Back in 1966, the Subaru 1000 was the first model to get flat motor.

What’s your first association with the word Boxer? If it’s not the medium-sized, short-haired breed of dog, but the horizontally-opposed combustion engine of Subaru, then we’ve got some news for you – it’s turning 50!

The first model to get the so-called Boxer motor was the Subaru 1000 compact passenger car on May 14, 1966. Today, exactly 50 years later, every vehicle sold by the Japanese manufacturer, except for some mini vehicles in Japan, is equipped with a Boxer engine. Its total production over the past five decades tops 16 million units.

But why do they call them Boxer engines? It’s just because the movement of the engine’s pistons, which face each other in a side-to-side symmetrical layout, resembles the movement of a boxer’s fists. Physics says the opposing pistons work to cancel out the inertia force of each other, resulting in less vibration and superb rotational balance. This provides a smooth feel right up to the high rev range.

Nowadays, the Boxer engine is a main part of Subaru’s signature Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system that “offers a combination of superior stability and traction intrinsic to AWD and balanced distribution of weight.” Currently, just like Porsche, Subaru is selling both four- and six-cylinder Boxers, depending on the market.

Source: Subaru

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50 years of Subaru Boxer engines

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Tokyo, May 10, 2016 – Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, celebrates the 50th anniversary of its horizontally-opposed “Boxer” engine this year. *1

Subaru’s signature Boxer engine was introduced on the Subaru 1000 compact passenger car on May 14, 1966.
Since then, Subaru has pursued to maximize the advantages of its Boxer engines and continuously enhanced them to power its vehicles. Today, every vehicle sold by Subaru is fitted with a Boxer engine*2 and its total production over the past 50 years tops 16 million units.

In a horizontally-opposed design of the Boxer engine, the pistons face each other in a side-to-side symmetrical layout. The opposing pistons work to cancel out the inertia force of each other, resulting in less vibration and superb rotational balance which provide a smooth feel right up to the high rev range.

The Boxer engine is one of the key components that comprise Subaru’s distinctive Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. Subaru Symmetrical AWD offers a combination of superior stability and traction intrinsic to AWD and balanced distribution of weight provided by the symmetrically-laid-out drivetrain with a longitudinally-mounted Boxer engine positioned in line with it; the synergy delivers excellent performance such as stability at high speeds and brisk cornering.

Under the “Confidence in Motion” brand statement, Subaru will continue to enhance its engineering excellence and distinctive appeal to offer an “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind” driving experience to customers worldwide.