Junkyard Find: 1982 Subaru L Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Subaru went through a lot of bewildering names for the early Leone in North America, and they’ve retained that tradition with their Legacy- and Impreza-based Outbacks in more recent years. Here in Colorado, I find astonishing quantities of 20+ year-old Subarus in wrecking yards. Most are four-wheel-drive machines, for obvious reasons, but every so often I run across an elderly front-wheel-drive Leone. Here’s a rare 2WD coupe version I spotted in Aurora a few weeks back.

These things were cheap and (by the very lenient standards of the time) fairly reliable. Sure, they rusted like crazy (this one isn’t too bad, thanks to Colorado’s single-digit humidity), but what Malaise Era Japanese car didn’t?

I’ll take any excuse to find weird Japanese car ads.

Or vaguely relevant songs that I remember from Dr. Demento in the late 1970s.

This car appears to have been pretty well loaded with options you don’t see too often on Japanese subcompacts of the era. Power steering!

Power windows!

Subaru stuck with this semi-weird style of headlight switch as the 1980s progressed, though it was sort of drowned out by the wilder fighter-jet-style stuff in cars like the XT6.

One thing that hasn’t changed in all these decades of Subarus is the good old boxer engine layout.

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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4 of 26 comments
  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Dec 28, 2015

    Being odd doesn't make it good. Subarus are for those people who are into women and are women, who have less eyesight than IQ, and who just want to prove that they are different. I remember this brand from the days when they were cheap and built that way and trying to go mainstream is a joke. The only thing this brand has going for it is 4 wheel drive and it isn't in my driveway.

    • RideHeight RideHeight on Dec 28, 2015

      I was going to tell you where the rest of us are but if you're gonna be all troglodyte, screw ya. Rattle around in the past like some half-bright ghost.

  • Pco65752756 Pco65752756 on Nov 16, 2023

    Why is this not on the High Mile Cars list?

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.