Subaru recently held its inaugural Fan Meeting at the Subaru Kenkyu Center in Tochigi. SKC fort short, the Research & Testing Center is the proving ground where many of Subaru’s signature high performance cars, such as the Alcyone SVX and WRX STi, developed. For Subaru aficionados, there is no better place to celebrate their favorite machines than this hallowed ground that’s usually off limits to civilians.
The meeting took place on March 27. Around 1,000 cars were selected to participate, and the event was attended by about 3,000 people from across Japan. With this many enthusiasts, Subaru put on an excellent and well-organized show. No fewer than seven stations spanning a range of Subaru’s activities were scattered all over SKC.
One of the main events was the Subaru DNA Seminar, which discussed Subaru’s core technologies. Interestingly, it also included a segment whereby opinions were exchanged between owners and Subaru’s technical staff.
Another main event was the High-Speed Driving Experience, where participants go for a ride with the drivers and cars — a fleet of WRX STIs and BRZs — of the Subaru Driving Academy. The last main event of the day was the SKC Parade Lap, in which owners got to take their Subarus on the proving ground’s test course itself.
Besides these banner events, there was also a “Pounding” Subaru Stage focused on motorsport, with a discussion on testing of the Super GT BRZ, as well as appearances by previous WRC rally cars and the speed record Legacy. In addition, there was a bus tour of SKC, which also took participants to the Subaru Museum of Movement. The Active Life Square catered to enthusiasts who are also interested in the outdoorsy lifestyle and other hobbies, while the Subaru Owners Meeting was a gigantic car show onsite.
Of note, the Owners Meeting attracted a large number of beautiful Subaru classics. Perhaps the coolest part is that these were driven around SKC along with many significant competition and record-setting cars in Subaru’s stable. For a Subaru fan, it was a day in heaven.
Overall, the Fan Meeting was an top notch event celebrating the wide reach that Subaru has had over the years. Such events serving fans, enthusiasts, and the public alike are rather common among Japanese carmakers in their home market. We wish that they would catch on here in the US as well.
Images courtesy of Subaru.
Wow. It’s hard to believe that this was the first one. Great photos and write-up. Thank you for sharing the story.
— Subaru Fan
Looks like a most excellent event.
Oh man, as a self-confessed Subaru addict this would have been fantastic to be a part of, even as a spectator. Thanks for the great coverage and photos!
Thanks for the post about this! When Subaru sent me this video early on April 7, I had no idea what facility this was.
I used to be a total Subaru hater. Then one day when I really needed a car, I was out searching for a vehicle to purchase. I was looking for another Integra to add to my list of Acura ownership and stumbled upon a really clean 2005 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. I asked for a price on the car and it was currently way out of my budget range. But I decided to test drive it just for fun and feels. As I accelerated up the first hill I asked the sales guy why this WRX had so much turbo lag? I got screamed at for the next ten minutes about how stupid I must be. So I decided this must be the perfect chance to build my credit. I got a loan and there started my project car. I have put a lot into fixing some of the minor neglect and surface abuse from the previous owner. Which wasn’t much. But I gave it my all anyway. I then decided to start the personalization process. After adding some precision driving modifications (i.e. Wink Mirror, and some shift linkage work and reduction of rotational mass) I began making the car into a cornucopia of parts that weren’t exactly made for this model year or model. So I have STI parts, Forester parts, Legacy parts, WRX parts, you name it, if it fits and improves my driving fun, I make it a part of my build. I have come to to love not just my car, but the community of Subaru owners and tuners as well as Japan Heavy Industries it’s self. I have owned quite a few cars now, but this is the first car I have purchased that made me feel like part of a culture of incredibly wonderful people. Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.
I’ve always considered the Subaru 360 to be a kind of convergent-evolution version of a Fiat 600 or 500 – similar in looks and ethos, but launched at such similar times that it’d be hard to say Japan took much inspiration from Europe, unlike they might with some other cars.
But I took one look at that orange 360 in the lead image and thought, “Hey, a Beetle on JNC…” Quite a bit of similarity to the Beetle in that frontal aspect, even if the scale is rather different!