Subaru’s Aerodynamic Alcyone

Yasushi Kurita

Yasushi is a writer and editor based in Tokyo.

SUBARU is a carmaker that says true to its mission of craftsmanship. Subaru has been using flat engines, which are rarely used among car manufacturers worldwide, in all its cars since its inception more than 50 years ago, a clear indication of the company’s steadfastness.

That steadfastness had given birth to this Alcyone. Thirty years ago, when Subaru seriously pursued aerodynamic characteristics in its cars, what resulted was this rather unusual looking car. It has a front nose with light air resistance and is thereby equipped with retractable lights. The front and rear windows are inclined at the same angle and the body is shaped like a polygon with edges that stick up like computer graphics intended to enhance the aerodynamics.

this model doesn’t have a thick side sill that’s a common feature beneath the door.The bottom half of the car was made flat for a number of reasons: One, to allow for smoother airflow; and two, out of consideration for the car’s rough-road-running ability using Subaru’s trademark 4WD System.

In other words, Alcyone ended up with the unusual combination of being tall with a thin body. The reason Subaru went to such great lengths for the sake of aerodynamics may have had something to do with its past as a manufacturer of the World War II Zero fighter planes.

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