Subaru Legacy world records
Denis Flierl's picture

Subaru History: How they Set 2 World Records and 13 International Records at the Same Time [Video]

This week 28 years ago, the first-generation Subaru Legacy set a world speed record. How fast did the Legacy go?

Subaru has been about setting records as far back as 1989, and on January 21, 1989, they broke 2 world records and 13 international records. Quite an achievement for the tiny Japanese automaker. In 1989, the first-generation Subaru Legacy took on the 100,000 km FIA World Land Endurance Record outside of Phoenix, Arizona. The high-performance Legacy broke the world record by maintaining an average speed of 223.345 km/h (138.78 mph) thus completing 100,000 km in 447 hours, 44 minutes, and 9.887 seconds.

How did they do it?

The Legacy was developed by Subaru to replace the Leone and it’s still a mainstay in the Subaru lineup today. Subaru set out to showcase their new engine and all-wheel-drive technologies. The small Japanese automaker showed the world what these new technologies could do by setting this world speed record. The new world record took 18.5 days to complete and the record held until the end of April 2005.

The original Legacy speed record was set between January 2 and January 21, 1989, with three Japanese-spec turbocharged RS sedans at the Arizona Test Center outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Pit stops were made every two hours with a driver change and refueling, while tire changes were made at 96‑hour intervals, or every 13,400 miles (21,600 km) driven.

In 1993 Subaru set another world speed record for station wagons with an average speed of 249.981 km/h over 1 km with the Legacy wagon at the U.S. Salt Lake Challenge. In 1998 The Legacy wagon set another new world speed record with an average speed of 270.532 km/h over 1 km.

By setting these world records, Subaru began to build its reputation as being one of the most reliable and durable automakers on the planet. Watch the Japanese video below to get a better idea of what it took to pull off the new record.

Photo credit: Subaru


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