Junkyard Find: 1979 Subaru GL Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

While Malaise Era Subarus have disappeared from just about every location in the world outside of Colorado, a Subaru Leone sedan is a rare sight even here in Denver. At first glance, I wasn’t sure whether I was looking at a Corolla or maybe even another RX-2.

Malaise Subaru wagons and hatchbacks, they’re a dime a dozen in the junkyards of the Mile High City.

Not only is this a sedan, it’s an automatic 2WD version to boot. With a 67-horsepower 1600cc engine, even this car’s 2,030-pound curb weight must have felt like several tons. Of course, with certain world events jacking up gasoline prices in ’79, the original owner probably felt pretty smart for owning this gas-sipping little car.

Look, it’s the phoniest automotive “wood” surface ever!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Dolorean Dolorean on Nov 09, 2011

    You know 30lbs per HP is not bad for a '79, especially when you consider the '80 Corvette California Special barely pumped out 180HP to move its fat arse around. Having lived in Colorado for years and toured nearly every junkyard in Arvada and Commerce City, Soobys were and are very, very popular cars. The 80's rounded Soobs with the pull lever 4WD were awesome cars; always ran in sh** weather, had true 4WD and decent ground clearance, and gave decent gas mileage. This sedan in particular is so fugly, its cool.

  • Claytori Claytori on Nov 09, 2011

    The shot of the heater controls reminds me that until the Japanese car wave arrived we didn't know what a recirculation setting was. I still never use this.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.