Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A 1983 Subaru with only 9,400 miles

Welcome to the Sunday Edition of the Hooniverse Weekend. One of esteemed editors on this site sent this tip to our tip line, and since I’m the only one up this Sunday Morning, I decided to run with it. If you had the chance to purchase a brand new 1983 Subaru GL 4WD Wagon, would you? Well take a look, as this is probably the closest you will ever get to one…

Why would anyone ever purchase a Subaru 4WD Wagon, and put it away as a prized memento? When produced, Subaru was a niche brand in the states, and were popular in certain areas of the country. States like Vermont (where Subaru was the best selling import at the time), Colorado, Washington, and Oregon where this Wagon currently resides. A little history on the brand… This generation of the Subaru Leone was introduced in the US in 1980. This was Japan’s first All Wheel Drive Wagon available with an Automatic Transmission when introduced in 1981. This generation was also powered primarily by the 1.8L EA81 Boxer engine, and available in a Turbocharged edition by 1983.

This 1983 GL 4WD Wagon was very typical of the era, equipped with most of the options that were made available at that time. Some of the equipment installed include an AM FM Radio, Power Windows (with a separate button for one touch down or up for the driver), Port installed Air Conditioning, White Wagon Wheels, White Letter Tires, Rear Cargo Shade, Port Installed Roof Rack & Wind Deflector, even the port installed side protection molding (The strip above the factory side protection molding!!!) According to the listing:

1983 Subaru GL 4WD Wagon 4D. Yes a mere 9,433 Actual miles. WOW! Very rarely does somebody say collectible and Subaru in the same sentence, but this is certainly one you don’t see very often, if at all…1983 Subaru GL 4×4 Wagon with 9,433 original miles. Local, One Owner bought it new and tucked it away. Still has original 1983 Title, remarkable car inside and out. The more you look at this car the more amazed you become, realizing that every fitting, nut and bolt is original and still looks like new ! This truly should be in a museum or on a Subaru’s dealer showroom, just think of the advertising you would receive! Whether you add to a collection or just love Subarus and want to go drive this one for many years, an excellent and rare value either way…

Asking price for this time warp from the 80s? $12,995! See the listing here. Now is this 1983 Subaru worth the asking price? Let me know….

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34 responses to “Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A 1983 Subaru with only 9,400 miles”

  1. Alff Avatar

    It's neat but…
    That much scratch will get you a lot more Subaru. For just a couple thousand more, I bought a Legacy GT wagon with only 24K miles and no worries about having to rehab all the fluids and rubber bits.

    1. RWB Avatar

      You're not in the northeast, are you?

  2. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    If it were a BRAT with a manual transmission, I'd be having a dilemma, but for an automatic GL, I can turn away without hesitation.
    With so few miles, it would have to be gone through if the intent were to drive it, but for $13k, it is an interesting option over a new Kia.

  3. facelvega Avatar

    Too soon for a GL to be worth anything I should think. Like most japanese small and family cars at the time, these were dog slow. Worse, as I remember very well they were also far below Honda or Mazda handling at the time. The 4WD was nice, but you could get that on a Justy or Civic wagon within a year or two after this, and personally I'd rather have either of those.

    1. rocketrodeo Avatar

      My recollection as well. Slowest car I've ever driven–including my '62 Microbus–but totally appropriate given the handling.

  4. grantlinderman Avatar

    I really don't understand the appeal in that at all. Why would anyone want a f%ckugly Japanese car from 1983? As stated previously, that much money will buy you a much newer, infinitely nicer Subaru.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Well, for some of us, "much newer" and "infinitely nicer" are essentially incompatible concepts. I've got three vehicles from 1980-82, nothing newer, and in each case I had to convince myself to make the purchase for the sake of other features, despite the youth of the vehicle in question, not because of it.
      I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy this '83 more than I would a newer Subaru, so to me that makes it nicer. Then again, I know with certainty that I'd enjoy a Subaru 360 even more, so this GL isn't particularly high on my list, either. I can see the appeal, though.

      1. grantlinderman Avatar

        I agree… newer and nicer are almost always incompatible. However, in the case of Subaru (with exceptions for two-ish models), I feel like it holds pretty true. This car is ugly, underpowered, expensive (relatively), and historically insignificant compared to other subaru models. Where's the appeal? Maybe more hipster value than a civic? Is that alone worth 5 to 10 times the cost of a used civic??

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          I don't think we'll see eye-to-eye on this, because ugly, underpowered, expensive (relatively), and historically insignificant is, to me, a shopping list. My problem is that, on my budget, "relatively expensive" grades into "absolutely expensive" at around $5000, which is itself an excellent reason to pass on this one.

      2. Alff Avatar

        Don't mind him. He lives in Seattle where the average freeway speed rarely exceeds 25 mph. In the real world, 250 hp and AWD make for an enjoyable combination.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Do you know how hard it is to find a place with sufficient off-street parking in Seattle? I live in Shoreline.

          1. Alff Avatar

            Yeah, I spent several years in the U District before going country. I was fortunate to have parking for my massive fleet of two vehicles. Of course, if they were like yours, I might have had room for all of them.

