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Development of the Subaru Vehicle X

This page on the history and development of the SVX has been adapted from jamsvx2's old yahoo page which a copy of can be found here: 
Copy of jamsvx2 yahoo page - The Subaru SVX World Network (


This section of the site is dedicated to the SVX as it emerged from prototype concept vehicle to fruition as a road vehicle. In my opinion, there are not many cars that have made it from concept to road without many changes...the SVX is notable for its similarity to the original concept and only lately do the Mercedes SLK and Porsche Boxster join that club....and they look quite conventional in my opinion.

The information on the prototype is extremely difficult to obtain but there is a fair amount of information in the Road and Track Guide, much of which is reproduced here, along with bits and pieces that turn up. An example is the postcard to the right - thanks to Mike in Germany for that.

A member of the SVX Network was lucky enough to obtain images from Italdesign of some initial design concepts from the mid-1980's for the SVX. One of them is reproduced below and the others are promised by him soon!!! As I said earlier, it is amazing how striking the car looks today and the minimal change to the original concept of the 1980's! How many cars can say that?


The styling design house of Ital Design was formed by the designer of the Subaru SVX, Giorgetto Giugiaro, in 1968 and his work on the Subaru SVX is discussed on the following page. The conceptual designs below not only predate those of the SVX but were also for different manufacturers, namely Lotus.

Suffice to say that in my opinion, the SVX was a development of conceptual designs that had already reached mock-up stage and was not a wholly new design. Two relevant designs are pictured to the right.

The Medusa sedan, pictured to the right, is one that features split-windows in each of its four doors, a feature that was to reappear on the stillborn Subaru Amadeus version of the SVX but more notable is the Etna.

The Etna was a concept car developed for Lotus in 1984 and was initally destined for production and came with a 4 litre mid-mounted V8 developing 360BHP. Of greater note is the similarity between the Etna and the SVX, in terms of the two door design, floating roof and extended 'glasshouse' surrounding the cabin. In fact, a review of the period noted that "the contrast between its upper and lower halves was emphazised by using thin, black-painted pillars, creating the impression of a transparent dome".

The design cues of the SVX in this regard are an exact match!

As will be seen in later pages, the similarities between the basic design elements of the Etna and SVX surely seem more than mere coincidence.

Indeed, a quick glance shows some similarities to the Subaru Vortex, especially with the 'drop line' behind the rear view mirror. This is also echoed in the SVX.

SVX Prototype

As discussed on the preceding page, although the SVX was, and indeed remains, a radical design for production car, many of its design fetures are not unique and it is my opinion that a number of Giugario designs, specifically the Etna prototype, not only predate the SVX in concept but in addition, predate it as a wholly original concept. Before you email me with abuse, such an opinion is firstly subjective but secondly, such a view means that one can trace the heritage of the SVX past the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show and past the 1986 concept (below) till it can be seen how little the design has changed from original concept to actual production model to as far back as the Etna in 1984. In 2001 as I write this, how many car designs 17 years old can stop traffic for its futuristic looks? If you can answer that, then feel free to email me!

SVX Concepts

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