Video: Bike-powered Subaru 360 is 'Rolex watch made out of garbage'


Not so long ago, longtime sportscar racer and broadcaster Tommy Kendall called the 24 Hours of LeMons “…the second-most innovative (race) series on the planet.” That’s high praise from a former Le Mans driver, but if you’ve seen up close the work done by LeMons stalwarts Charnal House Racing, you know that Kendall is talking about the kind of garage creativity that is their specialty. Illinois-based Charnal House is best-known for building the insane Geo MetSHO, for keeping builds strictly within the $500 budget, and for fostering the frothing mind of Internet flash-fiction writer/fabricator Crab Spirits.

To that résumé, you can add this: a miniscule Subaru 360 powered by the 150-horsepower engine from a Honda CBR954RR. Watch video of its test drive after the jump and just try to keep yourself from grinning maniacally when Crab Spirits revs the motor for the first time.[youtube][/youtube]

While it is not yet a finished build, the Charnal House 360 has already seen some incredible fabrication in the team’s shop (a golf course’s maintenance shed). Here’s just a smattering of what’s gone into the tiny Subaru:

  • A Nissan 300Zx (Z31) master cylinder
  • The throttle assembly from an A-6 Intruder (housing the CBR’s sequential shifter)
  • A Honda CRX pedal assembly
  • Mower blades and square tubing from a basketball hoop (Also both used on the MetSHO)
  • The throttle assembly from an A-6 Intruder!
  • Lots of Geo Metro parts leftover from the MetSHO build
  • An assortment discarded and repurposed suspension components from Stance USA
  • The throttle assembly from an A-6 Intruder!

It’s hard to say what’s most impressive, but the team have discarded the notion of chain drive, instead hooking up the CBR transmission’s output to a Geo Metro five-speed transaxle’s input, giving the car reverse and (theoretically) 30 gear combinations from which to choose.

If you’ve got the time, the build thread is incredible, not least of which is due to Crab Spirits’ literary gift. Among his many observations is this bit about managing to fit everything into the microcar:

“We also completed the heavily engineered rear subframe built from the old entrance gate to the golf course, mower blades, and the old rear engine mount bar from the subie. I won’t even go into detail on all the variables that had to be accounted for to get everything neatly stuffed into this little beast. I’m really excited to put it into the car and see how everything fits together like a Rolex watch made from garbage.”

Charnal House have actually been building this car since 2010 with the intention of racing it in LeMons. However, the 360 fell afoul of new regulations that mandate a minimum wheelbase greater than the Subaru’s entire length. Its eventual place in the automotive world is currently unclear, but it is registered and tagged. Hopefully, it can at least serve as a LeMons pace car. Wherever it ends up, it will almost certainly be the most bonkers Subaru 360 of all time.

[Source:, Crab Spirits | Photos: Crab Spirits/Charnal House Racing | Video: Crab Spirits’ YouTube channel]

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13 responses to “Video: Bike-powered Subaru 360 is 'Rolex watch made out of garbage'”

  1. buzzboy7 Avatar

    This looks super fun.

  2. cruisintime Avatar

    That is one cool fabrication,looks like a blast to drive.

  3. 5keptic Avatar

    I have been loooking for a subaru 360 to do exactly this. nice to see i am not the only one.

  4. LEROOOY Avatar

    What's that LeMons minimum wheelbase rule? It's going to kill my plan of entering a heavily ballasted Samurai…

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      "3.34: Minimum Wheelbase: The minimum acceptable wheelbase is 82 inches (as delivered by the factory). Cars with smaller wheelbases my be granted a waiver by LeMons after extensive review of the team's construction and safety plans. (These plans inevitably require extensive, high-quality engineering; lots of new material; and huge amounts of high-quality fabrication. If you're the least bit shy on talent, dedication, or budget, it's better to pick something else.)"
      The Samurai is 80 inches.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        Is this wheelbase measured on the right hand side, or the left hand side? You know, for teams wanting to enter a Renault…

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          My guess is that any four-wheeled car which left the factory with more than one wheelbase would be well on its way to receiving a waiver regardless of measurement.

  5. Velocitré Avatar

    So, I'm guessing that one of the mowers is missing a fuel cell?

  6. brenschluss Avatar

    I laughed hard every time I heard *BWAARAAR* "Holy shit."
    Life's better knowing this is out there.

    1. Felis_Concolor Avatar

      I love the clearly implicit "this thing is going to kill me" contained within that "holy $#!+" comment.

  7. PotbellyJoe ★★★★☆ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★☆

    That backend could be a lyricist for Green Day. Between the power and the RR setup, it's all set to sing "When I come around"…
    <img src=""&gt;
    …Don't forget to tip your waitress.

  8. Rover1 Avatar


  9. Motorcycle Parts Avatar
    Motorcycle Parts

    hi good information thank for sharing

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