. Those in Acadia Green? Less than 250. That’s why this car is considered the Unicorn among Subaru enthusiast circles