It was the first production Subaru to use a boxer engine.
These cars featured a unique water-cooled, horizontally opposed four cylinder engine, with overhead valves operated by pushrods. Subaru engineers examined Porsche, Volkswagen and even Chevrolet Corvair and thought it would be nice if this type of engine is combined with front wheel drive system. The neck in proceeding the mechanism was the vibrations from universal joints, but in collaboration with the bearing maker the epoch-making "double offset joint" was invented. Modern Subarus still make use of horizontally opposed four cylinder engines, albeit of a much greater capacity and with more modern overhead cam driven valves.
As was typical of early front wheel drive cars, the 1000 featured inboard drum brakes up front (but atypically Subaru would retain this unusual design into the seventies). Other unique features of the 1000 were a lack of a heater core, the heating system took its warmth directly from the radiator, and a hybrid suspension system that used torsion bars in combination with coil springs (much like the front suspension of the Subaru 360). The 1000 was superseded by the 1100 (also known as the Subaru FF-1 Star in the United States and in other export markets) at the start of the seventies.