Subaru XT 1985-1991
When telling History it's sometimes best to start at the beginning.
Since it began automobile manufacturing with the 1958 launch of the Subaru 360, FHI has created numerous distinctive models that have contributed to the development of Japanâ€™s automobile industry. For example, the Subaru 360 featured sophisticated packagingâ€” including such aircraft design concepts as monocoque construction and the use of plastic componentsâ€”along with other innovative and thorough weight-saving technologies. Launched in 1966, the Subaru 1000 incorporated a horizontally opposed engine, one of the most distinctive Subaru technologies, and was also the first mass produced car to employ a front-wheel-drive layout. In 1972, FHI became the first in the world to market an AWD passenger car.
The sophisticated packaging continued to grow and in 1985 reached a new high with the Subaru XT. It was the first Japanese car to reach the aerodynamic drag coefficient of .029 CD. Fuji with their history in air craft manufacturing was somewhat more aware of how aerodynamics affected efficiency, especially as speed increased. flush, aircraft style door handles, airfoils in front of the rear wheels, low hood profile, and extensive wind tunnel testing made the low CD possible, add to this the options of turbocharging and 4WD, and the XT looked very promising on paper.
The XT underwent a minor face lift in 87.5 and in 1988 something very exciting happened. Subaru released a world’s first, a water cooled horizontally opposed six cylinder engine. Weighing in with 2.7 liters and 145 HP, the engine, exclusive to the XT body style was a herald of things to come, like the Impressive SVX and the robust STi Impreza.
The XT, also known as the Vortex down under, and the Alcyone in Japan, was Subaru’s Technological test bed car and should be recognized in history along side other great technological wonders as the Nissan GTR and the Mitsubishi GTO.