        2. Sam Avatar

          Hey, I live near Seattle (well, Eastside) and I enjoy my 230 horsepower RWD car. There's a lot of fun roads within a short drive of the city – SR 202 near Snoqualmie, Ben Howard Road, Chuckanut Drive (well, that one's 80 miles away), etc

          1. Alff Avatar

            Chuckanut is excellent. I also enjoy the road to Crystal Mountain. My best motoring times in the Seattle area were spent on fire roads, though. Usually behind the wheel of some light-in-the-ass 2wd pickup.

          2. Alex Kierstein Avatar
            Alex Kierstein

            OK, it's official – we're having a Hooniverse Washington State Dicks'-n'-Spuds Inaugural Rainy Day Beer Sippin' Festival of Rust and Regret.
            Time and venue suggestions?

          3. Alex Kierstein Avatar
            Alex Kierstein

            Spouses, spawn, and sobriety strongly discouraged.

  5. CptSevere Avatar

    This is the first one of these I've seen in a long time without the usual collection of hippy "Visualize Whirled Peas," jam band, and "Save the Canyons" stickers. That alone makes this a rare bird.

  6. rocketrodeo Avatar

    A vivid reminder of how far we've come in 30 years.

  7. tonyola Avatar

    Only hopeless nostalgics need apply. As others have said, you can get so much more Sube for $13,000.

  8. Paul_y Avatar

    That is really, really nice, but jesus christ that's a lot of money, and it's not even a BRAT.

  9. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    Stupid. Thing is, I've always liked these. If those 9,400 miles were evenly spread out over the last 28 years so all the important bits aren't shot from disuse, it'd maybe be worth a couple grand to me. Drive it to work until it breaks, because it's still more interesting than my beater 7th gen Honda Civic.

  10. RSDeuce Avatar

    The first car I remember my parents having was a Subaru very similar to this one. I doubt it was fully optioned, but it was the same color all around. I remember the AWD being a lifesaver in the winter in CO, and the car held up well when we had a semi-trailer slide into us on some black ice.
    An unremarkable car really, even with a "history" there I couldn't see myself wanting to own one.

  11. CJinSD Avatar

    If it had a manual transmission it would be more interesting. Maybe even interesting. P.J. O'rourke had one, and he wrote an amusing review of it that was published in Car and Driver. I'd rather drive one of these than a Cruze or a Versa, but it would really need to have a manual transmission. The dealer I worked for in 1989 sold new Subarus. There were some Loyales on the lot that were close to a year old, and their tail pipes had already rusted through after less than 20 miles, so seeing this rust free 1983 Subaru is surprising.

  12. Sam Avatar

    Rare beast. Even in the Pacific Northwest there aren't many of these little wagons around (but there's plenty of the boxier succeeding generation that became the Loyale). Too bad it's not a stick, I wonder if an EJ20T swap would be possible.

  13. ɹǝʌoɹ ǝБuɐɹʇs Avatar
    ɹǝʌoɹ ǝБuɐɹʇs

    Do I spot a corner of 959 in the under-hood shot? If that white car's not a 959, I don't know what it is.

    1. skitter Avatar

      Nah, it's just a 993.
      The 959 didn't have those plastic inserts in the headlights.
      /anorak off

      1. ɹǝʌoɹ ǝБuɐɹʇs Avatar
        ɹǝʌoɹ ǝБuɐɹʇs

        Oops! Right you are. I don't know why I didn't think of that. It just that the fenders looked really wide from that angle.

      2. Alff Avatar

        Put the anorak back on an tell me what the grey car is that I see over the front of the Subie in the second shot. If it's the ass of something, I'm interested. If it's the snout, not so much.

        1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

          Looks like a Z8:
          <img src="http://www.funtoosh.com/wall/cars/bmw_2_a.jpg&quot; width=500>

          1. Alff Avatar

            Good call. For the record, I'm interested. I saw one on the showroom floor in Fife back in the day. Wonder if it's the same one.

  14. Lex Avatar

    No, it's not worth the price. But it's damned cool. I love 80's Subarus, mainly because they still had that rugged feel…like it being easy to imagine driving a WWII Japanese military vehicle when you're behind the wheel.
    A girlfriend had one from later in the 80's with a manual. I used to bomb it through the cemetery in the winter, launch it off little bluffs and generally abuse it terrible, terrible ways. It always came back for more.

  15. Alff Avatar

    I know what road you're talking about – it was part of my shakedown cruise for the Alfa.

  16. paul Avatar

    Automatic would be a deal killer for me. I drove both and the automatic got just slightly better than 2/3rds the fuel mileage of the manual 4 speed. As for the Subaru GL with the EA81 engine, I'd take any manual transmission one, ANY DAY OF THE WEEK over a head gasket eating, comparatively impossible to work on, gas guzzling 2.5L DOHC powered Outback. I miss my 83 GL Hardtop 2dr and wish I had another. Not sure so much about my 96 Outback….but I'm enjoying my 07 Toyota Matrix now!

  17. Samir Eli Zehil Avatar
    Samir Eli Zehil

    IF YES E MAIL ME PLEASE coach@wydner.com