Junkyard Find: 1978 Subaru Leone 4WD Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 subaru leone 4wd wagon

One thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area self-serve yard than you’ll see Corollas or Civics. You’ll also find lots of more recent Legacies and Imprezas, not to mention XTs, BRATs, SVXs, and even the occasional Justy 4WD. 1970s Subarus, however, are getting pretty rare here; in this series, we’ve seen just this ’79 Leone wagon and this ’79 GL sedan so far. Today, we add this very-much-of-its-time ’78 wagon.

Back in 1978, your choices in four-wheel-drive vehicles were very limited; you could get a truck, you could get an AMC Eagle that drove like a truck… or you could get a Subaru.

These things were ludicrously underpowered, rusted quickly, and didn’t come close to the reliability standards set by Honda and Toyota, but they got decent fuel economy and were competent in mud and snow.

Subarus were quite rare in the United States back in the Malaise Era, but the marque made it into popular culture with songs like this one.

Or this one.

Judging by the quantity of pine cones and animal nests in this car, it hasn’t run for many, many years.

Not many places in Colorado damp enough for moss to grow on cars.

Sold in Colorado, will be crushed in Colorado.

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2 of 28 comments
  • Modelt1918 Modelt1918 on Nov 24, 2013

    I bought one of these new in 78. It was slow and loud but,it took my first wife and kids everywhere. At 60k it broke a clutch cable and 65k,the throttle cable broke. It started to rust at 85k (about the same time the marriage did) and traded it for a Toyota.The ex father-in-law couldn't believe it was "so tight" after that many miles. Of course, if you drove Ford at the time like he did, anything from Japan would've seemed tight.

  • Emanistan Emanistan on Jul 30, 2016

    Now that would be a fun restoration project! I'm still partial to finding a Datsun B210 coupe, but an early Subaru would be a conversation piece too.

  • DenverMike Column shifter in all trims? Thank god someone is listening. The console shifter is just the stupidest thing ever. Frick just make the whole area useful utility. Luxury means something different in trucks. Definitely removable and I’ll make my own work station.
  • Joh65689020 1. Drape/ Masking-tape paint.2. Blue Coral (or any brand) chrome polish on PowerBall with cordless drill-driver.3. Buff lightly with microfiber towel to crystal clear finish.
  • Bullnuke "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" - Gold Hat
  • DenverMike They seriously want to kill the auto industry.
  • Inside Looking Out I have a feeling that retracting headlights were designed by VW.