I will hear this many times today.
In the many underpowered cars that I had driven up a hill, around a bend, or towards an intersection, a well-meaning friend, instructor, or authority figure in the seat next to me inevitably yelled: “Shift!!” This was to entice me to stir the stick, and to keep me from killing the engine either outright or in a frenzied over-rev.
This time, it is different. I am in Japan, and I sit in Japan’s first kei-car, a Summer-of-Love generation 1968 Subaru 360. Next to me sits his owner, Chiharu Tamura, and he shouts “don’t shift!!” (Read More…)
That Subaru is still thriving is in itself a minor miracle. The small Japanese car makers have either imploded (Isuzu), are threatening to (Mitsubishi), or have sought shelter (even Subaru is now 20% owned by Toyota). Subaru did have its own near-death experience in the early nineties. But in a long string of wild bets, Subaru’s final card in the US was a big gamble on AWD, and the timing couldn’t have been better. And like most successful gamblers, there have been losses along the way (see above). But perhaps because of the bumpy ride, Subaru is still alive and kicking. (Read More…)