The junkyards of Colorado don’t have quite the selection of the ones I grew up crawling around in California, but they do have more Subarus than I ever imagined possible. I’ve been a fan of the Subaru XT since it was new— in fact, I’m half-assedly shopping for one now— and so it’s reassuring to find them during my junkyard visits and know that I’ll be able to get parts. Today’s find is a rare turbocharged four-wheel-drive version from the XT’s first model year.
The XT Turbo had a cockpit that was wild even by the crazed standards of mid-80s Japanese cars. The instrument cluster moved along with the tilt wheel, so that no steering-wheel setting could obscure your view of the gauges. Wait a minute— the XT didn’t have lowly gauges! When you bought an XT, you got the most video-game-ish digital display of them all, and that includes the Mitsubishi Cordia digital dash.
I didn’t have any tools on me when I found this car, so I didn’t pull the cluster for my collection. Should I go back for it?
“TURBO” was the magic word of the 1980s, but you had to be a special flavor of weird to think that the XT Turbo was as mainstream cool as something like the 300ZX Turbo or even the Starion.
These things weren’t cheap. The list price for the ’85 XT 4WD Turbo was $13,589, which was close to 30 grand in 2012 bucks. That was about $1,200 more than the Nissan 200SX Turbo, nearly $1,500 more than a factory-hot-rod Mazda RX-7 GSL, and close to $2,000 more than a Chevy Camaro IROC-Z.
This one is a bit rusty and generally used-up-looking, but it still has a lot of good parts.
The engine in this car made 111 horsepower, which is 27 fewer than the base engine in the 2013 Kia Rio. Yes, we are living in the Golden Age of Horsepower.
We’re also living in the Not-So-Golden Age of computer nannies; rather than a quaint sticker advising the driver to slow down when the slushbox overheats, today’s cars just go into limp mode.