Japanese auto manufacturer Subaru has gained worldwide recognition with its participation in the World Rally Championship. Since then, the marque has been on a steady rise as a reputable and reliable brand for performance and passenger vehicles. Let us now explore how the brand began as a manufacturer of vehicles and Subaru parts.
Getting involved with cars
Subaru is a derivative of Fuji Heavy Industries. Prior to four-wheeled vehicles, the company crafted Subaru parts out of airplane parts for scooters. It then began involving itself in automotive manufacturing in the 1950s starting with the Subaru 1500 followed by the 360, Sambar, 1000, 1100, and the R2. These small models were the initial product offerings by the company. However, as the 1980s and 1990s came, the marque began tweaking its cars for racing as Subaru performance parts were developed.
The Subaru all-wheel drive system
The marque\'s all-wheel drive system equipped in its cars is synonymous to the rally cars that compete in the World Rally Championship. However, the first incarnation of this drivetrain was actually equipped on passenger vehicles. The 4WD Station Wagon became the first mass-produced all-wheel drive passenger car in America. In ads, its performance was compared to that of a goat and horse while its consumption to that of a bird. Soon enough, models like this would benefit from Subaru accessories.
Subaru\'s entry to the World Rally Championship
The 1980s was a significant decade for Subaru. As it gained a market for its passenger vehicles, the marque branched out into motorsports. Led by Noriyuki Koseki, the Subaru Tecnica International souped up three versions of the Subaru Leone for racing. By 1986, the marque became the only team that used all-wheel drive systems paired with a 1.8-liter turbocharged boxer engine.
The boxer engine was an innovation patented by Karl Benz way back in 1896. Its design allows pistons to move in a horizontal motion. It therefore lowers the center of gravity for better vehicle stability and control. Moreover, the design offers less engine vibration due to the opposing pistons cancelling each other\'s movements out. Using this design for the succeeding Subaru vehicles proved to be an ace in the marque\'s quest for the podium. And as company became more involved in motorsports, the segment for Subaru aftermarket parts began to blossom.
The legacy of the Subaru Impreza
Subaru truly made a mark in the rally scene when the Impreza 555 was introduced in 1993. Still following the layout of its predecessors, the early versions of the Impreza was powered by the lightweight boxer engine and built on a well-balanced chassis fitted with performance suspension. The blue car with gold wheels slowly attracted spectators as its performance began to be noted. Subaru\'s first win with the car came in during the Corsica 1994.
When WRC revised its regulations for the 1997 season, Subaru answered with the Impreza WRC97. This car solidified Subaru\'s performance in WRC with three consecutive world manufacturer\'s title. The success was followed by the introduction of the WRC99, WRC 2000, and WRC2001. While there is still an abundance of Subaru parts online, the brand has pulled the plug off for the WRC program. The last of the batch was the hatchback dubbed as the WRC2008.