The Fuji Motorcycles Division dates back to pre World War Two. Originally, in 1917 Chikuhei Nakajima founded an aircraft research company that was named Aircraft Research Laboratory, which was located in Japan. Thanks to the First World War, The Aircraft Research Laboratory, was renamed to Nakajima Aircraft Co and held the title of Japan's leader in aerospace manufacturing, and had a respective quarter of a million workers.
Before World War Two, Nakajima Aircraft, under government contract, produced not only the German Fokker, but also the Douglas DC2. Nakajima's Aeronautic manufacturing ended when the Japanese surrendered to American forces in 1945, and Nakajima Aircraft soon turned their heads to other forms of manufacturing since they had such a large tooling and manufacturing company. Nakajima Aircraft changed their name to Fuji Sangyo Company and soon began filling Japan's need for cheap transportation.
In 1946, based on the Powell Scooter, Fuji Sangyo released their scooter, The Fuji Rabbit. The Fuji Rabbit had been produced for nearly 6 months before the infamous Vespa was released. The Fuji Rabbit became an overnight success, and even used some airplane parts in its construction. The front wheel of the Fuji Rabbit was the landing gear that had been originally designed for the Nakajima Bomber.
By 1950, due to new laws in Japan, mainly the Corporate Rearrangement Law had forced Fuji Sangyo to divide itself into 12 different companies, one of which was to be called Fuji Heavy Industries. A new corporate emblem was made for the Fuji Rabbit as Fuji Heavy Industries had none, so the held and inter-company competition for the new design in which the Japans Characters for "FU" had been chosen and is still the symbol for Fuji Heavy Industries today.
Although Fuji Heavy Industries produced cars, fire trucks and micro-buses, their Rabbit Scooter line was their true bread winner in which they had well over 25 models available.
Through the Rabbit Motor Sales, which was located in San Francisco, the Fuji Rabbit made its way to America by 1957 and also to Canada a few tears later. Malcolm Bricklin, who was the largest distributor of the Fuji Rabbit in the United States, was making a fortune off the scooters until the line was dropped. Not wanting to lose his bread and butter, Malcolm Bricklin went to Japan in an attempt get Fuji to continue to produce and export their Rabbits, but it was to no avail.
Fuji Heavy Industries attempted to talk Malcolm Bricklin into dealing in their new car line, Subaru, this had been a great chance for Bricklin who took it up and soon became the largest dealer of Subaru, since they could slide under the import laws. This later became helpful as by 1972 he had produced the Bricklin SV-1 and the 351 cubic inch engine he designed came to be of great interest to the Ford Motor Company.
The Fuji Heavy Industries have stopped producing their Rabbit but thanks to a large body of loyal enthusiasts, The Fuji Rabbit still lives on.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 04/06/2008